Monday, June 1, 2015

Lentil Love

This is so much more than a pile!
I guess when my pictures turn out super bright/bad, I should just not bother with them, but I really wanted to talk about this great pasta dish I made with the most bare minimum of ingredients, and it turned out great!! I've been trying to use up my random pantry items like all of the half full bags, boxes of pastas, grains that I've been buying in bulk to experiment with etc. Am I the only one with a million half packages of pasta in my cupboard? Anyway, of course I didn't write down a recipe, and I also didn't measure anything, so this is more of a suggestion than an actual recipe. I had the bottom of a jar of tomato paste in my fridge that needed to be used up(it was around 1/4 cup give or take.) I also had some red lentils, and of course onion and garlic, so I decided to make a red lentil pasta sauce! I sauteed the onion and garlic in a little E.V. olive oil, added some Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and also black pepper, then added the tomato paste, let that cook a little, then red lentils, and water and I let that simmer while I finished cleaning. I let the lentils cook until they had almost completely lost their shape. You could cook it down less, and have the lentils keep their shape more, and have it be a  chunkier sauce. I also made a small batch of cashew cream to make this a fancy pantry dish. I also had three lonely slices of Chao creamy original, so I cooked up some corn macaroni noodles, poured the noodle into a casserole dish, mixed in little pieces of Chao, mixed in the red lentil sauce, and poured cashew cream on top of the dish. I then sprinkled Nutritional yeast, Oregano, and crushed red pepper on top. Baked for about twenty minutes, and it was comfort food at it's cheapest, and best! I sometimes think some of my best creations come from no recipe, no plan, and limited ingredients. The red lentils gave the sauce a little extra heft, and made the dish really creamy. This dish would be delicious without the cashew cream, and Chao. It could easily just be a sauce tossed with pasta, and maybe a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
Lentils are a great addition to pasta sauces. I make a mock meat sauce with brown lentils, and it has been a real crowd- pleaser in the past, when I have had people that were willing to hang out with me and try my food. If I were forced to pick one bean as my favorite, it would probably have to be lentils. They just taste so good, and are so versatile! I add red lentils to a lot of my creamier soups just because they really cook down, and become so creamy and luscious! And Brown lentils are my favorite for a delicious vegan sloppy Joe!
Since I am moving back to Seattle soon, it's good that I'm getting back in practice of super cheap meals that don't taste super cheap!
What's your favorite bean?

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