Spaghetti Squash Lentil “Bolognese”
The days are getting shorter and colder and it’s definitely that time of year where we start to turn towards more warming, comforting foods. I’m talking soups, chilli, curries, and stews. There’s just something about a chilly grey day that makes me crave foods like this (as well as blankets, sweatpants and pumpkin spice candles). I can imagine I’m not the only one!
One of my favourite weeknight comfort dishes to make is Spaghetti Squash Lentil Bolognese. The lentils replace any meat so it’s completely plant-based (although I love to add a little parmesan) as well as high in both fibre and protein. Did I mention it’s ultra delicious? Even my sister adores this dish. And let me tell you, my sister has never been the first to come running to try my healthy kitchen creations.
Before we get in to the recipe, I want to chat a little about the star of this dish, the lentils. Lentils are a part of the pulse family. Pulses are dried edible seeds of certain plants in the legume family. They include lentils, chickpeas, beans and dry peas and they are nutritional powerhouses as they’re high in protein, fibre and various vitamins and minerals including potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. They’re also a great source of B vitamins like niacin, thiamin and folate.
On a daily basis, men require 38 grams of fibre and women require 25, but most Canadians only get about half of the recommended amounts. Just one 1/2 cup of cooked pulses can provide anywhere from 7-17 grams of fibre. Amazing! Partly due to their fibre content, pulses have a low Glycemic Index (GI). This means that they don’t raise blood sugars quite as easily as high GI foods do. There is also evidence linking regular pulse consumption to lower cardiovascular risk factors like LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. All the more reason to try this recipe…right?
Spaghetti Squash Lentil "Bolognese"
An easy, 8-ingredient weeknight comfort dish.
- 1 small spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil divided
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dried red lentils
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup jarred pasta sauce of choice
- parmesan cheese optional
Preheat oven to 400F. Slice spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves inside-down (skin-up) on a baking sheet and bake in oven for approx. 45 minutes. Baking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of the squash.
While the squash is in the oven, bring the lentils to a boil in the water in a saucepan on the stove. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer the lentils uncovered until tender. Once lentils are tender, drain off any excess water and place lentils in a small bowl for the time being. In your saucepan, heat ½ tbsp olive oil and add onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent and fragrant. Add lentils and pasta sauce. Stir to combine and simmer until sauce is hot.
When squash is done, scrape out of the skin into a bowl. When cooked & scraped out, spaghetti squash will look long and stringy – like spaghetti! Top the squash with your lentil and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (optional) and enjoy!
I hope you all enjoy one of my favourite comfort-food recipes as much as I do! My final tip for you is to look for a pasta sauce with little to no added sugar and one that is low(er) in sodium. Read my tips for finding determining which products are “low” in sodium here!