Serves 6

Prep time 15 min.

Cook time 25 min.

Ingredients

Topping:

3/4 cup walnut pieces 

1 tsp. kosher salt 

1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

Sauce:

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 

1 medium yellow onion, diced small (about 2 cups)

8 oz. cremini mushrooms, diced small (about 3 cups)

1 tsp. kosher salt 

1/4 cup Contadina® Tomato Paste

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes, to taste

2 cans (16 oz. each) lentils, rinsed and drained

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) cans Contadina® Roasted Garlic and Herb Diced Tomatoes, not drained

2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried oregano

Noodles:

6 cups zucchini noodles (from 5-6 medium-sized fresh zucchini or pre-cut in the grocery refrigerated section)

Directions

  1. Heat a 6-qt. Dutch oven briefly over medium heat; add walnuts and toast about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until aromatic. Transfer walnuts to a cutting board and chop until pieces are no larger than a pea; place in a small mixing bowl and toss with salt.  Set aside to cool. Right before serving, toss nuts with basil and lemon zest.

  2. In the same pan (wipe out walnut skins from the inside of pan), heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and the edges are browned. Stir in mushrooms and salt; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the water has evaporated.

  3. Stir in tomato paste and red pepper flakes; cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the paste turns from bright red to darker brick red. Add the lentils, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer about 5 minutes over medium-low until thickened.  Season to taste with salt, if desired.

  4. Add zucchini noodles to pan and gently toss with sauce.  Serve immediately with topping.

TIPS:  

  • Makes the perfect amount of sauce for 1 lb. of cooked whole wheat or regular spaghetti.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining pasta, and add incrementally when tossing pasta with sauce until desired consistency.
  • If canned lentils aren’t available, can use dry brown or green lentils instead. Prepare as directed except in Step 3, omit canned lentils and add 1 cup dry brown or green and 3 cups water when adding the diced tomatoes and oregano.  Simmer partially covered over low heat 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through.

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