I have my staple ingredients I rely upon to get dinner on the table efficiently during the week, don’t you?
My kids will always vote for pasta, which is fast and easy, but I find if I don’t amp it up with some more protein, everyone is looking for more food after dinner. You know how that is. Nothing annoys a mom faster than having everyone milling around the kitchen shortly after dinner is over, looking for MORE FOOD!
So I often enrich my pasta sauce with ready-to-eat lentils. These come steamed and ready to deploy, and can be found in the fresh produce section or the cold case at grocery stores. Of course you could also use dried lentils, but you will need to cook them longer and add more liquid to the sauce to make up for what they absorb.
For this dish, I’m also employing another favorite technique, which is to put tender greens down in the bowl first, and the hot pasta and sauce on top literally wilt them for you, with no extra pan to wash. Stir a little bit while you are eating, to mix. Ta-da!
Recipe: Shortcut Lentil Pasta Sauce
Summary: Ready-to-eat lentils amp up the nutrition in jarred pasta sauce for a fast weeknight dinner. The hot pasta and sauce wilt the greens.
- 12-16 ounces short pasta (penne, gemelli or your favorite short shape)
- 1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar favorite pasta sauce (I often use Gina Rispoli Arrabbiata Sauce)
- 1 (17-ounce) package Melissa’s Steamed Lentils (or your favorite brand)
- 6-10 ounces baby spinach or other tender greens
- Garnish: Grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, add sauce and lentils to a medium pot. Cover and simmer over low heat while pasta is cooking.
- To serve, portion baby spinach leaves in the bottom of 4 wide, shallow dinner bowls. Drain hot pasta and immediately portion hot pasta into bowls on top of spinach. Ladle hot sauce over top.
- Serve the grated cheese at the table.
- Serves 4.
Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian, vegan
Diet tags: Reduced fat
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Italian
Throughout the week, you can find the #SundaySupper food blogger team also sharing #WeekdaySupper meals. Getting families back to the dinner table is our mission, and I hope we inspire you to try some of our delicious recipes. You can find them on our Pinterest Boards, too. Please join us there and try something!
- Monday – Momma’s Meals – Honey Garlic Chicken
- Tuesday – Shockingly Delicious – Shortcut Lentil Pasta Sauce
- Wednesday – Family Foodie – Broccoli and Ricotta Puffs
- Thursday – That Skinny Chick Can Bake – Pork Tenderloin with Maple Balsamic Glaze
- Friday – Alida’s Kitchen – Lentil Tacos
Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce sent the lentils for recipe testing.