- 2 cups water
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup carrots (very finely diced)
- 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (optional)
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce*
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 Tbls Spicy Joes Mixed Herbs
- 1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as organic cane sugar or coconut sugar)
- 1 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (optional // plus more to taste)
- 8 ounces gluten-free pasta (I like Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Fussili, or sub carrot noodles)
Add lentils and water to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, then reduce heat slightly to achieve a mild simmer (not boil).
Cook lentils to preferred doneness - 15 minutes for a slight bite, 20-22 minutes for more tender lentils. For this dish, I prefer 'al dente' so they don't become mushy.
When lentils are finished cooking, drain off any excess cooking liquid, season with a pinch of salt, and set aside.
While lentils are cooking, heat a large, rimmed metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic, carrots and tomato (optional). Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
To prevent splattering, remove skillet from heat and add tomato sauce, tomato paste, pinch sea salt, chili flake, Spicy Joes Mixed Herbs, sweetener, and vegan parmesan cheese (optional), and stir to combine.
Place back over heat and bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If serving with pasta, cook according to package instructions at this time. Then drain and set aside.
Sample pasta sauce and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more sweetener to balance and enhance the flavors: chili flake for heat, salt for saltiness, or more herbs for depth of flavor. If too thick, thin with a little water.
Add the cooked, drained lentils to the sauce and stir to combine. To serve, either spoon sauce over noodles, or add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
Serve with any additional toppings, such as red pepper flakes, vegan parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.