Zucchini Pasta with Lentil Marinara is such a great way to transform your traditional spaghetti dinner. Yes, we all love a comforting, hardy spaghetti meal, and I know my dad, who grew up on traditional spaghetti, would be skeptical of messing with an already good thing. But lets talk about some of the facts, zucchini pasta has approximately 7 grams of carbohydrates and just 33 calories, while regular pasta has over 120 grams of carbs and is over 220 calories per serving. While carbs and calories are not the devil, our body needs them to survive, if we don’t use those carbs from daily exercise they will just turn into fat. But more importantly the nutrition, vitamins and iron you get from a zucchini vegetable and a hardy lentil marinara far out weigh that of a traditional pasta meal.
So I would say that’s reason enough to try something new, and on top of all of that, I promise you this meal is delicious! I did end up making it for my parents on Christmas Eve, and although they weren’t sure if it would satisfy they were both impressed with how delicious it was, and in the end felt good about eating it. After all there was plenty of other food to indulge in during that time of year.
Couple of important notes for making your zucchini pasta. Zucchini, just like a cucumber, has a water content of 95%. While this is a good thing to add to your daily intake of water, it’s not so great for cooking zucchini pasta because it will turn it soggy. After you spiralize the zucchini put it in a colander and sprinkle some salt on it. Let this sit for a while to allow the water to drip out of the zucchini. This could be over an hour, then transfer the noodles to a paper towel and let them dry out really well. It’s a bit of maintenance but this will make all the difference with the texture of the noodle.
Finally, I wouldn’t boil zucchini in water like you would pasta, that would just defeat the purpose of the last step. Instead I fry it in a pan with some oil for 5-10 min. Quick and easy!
2 large zucchinis
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry lentils
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can strained tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 yellow onion diced
2 stocks of celery
1 large carrot (optional)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp chili flakes (if you like some heat)
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
- Start by prepping your zucchini noodles. Cut off both ends of the zucchini and spiralize. You will notice the noodles get REALLY long, so I like to cut them with scissors a 1/4 through each way of spiralizing.
- Place noodles in a colander with 2 tsp of salt to remove most of the water. After about an hour place noodles in paper towel to dry.
- For the marinara, chop all your veggies and mince the garlic. Heat a large pot to medium high heat and add the olive oil, garlic, onions, celery and carrots and spices. Cook until onions are soft.
- Then add the lentils, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and let simmer at least 30 minutes until lentils are cooked, or longer for maximal flavour.
- Heat a frying pan to medium high and add the remaining olive oil and zucchini noodles. Cook for 5-10 minutes, then serve with marinara sauce on top.