When you think of healthy eating, you may think that it means you will have to spend more money at the grocery store. This is not necessarily true! One great way to save money is by using lentils to swap out meat and poultry for a cheaper plant-based protein that is just as filling!
For my budget-friendly eat, I made Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Lentil Bolognese, inspired by Minimalist Baker. A healthier, lower carb version of your classic spaghetti and beef bolognese.
Minimalist Baker made this fabulous recipe for lentil bolognese and topped it over zucchini noodles. If you didn't already know, Minimalist Baker is one of my favourite food bloggers. Everything she makes is magic. I absolutely loved how she replaced ground beef with lentils for a hearty, plant-based meal. This is a great way to squeeze in a budget-friendly meal that is super healthy!
I used strained tomatoes, which has been my favourite swap for canned tomatoes lately. For under $2 you get a jar of only tomatoes - no preservatives. I prefer going with the plain strained tomatoes and then adding my own dried spices so I can control the sodium content.
If you haven't tried spaghetti squash noodles yet, it is a great low carb alternative to your regular pasta. The trick is to fluff the baked spaghetti squash flesh with a fork and the flesh with separate into noodle-like strands.
Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Lentil Bolognese
Adapted from: Minimalist Baker
1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4-1/2 red chili powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 carrot, grated (about 1 cup)
1 bottle, strained tomatoes (or 1 can of crushed tomatoes)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup red lentils
For spaghetti squash noodles: Preheat oven to 350oF. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place spaghetti squash halves cut side facing down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes until soft and tender. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a fork, fluff the spaghetti squash to create noodle-like strands.
For lentil bolognese: In a large skillet, heat oil at medium-high heat and add chopped onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add in minced garlic, salt, black pepper, red chili powder, dried basil, and oregano. Add in grated carrot, mix well, and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add in strained tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, and red lentils. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 17-20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. If sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Remove from heat.
To serve, put one large spoonful of lentil bolognese over spaghetti squash noodles.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook @NutritionbyNaz!
Want to check out other recipes in this month's Recipe Redux Challenge? Check them out below:
Are you ready to begin your healthy lifestyle journey but don't know where to start? Join me and many other women with The Muslimah’s Meal Plan!