the taste space

Lentil Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on February 15, 2014

Lentil Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day? I don’t think I have been told to celebrate Valentine’s Day more than yesterday (and I forgot to call my parents, OOPS!). It almost felt like a national holiday, with everyone at work asking about the evening plans, rushing to finish early for the weekend. Is it because Texans are just so friendly? Or because Americans love holidays?

Rob and I have never been big fan of V-Day, enjoying each other’s company more than anything else. Rare gifts and certainly no cards, this year was the most low-key ever. A nice dinner with friends. True to his word, Rob and Matt had a feast ready for me just as I stepped (pedalled) home: Holy Moley Veggie and Rice Soup and corn tortillas followed by Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls. Actually, the order was reversed, we ate the dessert as an appetizer while we waited for the veggies to cook. I had offered to make dessert but Rob saved the day.

Rob also registered us for Cycle Oregon. Tent porter, and all: we’re committed. Lucky (or unlucky) for me, cycling is easier on me than walking.

After a few weeks of rest and recovery, I resumed my daily cycling commute this week. I also swapped my HIIT classes at the gym for weights. No impact and no balance required. Mostly upper body. My knees may be resting but I am certainly still keeping active. I don’t think my arms have ever worked so hard. Although while it would be nice to have a goal to do an unassisted pull-up (NOT happening anytime soon), I think a more realistic goal will be to be able to refill the water cooler at work without too much difficulty. I am a bad employee right now. If it is empty, I do not refill it. I can do it. I mean, I did it once, but it wasn’t pretty. More awkward than anything else but instead of potentially making a giant puddle, I am acknowledging and working within my limitations. ;)

Now about the food. For anyone looking for a fun twist on spaghetti, this is a delicious marinara sauce. A heartier, cooked version of my 15-minute garlic basil marinara sauce, I fortified the sauce with red lentils. The finishing raw garlic and basil made the sauce truly special. I swapped the raw zucchini noodles for winter’s veggie noodle: spaghetti squash. While those expecting a noodle replica will be disappointed, those looking for a fun veggie side will be thrilled. A new texture and a fun way to slurp up all the delicious sauce.

So, please tell me: how was your Valentine’s Day? Do you refill the water cooler?? :)

Lentil Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

This is my submission to this month’s Credit Crunch Munch, Extra Veg, Pasta Please, Simple and in Season and Cooking with Herbs.

Lentil Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, washed

1 tbsp oil of choice
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
28 oz can (or 2x 15 oz cans) diced tomatoes, with juice
3 cups water (or vegetable broth)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp no-salt seasoning, like 21-Spice Salute
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place rack in centre of oven. (If you are fancy, try smearing the halved squash with garlic, oil and salt and pepper first). Pierce the spaghetti squash multiple times with a fork or knife. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate squash and bake another 30 minutes or until the shell feels soft. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once the squash has cooled, cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds and scrape the strands of squash out with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and saute until browned, around 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, around 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and cook until beginning to brown.

3. Stir in the undrained tomatoes, water/broth, nutritional yeast, thyme, basil, and no-salt seasoning. Stir in the red lentils, making sure they aren’t clumping together. Raise the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils have cooked through. Add more water if you think the sauce is too thick for your liking.

4. Once the lentils are cooked through, stir in the balsamic vinegar, raw garlic and fresh basil. Season to taste. Serve overtop your cooked spaghetti squash.

Serves 4.

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30 Responses

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  1. Ellen Lederman said, on February 15, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Way to go, Janet and Rob! Life is short; eat dessert first!

    We celebrate V Day the same low-key way you do…and try to make every day a special day. Flowers and chocolates are enjoyable every day, not just on a highly commercial once-a-year day when the prices get hiked up.

    Believe it or not, what you made was exactly what I had been planning to make—I’ve been seeing recipes for pasta sauces with lentils (Bolognese and marinara, etc.). However, I always forget about spaghetti squash—that’s where YOU come in, to keep me straight!

    I wound up not making it because I had some leftover Brussel sprouts, so I thought pasta wouldn’t really go. Instead, I made chickpeas in a tamarind sauce (the B sprouts were supposed to be done Indian-style, but we were out of corn meal, so had to make them with maple syrup and miso, roasted). Am e-mailing you the recipe for the chickpeas—think you’d like them.

  2. Laura said, on February 15, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    All of your recipes look amazing but this one takes the cake (umm.. Literally? :)). Can’t wait to make it!

  3. Sarojini Ferris said, on February 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    That looks really delicious… and I’m glad your knee is getting better and you had a nice Valentine’s Day. We have no water cooler at work to refill, but I’m often to be found moving furniture :)

  4. Kammie said, on February 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Ohh yes. Spaghetti Squash <3

  5. Alissa (@alissaloves) said, on February 15, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    This looks perfect! I’ve just made a raw version of this on courgette spaghetti – tasty :)

  6. Joanne said, on February 16, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend…but it’s definitely a good idea to not stress your body any further with unnecessary water cooler lifting. :P I don’t lift ours either…I just call in one of the boys to do it. Cliche but, hey, it saves water from going EVERYWHERE.

    I am definitely craving this lentil marinara! Looks fabulous!

  7. Katie Bryson (@cookingkt) said, on February 16, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Wow this looks super healthy but really hearty too. I’ve never done spaghetti squash, but am really curious to give it a try. Wonder where I can get hold of it in the UK? Thanks for hooking up with Pasta Please this month :-)

  8. Susan Edelman said, on February 16, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    I’m putting this on my grocery list for this week! Looks perfect.

  9. kimmythevegan said, on February 16, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    I made the mistake of catching up on blogs while hungry. Now I’m STARVING ;p This looks so super tasty Janet! It’s all hearty and awesome =)
    We tend to have low-key V-Days as well. I seem to remember a big extraveganza our very first one, I think he was trying to impress me haha ;p Now a days, I like to just go out for dinner (which we tend to do once a week anyway as date night). It’s so nice that Rob pitches in with the cooking.

  10. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on February 17, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    This looks wonderful Janet! Just the kind of easy meal I like making these days :)

    My Valentine’s day consisted of self-pampering which was perfectly lovely!

  11. zsudever said, on February 17, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Love this! That sauce looks hearty and so yummy!

    Zsu @ Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

  12. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat said, on February 17, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    I LOVE this! I’ve made spaghetti squash with marinara a zillion times, but I LOVE your lentil sauce! Definitely trying this next time I pick up a spaghetti squash. Great idea!
    And no, I would never replace the water cooler. I’d like to think that I’m strong enough, but I’m also a huge klutz and would most likely flood the room.

  13. Susan Edelman said, on February 19, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    I made this last night! The true test is that my daughter went over to the stove for seconds! We all loved it, and it’s going on our “must keep” list. I love lentils in everything. The fresh basil here makes me long for summer; I loved the smell and taste for this sauce.

  14. […] The Taste Space shared Lentil Marinara with Spaghetti Squash […]

  15. […] Valentine’s Day? I reneged on my promise to make dessert. Rob had no problem coming up with an alternative. In […]

  16. Genevieve said, on February 25, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    I’ve been wanting to make a lentil based pasta sauce for awhile now, and this recipe sounds perfect with the dried herbs, balsamic, and nutritional yeast – definitely bookmarking it! I like the idea of serving it with spaghetti squash too :)

  17. angeladarroch said, on February 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I’ve made this for dinner tonight (without the spaghetti squash) and it tastes delish. Thanks for taking part in Credit Crunch Munch.

  18. […] ingredients and is really quick and best of all – really tasty.  Thank you to Janet from The Taste Space for a great low cost […]

  19. […] 15. Lentil Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Squash by Janet of The Taste Space:   A fun twist on spaghetti, this is a delicious marinara sauce. A heartier, cooked version of Janet’s 15-minute garlic basil marinara sauce, as she fortified the sauce with red lentils. […]

  20. […] Spaghetti Squash and Lentil Marinara Sauce (adapted from the taste space) […]

  21. […] 11. Janet over at The Taste Space made a very virtuous Lentil Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti Squash. […]

  22. Ren Behan said, on March 14, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    A super seasonal recipe thank you Janet for entering Simple and in Season.

  23. Pasta Please #14 February round up said, on March 21, 2014 at 5:10 AM

    […] (Left) Lentil Marinara with Spaghetti Squash from  The Taste Space is an amazing Vegan feast, and a tasty and healthy way around not using flour-based pasta. I’d be really interested to give this a try. […]


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