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 better absorbed by the body in its cooked form, such as cooked pasta sauce, canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Including this healthy plant food 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 easy, one-dish meal, you swap out a traditional meat-based sauce for a tomato, lentil and walnut Bolognese sauce over spaghetti.
Written for AICR and California Walnut Commission by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, who is a plant-based food and nutrition expert, journalist, and blogger
- 1 cup brown lentils, dried
- 4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely shredded
- 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 28-oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes, with juice
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, reduced sodium
- 1/3 cup red wine*
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning blend
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
- 12 oz. spaghetti, uncooked
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- Place Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium heat and add lentils and water to pot. Cover with lid, bring to 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, onion, garlic, celery, carrot and walnuts. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 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, cook spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain spaghetti in colander.
- Divide spaghetti among 6 serving plates or pasta bowls (about 1 ¼ cups each). Top with 1 cup Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped basil.
*Water or vegetable broth may be substituted for the red wine. Wine is used in this recipe to intensify, enhance and accent the flavors in this dish and will cook out as the sauce simmers over heat.
Written for AICR and California Walnut Commission by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, who is a plant-based food and nutrition expert, journalist, and blogger.
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