I am a huge, huge meat lover. Seriously, I can't get enough.
However, once a week - usually in synch with Meatless Monday - I try and eat a veggie or vegan dish to give my body a bit of a break.
On these days, I crave pasta and carbs like anything. I don't know what it is, but my body seems to be crying out for satisfying, more indulgent foods anytime I skip the meat.
One of my favourite and most recent discoveries is Rizopia brown rice pasta. Made for all those health-conscious carb lovers out there, Rizopia puts pasta back on the menu for anyone who's watching what they eat, training for a big event, or has an intolerance to gluten. Heck, since it's only made of brown rice and water, it's even suitable for vegans and those with a dairy allergy too!
Unlike many healthier pasta alternatives out there, Rizopia also holds its texture amazingly and tastes great. Actually, I think it tastes even better than ordinary pasta - yes, really. Since it's much lighter on the stomach, you don't get any of that bloated feeling from eating it, either. All in all, it's a win win!
Anyway, I've recently been whipping up a fast, healthy Sundried Tomato, Lentil & Quinoa Bolognese to serve alongside my Rizopia on those meat-free days. Protein-packed and utterly delicious, you won't miss meat at all with this recipe. Perfect for guilt-free, carb indulging!
SUNDRIED TOMATO, LENIL AND QUINOA BOLOGNESE
1 cup red lentils, cooked according to instructions
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks celery, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 - 1.5 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
Handful sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
3 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp nutritional yeast, to serve (for non-vegan option, add cheese)
Handful basil leaves, to serve
Rizopia brown rice spaghetti or fettucine
1) Heat some oil in a saucepan, then gently sautee the carrots, celery, onion, pepper and garlic cloves. Stir often, and cook for around 3-4 minutes.
2) Tip in the chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs, chilli flakes and sun dried tomatoes, then give it a good stir to bring together (if you like your bolognese smooth and try to hide veggies - like my son! - quickly puree it now in a processor. If not, carry on) and bring gently to the boil.
3) Add in the cooked lentils, quinoa, balsamic vinegar and red wine, then bring to a simmer. Stir in the almond milk, then turn down the heat and cook gently for around 30minutes, or until the quinoa has softened.
4) Once your sauce is nearly ready, cook your pasta to packet instructions. Drain, then place in bowls and top with the Quinoa Bolognese, a scattering of basil leaves and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast or cheese!