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This red lentil pasta recipe makes a delicious family meal that uses healthy everyday ingredients. It’s the perfect blend between chunky pasta and smooth soup, deliciously filling and slightly spicy.
I’m sure it’s going to become your new favorite: economical, packed with protein, gluten-free and vegan!
It’s officially cozy season and I’m so here for it! My kitchen is full of simmering pots, warm smells and a long list of warming soups and hearty pasta recipes to make!
Today I’m whipping up this scrumptious pasta with red lentils, so filling and creamy with those little red lentils that melt into soup deliciousness. YUM!
The recipe starts with some soffritto (aka mirepoix) and a touch of warm spices like cumin, coriander and paprika. Don’t skip this step, because you need a solid flavor base to make a rich, flavorful broth to cook the lentils.
The red lentils break down and thicken the broth, and when they’re done, it’s time to add the pasta. Whatever short-cup pasta is fine, the recipe is great to use up mixed uncooked pasta that sits in the cupboard!
The result is a pot of warming, rich red lentil pasta that is full of flavor and totally delicious. I’ve made it three times in a row and we loved it!
I promise, this red lentil pasta recipe is a family winner, and it’s packed with protein, fiber, and also budget-friendly. We couldn’t ask for more! : )
List of the ingredients
- Red lentils
- Vegetables (onion, carrot, celery)
- Tomato sauce (or tomato passata)
- Tomato paste
- Spices (cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper optional)
- Herbs (dried majoram, bay leaf, parsley optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
How to make red lentil pasta recipe
(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Saute’ the diced vegetables in olive oil for 5 minutes.
- Add spices, marjoram, and garlic.
- Stir to enhance all the flavors.
- Add red lentils, tomato passata and tomato paste.
- Add broth and bay leaf, and cook until tender (15-20 mins).
- Adjust the seasoning and stir in the pasta.
- Cook, stirring often, until pasta is done but still al dente.
Recipe notes & tips
Red lentil pasta ingredients & sustitutions
Vegetables: this vegetable medley made with diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic (aka soffritto, or mirepoix) makes the flavor base. Don’t skip it.
Red lentils: red lentils are great because they cook fast, break down and thicken the broth. They’re also economical and packed with plant-based protein and fiber. Brown or green lentils work fine too, just make sure you adjust the cooking time and consistency if needed.
Pasta: whatever short-cut pasta is fine, including gluten-free pasta or broken spaghetti, a popular choice for minestre (Italian pasta with soup). And if you go for whole-grain pasta instead of regular pasta, you’ll get all the amino acids you need.
Grains + Legumes = essential amino acids. ; )
Tomato sauce (for my UK readers tomato passata) & tomato paste: the smooth texture of tomato sauce makes the broth rich and thicker, while the tomato paste adds depth of flavor. But feel free to use canned diced tomatoes if you wish, and skip the tomato paste if you don’t have it in hand.
Spices: cumin, coriander, paprika add a warm depth of flavor to the sweet red lentils without being overwhelming. I also use some cayenne pepper to taste. But if spices are not your things, feel free to reduce the amount or skip them altogether.
Herbs: bay leaf and dried marjoram works very well with red lentils. You might use oregano or Italian herb seasonings instead or marjoram. Fresh flat-leaf parsley is optional, but I love it with almost any soup.
Broth: I used low-sodium vegetable broth, but you can use your favorite broth if you wish, just make sure you adjust the seasoning at the end.
Salt & pepper: I think that 1 tsp of salt is fine when using low-sodium broth, but again, make sure you adjust the red lentils to your taste before adding the past.
Note: this red lentil pasta will absorb all the liquid as it sits. To reheat, add some water until it’s thinned to the desired consistency, then gently warm over medium-low heat.
More red lentil recipes?
If you’re planning to cook red lentils, here are a few easy, delicious recipes for you:
This healthy red lentil pasta recipe is one of our fav pasta dishes, and if you make it or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it. I would love to hear from you!
Red Lentil Pasta Recipe
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
- ½ Tbsp dried majoram
- ½ Tbsp paprika
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ heaped tsp coriander
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, or according to taste (optional)
- 1 ½ cup (260 grams) uncooked red lentils, rinsed*
- 1 cup tomato sauce (aka tomato passata)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or your fav broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp fine salt, or according to taste
- ½ lb (225 grams) short cut pasta (approx 2 cups)
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh parsley, to serve (optional)
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the diced carrot, onion, celery, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is turning translucent (5 minutes).
- Add the garlic, the spices and the marjoram. Stir to enhance their flavor for about 1 minute.
- Add the red lentils, the tomato paste and the tomato sauce.
- Pour in the broth (use only 4 cups, and use the rest later if needed). Add the bay leaf, raise the heat and bring to the a boil. Then reduce to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Before adding pasta, taste and and adjust the seasoning (I find that 1 tsp of salt is fine if using low-sodium broth).
- Stir in the pasta and cook gently, stirring often, until the pasta is done but still al dente. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more broth as needed and to make sure the pasta is covered by liquid. Keep an eye on it.
- Serve with freshly ground pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes, fresh chopped parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or lemon juice if you wish. Enjoy!