Mediterranean Inspired Red Lentil Pasta Recipe
Do the flavors from different parts of the world take you on a virtual journey? I find taste to be one of the strongest triggers for transporting me to another time and place. When asked by the Meatless Monday team to create a red lentil pasta recipe using lentil penne from Modern Table Meals, spring time and the Mediterranean came to mind.
The robust flavors of citrus, olives and fresh basil were combined for a Mediterranean Inspired Red Lentil Pasta Salad. This recipe will cure a case of wanderlust, and my gluten free friends will especially enjoy a trip to Italy right from their own kitchen.
Modern Table Meals & Red Lentil Pasta
Modern Table was started by a group of busy moms, (aren’t we all) who wanted to bring healthy meals to the table. Looking for recipes that were quick and easy to serve without compromising health for convenience was their mission.They’ve basically reinvented the pasta game while keeping it gluten free and non GMO.
Lentils are one of my favorite protein packed secrets, so I was more than a bit curious to see how this pasta, made from lentils, would taste. While I don’t have a gluten allergy, my kids have different levels of intolerance. In addition, I love pasta, but find my body has a tough time digesting it. This could be a great find to add to my pantry staples!
Red Lentil Nutritional Information
Beans (lentils) are high in plant-based protein, making them a lower fat, less expensive and more sustainable option than animal protein, and a great reason to go Meatless on Monday. The USDA actually puts lentils into two food groups. Meeting the requirements of both protein and vegetable, lentil lovers are eating two eco-friendly foods at the same time. Lentils are high in zinc, folate and other healthy nutrients. Farmers love planting these beans, as they add nitrogen back into the soil, helping additional crops grow.
The Mediterranean Diet
That Mediterranean-style diets have health benefits isn’t necessarily new. Past research has shown that this type of eating pattern can help lower cholesterol, help with weight loss, improve rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and various types of cancer.
Anyone who has traveled to Italy, Greece or Turkey knows the flavors of the Mediterranean region can have a lasting memory. Recreating those tastes will surely allow for a bit of culinary travel right from the heart of your home. Olives, olive oil, basil, feta cheese and citrus all come to mind from my own travels.
First, it’s important to understand the elements of a Mediterranean-type diet:
- Base every meal on fruits, vegetables, whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa and bulgur), olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes (lentils, dried peas and beans), seeds, herbs and spices.
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Incorporate moderate portions of cheese and yogurt daily to weekly.
- Allow small portions of poultry and eggs every two days or weekly.
- Introduce red meat sparingly or limit to three-ounce portions.
- Drink plenty of water each day, and drink wine in moderation—no more than one (5-ounce) glass a day for women, two glasses per day for men.
Eating the Rainbow with a Red Lentil Pasta Recipe
I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but I think it’s a genius idea to remind us about the colors we should try and incorporate into our diet on a regular basis for balance. This recipe is a perfect opportunity to accomplish the concept of wellness eating for your good health.
Mediterranean Inspired Recipe-Red Lentil Pasta Salad
- 1 Package Modern Table Meals mixed Lentil Pasta (serves 4)
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- 4 roasted beets-do not overcook, as you want a crunch-chop into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 cup chopped black olives-use the wrinkled Nyon variety if you can find them. Make sure to pit them first.
- 3 mandarin oranges. Any orange will work in the recipe. Cut into small pieces.
- 2 oz feta cheese-crumbled
- 1 T. chopped red onion
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. good quality olive oil
- juice of 2 oranges
- 1 T. white vinegar
- 1/2 t. honey
- 1 t. grated orange rind
- salt and pepper to taste
- sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes if desired
Cook lentil pasta over medium heat according to package directions. Drain, do not rinse and toss with 1 T. olive oil. Toss ingredients through red onion (if you are using). Make dressing by combining olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, and rind. Wisk together and toss with salad. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
You’ll find the penne tastes very much like its lentil ingredients and is chewier than regular pasta, all good things in my book. I look forward to trying additional selections from the Modern Table Meals brand and hope this has inspired your Meatless Monday.
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Disclaimer: As a Meatless Monday Ambassador, I received several types of penne to try from Modern Meals. As always, opinions of the product reflect my own tastes and experience.