Is there anything better than a big bowl of hot pasta smothered in sauce and topped with cheese?
Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat and use to be something I’d limit myself to enjoying only once or twice per week since well…traditional pasta is basically just empty calories.
For the past few years I attempted to get my “pasta” fix by spiralizing zucchini into ‘zoodles’ or from spaghetti squash but let’s be really honest here…YES those are delicious pasta alternatives that are packed with nutrients but they simply don’t replace eating pasta. Secretly with every bite of ‘squash pasta’ I desperately was hoping someone out there would create a healthy pasta.
Well my dreams have officially become a reality.
Now everywhere you look in the stores you see whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, chickpea pasta, black bean pasta, red lentil pasta…etc. BUT the question still remained…would this healthier stuff actually satisfy my undying pasta craving.
The answer is YES, YES, YES!
I couldn’t even say when the last time I had traditional pasta was because I enjoy the healthier alternatives so much more, specifically Trader Joe’s brown rice and lentil pastas!
The Trader Joe’s red lentil pasta first came into my life a few weeks ago when I randomly wandered into the store (STARVING) browsing around for dinner ideas. An employee said they highly recommended the lentil pasta and suggested eating it with marinara sauce…I was instantly sold.
I grabbed my pasta, sauce, some spinach and frozen grilled asparagus to get my greens and my favorite sun-dried tomato chicken sausages and this 5 Ingredient Spicy Red Lentil Pasta recipe was born!
So just how much healthier is this red lentil pasta v. tradition pasta?
Before we get to the recipe I really just wanted to show you all the different in nutrients of a healthier pasta alternative and traditional pasta:
- ingredients: semolina flour, egg, salt and water (or something very similar)
- 2g of fiber
- 7g of protein
Trader Joe’s Red Lentil Sedantini
- ingredients: red lentils
- 3g of fiber
- 13g of protein
- Organic & gluten free
- Lentil health benefits: lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar, high in B-vitamins, high in protein and fiber, low in fat, increases satiety, helps prevent heart disease, contain iron…etc
So with very clean ingredients, insane health benefits, an extra gram of fiber and nearly double the protein I’ll 100%!
5 Ingredient Spicy Red Lentil Pasta
- 1 package of Trader Joe’s red lentil sedantini pasta
- 1 package Trader Joe’s frozen grilled asparagus (you can also use fresh)
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Arrabiata sauce)
- 1 package of your favorite Trader Joe’s sausages, cut into 1 inch circles (I used sun-dried tomato)
- 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1. In a large pot cook pasta according to package instructions (5-6 minutes). Drain and place back into large pot.
2. While your water boils and pasta cooks place frozen asparagus onto a microwave safe plate and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Then heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and toss the sausage and asparagus until the sausage is lighly browned (3-4 mins). Add the spinach and cook until wilted (1-2 mins). Depending on the size of your pan you may have to cook the spinach in batches. Set aside.
3. Pour jar of sauce into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes. If you don’t want to microwave your sauce you can always heat it up on the stove but I’m lazy!
4. Add sausage/asparagus/spinach mixture and sauce into the large pot of pasta and stir to combine seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Are you drooling yet? Because I certainly am writing this post!
5. Serve immediately and top with parmesan cheese if desired.
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What’s your favorite pasta alternative?
Are you a pasta lover?
What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s product?