Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
A tomato, spinach and basil sauce served over a bed of red lentil rotini pasta. Quick and simple to prepare, this dish is a great way to add more vegetables and plant-based proteins into family meals. A recipe that's an easy and timeless classic. Vegan and gluten-free.
This is not a traditional pasta by any means. The rotini is made ENTIRELY of red lentils. This simple, flavourful and robust pasta dish is packed with more nutrition then you may have initially thought.
For our family, pasta is the ‘go to’ food on hectic weeknights. It’s a handy, versatile option that we rely on and is great for satisfying those hungry tummies! Plus it’s perfect with different types of leftovers.
I vividly recall, as a little girl, sitting in my room doing homework, and mum would shout at the bottom of the stairs “Shall I make your roti?” But all I would ever fancy was a nice bowl of pasta with my curry. The only part I didn't love was the fact that it wouldn’t fill me up for long. I’d be prancing round the kitchen hunting for nibbles soon after my meal. And of course, mum would remind me how a roti would have been a better option...sigh.
I see the same with my kids after a pasta meal. Often times, the post-meal clear up isn't even complete, and one of them will pop their head round the kitchen - to enquire about snack.
Have you ever wondered why?
White pasta (the one I grew up on) is made of refined carbs and lacks fibre. It's this that leaves us wanting more and not feeling fully satisfied.
I recently discovered this particular brand of pasta, from Bentilia; made entirely from pulses. Yes, you heard right! Bentilia offers pasta products made from green lentils, black navy beans, and chickpeas. I was pretty impressed reviewing this nutritional analysis.
Check out how the red lentil rotini pasta compares to regular white pasta:
|Nutrient||Bentilia Red Lentil Rotini Pasta (100g)||Macaroni, Enriched, Cooked Pasta (100g)|
|Iron||20% DV||7% DV|
The red lentil rotini pasta is a clear winner nutritionally; with significantly more fibre, protein and iron than its counterpart. The fibre and protein are key nutrients that help to keep us fuller for longer. Organic and non-GMO, it does come at a premium; priced at nearly $3 per 100 g.
Beans and lentils are low glycemic index foods, that are loaded with fibre. This fibre helps to prevent large spikes in blood sugar levels. It is suggested that eating beans or lentils earlier in the day may help reduce the impact of subsequent meals on blood sugar levels.
The soluble fibre in beans and lentils also helps to keep us regular. The fibre speeds up the rate food travels through our bowels. This helps our gut remove harmful bacteria that can contribute to the risk of colon cancer as well as other types of cancers. Did I mention they are also a great (and often unrecognized) source of antioxidants?
The benefits really don't end there. The high fibre content of beans and lentils promotes gut health. Recent evidence suggests a healthy gut supports the immune system. It seems that a low-fibre diet, which is common in North America, could be reducing the diversity of bacterial species in our guts.
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can't wait to see your photos.
Lentil Rotini with Tomato, Spinach & Basil Sauce
- 8 tomato fresh, medium, chopped (retain the liquid)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic paste (3 tsp)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tbsp basil dried (you could use ½fresh basil)
- 2 green chili
- 150 g spinach fresh
- 4 cups water
- 2 cup red lentil rotini
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan over medium heat
- Add the garlic and stir until lightly brown
- Add the tomatoes with their liquid, salt, basil and chillies
- Cook over medium-high heat, until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. I use a masher as I like it rustic. You could blend the sauce if you prefer
- Add the spinach and stir, coating all the leaves. Remove from heat after a few minutes, as you don’t want to over-cook the spinach
- In a large pot, boil 4 cups of water. I boil the water in my kettle and transfer to the pot, to save time.
- Add the pasta, stir and boil for 8-10 minutes. Take care not to overcook the pasta, as it will become mushy
- Once cooked, drain the water and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil on the pasta
- Serve with a generous helping of the sauce
Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life - your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It's okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.
Shahzadi is an award-winning registered dietitian (RD) regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario and certified diabetes educator (CDE), approved by the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. A YouTuber and notorious foodie, she's dedicated to helping you end your cooking wars, transform your health, and be the best version of yourself! Shahzadi is an on-air nutrition expert for CTV Your Morning and a regular contributor for Global News and other national media outlets.