I actually hated spaghetti as a child. It's true. I had a bad stomach episode one time and after that, spaghetti was (literally) off the table for me. I would (very) begrudgingly eat it, but having a second (this time allergic) reaction in my pre-teens made certain I was never to enjoy spaghetti again.
Now, I really should clarify: I like spaghetti noodles. I have no problem with them (as long as they're gluten-free). And I like tomatoes that are raw. But put the noodles and cooked tomatoes together and you have a very unhappy me.
Instead, I like to add foods to the pasta and still call it spaghetti. It makes me feel like I'm just as cool as all those other Italian-loving foodies out there.
Enter my newest favorite meal: spaghetti noodles with lentil loaf. Vegan and gluten-free, this is a dish that keeps me coming back for more. Another funny fact: I hated meatloaf as a child, too (I'm sure this will come to no surprise to my mother!), yet, once it's made with lentils and rice instead, as it is in this recipe, I find it absolutely delicious.
**Note: Be sure and make the lentil loaf first; let it chill in the fridge for at least one day before making it into your spaghetti topping.
Spaghetti with Lentil Loaf
Lentil Loaf Ingredients:
2 c. cooked green lentils
1/2 c. cooked brown rice
4 c. water or broth
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. gluten-free crackers, crushed
1/2 c. ketchup
3 T. wheat-free tamari
3 T. vegan ranch dressing
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. black pepper
salt to taste
1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. coconut palm sugar
1 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350'. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat. While heating, pulse onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add them to the pan and saute until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
- In the food processor, pulse almonds and gluten-free crackers until finely ground (but not nut butter consistency!). Set aside. Add almonds, onions, and lentils and rice to all remaining ingredients in a pot and mix well. Taste and season accordingly.
- Scoop into a loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Add the glaze in the last 20 minutes of baking (mix the ketchup, sugar and cayenne pepper and spread on top of loaf).
- A day later, cook a package of gluten-free spaghetti in a stove top pan according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, saute 4 or 5 chopped mushrooms in an oiled pan on medium heat. Once they are done, crumble and add the lentil mixture, a handful at a time, to the mushrooms, and stir as it crisps and heats up. This could take up to 15 minutes, which is perfect, as gluten-free pasta often takes longer to cook.
- Drain the spaghetti and top each serving with a large dollop of the lentil loaf-mushroom mixture.
- Sprinkle with walnut-nutritional yeast "Parmesan" or just call it good and enjoy!