Lentil Pasta Bake

This is a VERY tasty and very comforting pasta bake using one of my favourite ingredients – lentils! Plus some delicious melted cheddar cheese on top – please note you can substitute the cheese for feta or an alternative if you prefer. Let’s cook!

Recipe (Serves 5-6)

Ingredients – for the Lentil Ragu (pre-bake)

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 250g packs of pre-cooked lentils (I used an Aldi brand but Merchant Gourmet do a nice pack too – you could use a tin of pre-cooked lentils either, you can get these in most supermarkets)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pack of button mushrooms (200g-ish), de-stemmed and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, core removed and de-seeded
  • 1 courgette, stem removed

For the bake:

  • 200g of wholewheat penne or fusili pasta
  • 100g of cheddar cheese, grated

Method 

  1. Peel and then chop your garlic finely, and then the veggies (into bite size chunks), and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200C (non-fan oven).
  3. Next, set a large pot on a medium heat, and add the olive oil.
  4. Cook the red onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes in the oil, until softened.
  5. Add your spices and herbs, and cook for another few minutes so the onions are coated.
  6. Add the rest of your veggies and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Time to add the liquids – pour in the chopped tomatoes, water/stock, tomato puree and balsamic vinegar, and stir everything up together.
  8. Finally, add the lentils and season with sea salt and black pepper, stir and bring to the boil.
  9. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and cover.
  10. Cover the ragu again and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. While the ragu is simmering, put the water for your pasta on. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  12. Drain the pasta, turn off the heat on the ragu, and add the pasta to the ragu. Stir to combine.
  13. Add the pasta and ragu mix to a baking dish (can be square or rectangular, about an inch or so deep). Spread it out so it’s evenly distributed.
  14. Sprinkle the cheddar on top, and then pop the dish into the oven (when the oven is ready) for approximately 20 minutes until the cheese is fully melted.
  15. Remove from the oven and serve up the dish – you’re good to go!
  16. Serve as it is or you can freeze portions of this pasta bake – please ensure it is defrosted fully before consumption. It should store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Enjoy guys! Tag me if you try this recipe out – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook.

Ciara 🙂 x

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