I'm kind of a fiber fanatic. I'm one of those strange individuals who actually seeks out ways to incorporate more fiber into a meal. Throw some toasted pumpkin seeds on top of that! Add a few tablespoons of flaxseed! Let's puree some prunes to add to those brownies!
What can I say? My cooking is fiber-lickin' good.
Consequently, with the exception of desserts (which are my first love in the food world), nothing brings a smile to my face more than walking through the door after a long day at work, and finding my husband preparing a fresh, fiber-licious dinner. Lucky for me, tonight was one of those nights.
Tonight's delightful pasta dish invites a variety of flavors you might find odd at first glance. I certainly did. Glancing at the recipe, I was skeptical of the unusual combinations: whole wheat pasta with lentils, artichokes, tomatoes, cumin, feta, and much more. Even the name sounds a bit confused: "Pasta, Lentils, and Artichoke Hearts." Thanks, but no thanks.
However, the Moosewood Collective's Low-Fat Favorites has never steered us wrong, and it certainly didn't with this recipe. I was blown away! This dish is so powerfully flavorful and wonderfully textured--it was truly a creative and ridiculously delicious pasta meal. It serves well as a one-dish dinner, as it's very filling and you'll have little room for much else.
So, tonight I salute my fiber-cooking husband and his unique pasta creation. My words of wisdom for today: Embrace fiber! She's fun, she's flavorful, and she just might be your new best friend.
Pasta, Lentils, and Artichoke Hearts
(a recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook)
- 1 cup dry red lentils (3 cups cooked)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2- 1/4 cups water
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cups diced onion
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 3 cups of canned tomatoes, drained (approximately 28 oz.)
- 12 oz. jar of artichoke hearts, chopped (make sure you don't use the "marinated" artichoke hearts; just use the plain-in-water variety!)
- 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
- Salt and ground pepper, taste
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Optional: crushed red pepper flakes
1) Combine lentils, water, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; lower heat and simmer until water is mostly absorbed. Discard bay leaf.
2) Cook pasta according to package directions.
3) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender (approximately 5 minutes). Add garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, artichokes hearts, lemon juice, and salt, and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, and simmer until the sauce reaches your desired consistency (we simmered ours for about 10 minutes. Cooking it longer would result in a thicker sauce).
4) Combine pasta with lentil-tomato mixture. Pour into individual serving bowls, and top with feta cheese and (if you like "hot stuff") crushed red pepper flakes.