Ingredients for 8 servings
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste)
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
½ small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup brown or green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and each cut into 4 large chunks
cooked pasta for serving
fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for serving (optional)
grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional -- won’t be vegan anymore!)
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sized saucepan, add the lentils, carrots and water. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender and the lentils are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onions for about 3 minutes or until they become translucent. Add the red peppers and garlic and saute for another minute or so.
To a blender or food processor, add the can of tomatoes, the sauteed vegetables and garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and spinach. Once the lentils have cooked, remove the carrots and add them to the blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
In the pan where you sauteed the vegetables, add the lentils, balsamic vinegar and quinoa. Scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the pureed tomato mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes or until the white tails show on the quinoa meanwhile -- cook the pasta. If needed, add some pasta water to thin out the sauce a bit.