This week I am hosting a RESET group, where we focus on cleaning out any of the yucky foods or toxins that have accumulated in our bodies. The idea behind it is to limit the items that slow our digestive tract down, grains, dairy, animal proteins...and to fill our bodies with wholesome fruits, veggies and plant based proteins. At the base of our protein in take is my beloved Life protein shakes and the rest of my intake is fresh foods. Tonight I want to enjoy a hot dinner with my family, so this plant based, vegan meal will surely hit the spot & is loved by all members of the family (BONUS!).
I think many people forget just how yummy & nutritious lentils can be and a great alternative to ground beef or ground poultry. Lentils also save not only on calories but on saturated fats and MONEY! That's right, they are way less expensive than animal protein, so lentil on!!
The lentils in this recipe add such a nice meat-like texture, and are simply perfect served on spaghetti squash with a little extra sauce. I realize most people probably think of sloppy joes on buns, but I’ve been on mission to limit grains from our families diets and couldn’t resist throwing it all in the slow cooker together.
Surprisingly, you wouldn’t believe how filling, cheap and easy this meal is. The 15g of plant-based protein and fiber help to keep you full and satisfied while the slow cooker makes prepping this meal less than 10 minutes! I highly recommend this recipe for a weeknight– it makes great leftovers for lunch the next day too! If you work outside the home, I would highly suggest purchasing a slow cooker that has a timer on it, other wise your crock pot meals will be over cooked. Even though I work out of my home office most days, crock pot "dump & go" meals are my favorite. This way I can spend my precious time with clients, designing recipes and time with my family!
1 1/4 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed and drained (I like to combine red & brown lentils)
1 white onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 carrot, thinly sliced (carrot is optional but it adds more sweetness, color and texture)
3 cloves garlic, minced or 1tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 - (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 - (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water (or veggie broth), plus more if necessary
In a large slow cooker, "dump" all ingredients except spaghetti squash. Stir to combine.
Cut the washed spaghetti squash in half around the middle and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves face down in the slow cooker right on top of the lentils. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or until squash is tender and lentils are cooked completely. If the lentils seem dry in any way, just stir in some water until it reaches a nice thick, consistency.
Remove spaghetti squash and shred inside with a fork. Divide among bowls and add lentil sloppy joe topping. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Serves 4-6 depending on how hungry you are.
Notes: What to do if you don't have a slow cooker: I would assume that you could just cook the lentils on the stove top in the sauce instead of on a slow cooker. Saute vegetables with a small amount of olive oil, then add in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender -- about 35-45 minutes. Uncover and cook longer if more liquid needs to be absorbed. To cook spaghetti squash: Cut in half, scoop out seeds, and place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.