So my recipe today for the Daily Campus was this fun version of spaghetti. Enjoy…

Over the Thanksgiving Break, I ordered a spaghetti dish while out at a restaurant. It was your typical spaghetti with marinara sauce but sprinkled on it, as if taking the place of your traditional parmesan cheese, was French green lentils. It was surprising yet made the dish so beautiful and unique. Therefore, I decided I must make my own version but include more lentils and add in vegetables as well to make it a more hearty and balanced meal. This dish is as comforting as traditional spaghetti or any other pasta dish yet so much more nutritious and even more filling!

The finished spaghetti with lentils and sautéed vegetables!

Serves: a lot, good idea if making dinner with friends or for the family!

Here’s what you’ll need:
-1 box of whole wheat or whole grain spaghetti
-1 yellow onion
-1 zucchini
-2 heaping handfuls of spinach
-4 garlic cloves
-1 cup uncooked French green lentils
-1 jar of marinara sauce

Start by cooking your French green lentils. All lentils are different but green lentils are good whole lentils that maintain their shape and do not become mushy once cooked and therefore have a nice texture to add to your dish. Place the lentils in a pot on the stove to boil with double the volume of water to your lentils. Once the water has come to a boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to let lentils simmer for an additional thirty minutes, or until tender but not falling apart.

When lentils are done, set aside and start your preparation work on chopping your vegetables. Peel and chop finely four cloves of garlic. Then take one yellow onion and also chop that finely. Wash your zucchini and then chop into slices. I further chopped those slices into quarters for nice, little bite-size pieces that would mix well into the dish. Finally, wash your spinach leaves and chop the ends off. You can choose to chop your spinach finely like I did or to leave as whole leaves as the spinach significantly reduces in size when cooked.

In a saucepan, toss in some olive oil, your chopped garlic, and onion over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When the onion starts to turn translucent, add in your zucchini. Continue stirring occasionally so that all vegetables are cooked thoroughly.

At this point, set a pot to boil for your spaghetti. When the water boils, toss in your spaghetti. This should be about when your garlic, onion and zucchini look nicely cooked and slightly brown, so you can finally add in your spinach. You may need to add in some more olive oil to better cook your spinach. This will take no more than five minutes until your spinach is cooked along with your other vegetables. Your spaghetti should be ready to go as well by this time.

The last thing you need to do is choose whether or not you want to warm up your marinara sauce. I did when making this recipe but if you keep your lentils, vegetables and pasta warm then it shouldn’t be that big of a deal if you choose to not warm it up before adding it into the dish.

Now comes the fun part! Strain your pasta and return to the pot. Then add in your lentils, sautéed vegetables and finally your marinara sauce! Stir until well mixed. Then dish out into bowls, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy warm!