Olive Oil Pasta with Walnuts, Lentils, and Red Peppers

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 7, 2011

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This delicious meal came about on Saturday at midnight.

We had just arrived home from a friend’s house and Eric proclaimed that he was STARVING. So famished in fact, he was feeling sick to his stomach. He lifted his shirt and sucked in his stomach to emphasize his hunger while I gave him an unimpressed look suggesting that he should probably do something about it. After thinking back over the day’s events, he realized that he missed lunch on Saturday which probably explained for his lingering hunger!

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait just a minute here.

How exactly does someone just forget to eat a meal?

Personally, I have never quite understood this phenomenon, although it happens to Eric at least once a week. I don’t think in my entire life I have ever forgotten to eat a meal.

I think it is a guy thing?

Anyways, Eric was lucky that I had a couple beers in me because he was able to convince me to cook him something…at midnight. I ended up making this quick (15 minutes flat) and delicious pasta dish.

I had no plan. I had no recipe. I just let inspiration guide me and we ended up with one kick butt pasta. When I presented this dish to him at 12:15am, the look on his face was just priceless. He knew he had struck it big.

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Olive Oil Pasta with Walnuts, Lentils, and Red Peppers

This decadent pasta sauce will blow you away- and you won’t believe what is hiding in the sauce! Amped up with protein-packed lentils, spinach, red peppers, and crunchy, toasted walnuts this is certainly a pasta with a punch.

Yield: 1 large serving or two small servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving (3oz) spaghetti (I used Kamut pasta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, dry toasted
  • 1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp medium heat salsa (I used Simply Natural brand)
  • 1.5-2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast (gives it a creaminess)
  • 1-1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (fresh would be lovely!)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped red pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup cooked lentils

Directions:

1.Cook 1 serving of pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, grab a small pot and turn heat to medium. Add chopped walnuts to dry pot and lightly toast for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.

2. After toasting the walnuts, add in the rest of the ingredients (except for the spinach), to taste. Be careful as the walnuts will sizzle and may splatter when you add in the salsa. Stir well and heat on medium-low for another 7-8 minutes.

3. Place spinach in a colander and rinse. When pasta is cooked, remove from heat and pour onto the colander (with the spinach in it) and rinse lightly. Drain and then add the spinach and pasta into the pot. Now pour the sauce into the pasta and spinach and stir well. Season to taste and adjust flavours if necessary. Makes 1 large serving or 2 small servings.

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It was his lucky night!

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This was probably the most random pasta sauce I have ever made, but we both thought it was one of the most delicious, second only to the 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta.

My random ingredients included…

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Ketchup is the secret ingredient! It gives it a very slight hint of sweetness. Eric was very happy to see the ketchup bottle come out.

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I also added about 1/4 cup of red peppers to the sauce.

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After draining, add the spinach and pasta back into the pot.

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Mix everything together and serve!

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Eric loved this! I snuck a couple bites and I also thought it was delicious. In fact, I loved it so much I made it for myself on Sunday. (I also took the pictures on Sunday too!)

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As I was preparing this, I realized that I have had a bit of a culinary ‘awakening’ over the past several months. I used to be terrified to cook anything without a recipe, but since I have had this blog I have really learned to embrace my adventurous side in the kitchen. Cooking shouldn’t be scary…it should be FUN! The great thing about cooking is that you can always adjust things to taste and keep tweaking things until you are satisfied. You pretty much cannot screw up.

(Unless of course, we are talking about last weekend when I dropped the opened salt shaker into our dinner dish just before serving!!) That was not my finest moment.

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For dessert:  Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream and Raspberry Glaze.

PS- The record amount of rain turned into a snow storm this weekend!

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Not cool weatherman, not cool.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

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Sara July 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Angela i made this tonight for my parents and it was so delicious – it is unlike any pasta i have ever tried – and love the spiciness! thanks for the great recipe – so excited to try making your falafels tomorrow!

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Krys August 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I tried this recipe tonight for my boo’s lunch this week. He actually admitted he was excited to try his lunch tomorrow. {something I don’t hear often ;) }
I actually quadrupled the recipe and… just out of curiosity is the sauce generally a little thick? Not a big deal, but it did taste delicious :)

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jet January 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Lovely and delicious looking. Many today are not forgetting to eat, but simply can’t eat three meals a day, or are lucky if they can get a meal home made. Nutritional yeast was expensive in my town, but what the heck. Yet, once one can’t make enough money to eat three healthy meals a day, or lets’ just say two healthy ones a day, why care about living at all. Food is essential…

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Ashleigh March 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

Seriously, this pasta sauce was fan-freakin-tastic!!!! You weren’t lying when you said it’s got a punch :) LOVE IT!

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Danielle May 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

So not a guy thing. I have been forgetting meals since junior high and I’m now in my early 30’s. I don’t know why or how it happened but it did and continues to this day. Certainly not my best habit but anyways….that dish looks so yummy. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing!

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Theresa June 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Just made this… I was a tad skeptical of the randomness at first, but intrigued enough by the simplicity to give it a whirl. Let me just say…absolutely delicious!!! The will be on my keepers list for a quick meal! Thanks!

Theresa

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Olivia July 13, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Angela, you are an inspiring woman and I hope one day I can follow big dreams and succeed just as you have done with your life. Thank you for the amazing recipes, I’ve already made this one twice and only discovered your website less than a week ago! My mom loves it AND it’s healthy for her diabetes. I will be back to your website many many times to come. Keep working hard for your dreams, I will definitely purchase your cookbook!!

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Katherine October 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I made this tonight and it’s delicious!!! I love the flavors and textures and it’s pretty darn healthy too! The salsa I used was pretty spicy, so I probably didn’t need the (generous) pinch of red pepper flakes…still awesome though!

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sally June 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I made this last night, exactly as directed. It was delicious! Have sent the recipe to my friends. I would have never put those items together – you are very talented!

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Jessica Lipinski November 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

This recipe is SOOOOOO good!! Exceeded my expectations. I substituted the pasta for squoodles and zoodles (squash and zucchini). Definitely do NOT make the red pepper optional – throw it in there!! I ate the entire dish for dinner. Absolutely delicious. If only more vegan dished could taste like this…

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Theresa Rayner March 12, 2015 at 9:14 pm

This is my all time FAVORITE recipe of yours!

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Audrey May 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Ooooh momma – I just made this dish using black (beluga) lentils. So good! My tummy and mouth are very happy. :-)

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Shafqat September 28, 2015 at 6:43 am

This looks great, and so easy! I will probably substitute crushed tomatoes or something for the ketchup!
Try also: minced beef burgers

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Holly April 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm

I have made this sauce several times now, and I can confidently say, this is THE BEST pasta sauce I have EVER had. Ever. I increase the recipe size x8, make it in my biggest pot, and freeze everything in a silicon muffin tray for single servings down the road. It freezes and reheats quite nicely, and the lentil/walnut combo gives it that “meaty” stick-to-the-noodles texture. As soon as the freezer supply runs low, I whip up another big batch. Seriously best I’ve ever had. Thank you!!!

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Angela Liddon April 18, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Aww, you are to sweet Holly! I am so thrilled to hear you love this recipe so much. Thanks for the lovely comment!

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Sandra November 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Delicious! I used mushrooms instead of red peppers (because that’s what I had). I was out of lentils so ditto. I also left out the added salt. Maybe the Neal’s brand of salsa is saltier, but it was actually pretty salty as it was. Of course that could of been because of the lack of lentils, they probably need a fair bit if used. Yummy,

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Heather April 18, 2017 at 8:04 pm

This is probably the best thing I have ever eaten in my life.

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