These vegetable lentil zucchini noodles are easy to make, filling, high in protein and taste great. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, low carb and ready in under 30 minutes. You’ll need a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles but if you don’t have one the tomato sauce works well with any pasta, such as whole wheat, brown rice or chickpea.
Easy Plant-Based Dinners
I know for new plant-based eaters getting started can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin?? I think it’s important to keep things simple when you’re starting out and this meal is an easy way to do that. Most of the time my dinners are quick and easy. Every once and a while I’ll make something more elaborate but day to day, it’s simple meals I can have done in under 30 minutes, just like this veggie lentil sauce with pasta.
This easy and healthy pasta dish:
- only requires a few ingredients
- is filling, hearty and satisfying so you won’t feel like you’re missing anything
- is family-friendly, everyone loves pasta!
- can be made with any kind of veggie noodle or pasta of choice
Try Zoodles or Stick to Pasta
You can serve the vegetable lentil sauce over zucchini noodles, regular spaghetti or any other kind of pasta. If your kids aren’t ready for green veggie noodles, penne, bows, macaroni and fusilli all work well, or you can do a mix of half zucchini noodles and half spaghetti to add some extra nutrition to your regular pasta. Chickpea pasta such as banza is also great or brown rice pasta also works as a gluten-free option.
I actually really like the sauce mixed with 1/2 serving of pasta so it’s more more sauce than pasta. Try it with bows, penne or fusilli! Topped with extra, extra nooch, it’s the best. The upside of zucchini noodles though is they’re low in calories you can dig into a huge serving, so if you love big bowls of pasta, go with zoodles for sure!
How to Make Zucchini Noodles
You can eat zucchini noodles raw or lightly cook them in a pan. They can be used right away after spiralizing or you can drain the excess water from them first if you want. I usually don’t do this and I’m happy with the result but to ensure your zucchini noodles aren’t watery after cooking, follow these steps before cooking:
- Place spiralized zucchini noodles in a colander and toss with a bit of sea salt.
- Let them sit for 10 minutes.
- Lay a dish towel on the counter then add the zucchini noodles to the middle of it.
- Wrap the towel up around the zucchini noodles then firmly twist and squeeze to press out excess water.
- Cook or enjoy raw.
It’s up to you. Like I said, I rarely take this extra step and I’m happy with how they turn out but sometimes there’s a little excess water after storing leftovers in the fridge. No big deal though, you can just drain it off before eating.
To cook zucchini noodles, I just add them to a pan and heat for 5-10 minutes for an al dente noodle. Try not to overcook them or they’ll just get soggy.
I used raw zucchini noodles for this recipe. I would recommend peeling the zucchini before spiralizing if you want to go with raw zoodles.
Healthy Vegetable Pasta
This dish is really easy to make. You’ll just need to make the red lentils, cook the veggies in the tomato sauce, stir in the lentils and spinach and then serve over the zoodles or with your choice of pasta. If you want to cook the zoodles, you can do so in the pan before or after you make the sauce. This can be served as is or top it with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan, fresh cracked black pepper and fresh basil.
Vegetable Lentil Zucchini Noodles
This hearty vegetable lentil pasta sauce is delicious served over a big bowl of zucchini noodles or it can be mixed with your choice of pasta. Try it with bows, penne or spaghetti.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
For the Lentils
For the Sauce
- 2 cups tomato pasta sauce of choice
- 2 bell peppers, any colour, diced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 handfuls of fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, adds cheesy flavour)
For the Pasta
- 4 medium zucchinis, spiralized (or 4 servings of any pasta of choice)
- Cook the lentils. To make the lentils, bring the water to a boil in a pot then add the lentils, cover and reduce to a light simmer. Cook until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender, approximately 15 minutes. These can be made in advance if needed.
- Make the zoodles or pasta. Either cook your choice of pasta according to package instructions or spiralize the zucchini, see notes.
- Make the sauce. Add the peppers, garlic, onion and tomato sauce to a pan and cook for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cooked lentils, cook for a couple more minutes then turn off the heat. Spoon over the zucchini noodles.
- Serve. Serve as is or top with more nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan, fresh cracked black pepper and fresh basil.
I served this dish over raw zucchini noodles, I like the texture before when raw and they do soften up a bit when you serve the hot sauce over them. I would recommend peeling them before spiralizing if you want to do the same. The skins can be harder on digestion so I like to remove them first, plus the zoodles feel more spaghetti-like with the skin removed. If you prefer cooked zoodles, add them to a pan for 5-10 minutes until they soften up a bit. You can use the same pan you’ll use for the sauce, either cooking them before or after. Alternatively, you can stir them into the sauce right in the pan and serve it that way.
Keywords: lentils, zucchini noodles, pasta