Tomato products provide just the right amount of pizzazz to pasta recipes, such as this hearty, plant-based spaghetti dish. The deep red color of tomatoes is a calling card for lycopene—the plant compound linked with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. In fact, lycopene is more available to the body in its cooked form, as in cooked tomato products, like pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste. Including these healthy plant foods in your diet more often is linked with prostate cancer protection. Eating more pulses—beans, lentils, dried peas—is a healthy, cancer-fighting strategy too.
In this super easy, one-dish meal, you swap out a traditional meat-based sauce for a tomato-forward, lentil and walnut Bolognese sauce, smothered over spaghetti noodles. Savory and delicious, your whole family will love it. Plus, it’s easy on the pocketbook and makes great leftovers the next day!
Lentil Walnut Bolognese with Spaghetti
Makes 6 servings
Per Serving: 463 calories, 8 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 294 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 78 g carbohydrate, 16 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 20 g protein.
- 1 cup brown lentils, dried
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes, with juice
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 12 ounces spaghetti noodles, uncooked
- Garnish: 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Place a Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium heat and add lentils and water to the pot. Cover with a lid, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove lid and continue to cook lentils for about 2 minutes until almost tender and liquid is absorbed.
Add olive oil, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, finely chopped celery, finely shredded carrot, and finely chopped walnuts, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, red wine, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt (optional). Stir well and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta. Add dry spaghetti noodles, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions (about 7 minutes). Drain noodles in colander.
To serve: Divide spaghetti noodles among 6 serving plates or pasta bowls (about 1 ¼ cups each). Top with 1 cup of Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped basil. Alternatively, place spaghetti noodles in one large serving bowl, Bolognese sauce in another large serving bowl, and chopped basil in a small dish, allowing guests to serve themselves as desired.
Recipe, video and photography created for AICR by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.