We have another pasta dish for you today, and it’s really, really good.
This one comes from our friend Gytis - an amazing plant-based chef, YouTuber and avid cyclist. You may have seen him on his channel, Love The Climb VLOG. There he shares his love for all things food and athletics.
He also started a business here on the Big Island making raw snacks such as flax crackers, kale chips, seasoned nuts, date balls that they sells at farmers markets and natural food stores around town.
He lives nearby us in Hilo with a group of friends. We have regular get-togethers and they’re often hosted at their house, so we are lucky enough to get to try Gytis’s amazing creations at pot-lucks and other types of gatherings. Honestly, pretty much any time we stop by Gytis has something creative he just cooked or prepped (Gytis loves raw food, too).
This past Christmas, he made a vegetable lasagna that everyone was relishing and raving about. I was especially stoked, because I grew up with a partly Italian-American family that prepared lasagna along with other Italian comfort foods during the holidays.
Then, when I went back over a few weeks ago for a UFC fight night with the gang, I geeked out that Gytis was preparing a pasta sauce with a lentil base as well as eggplant our friends’ brought over from their garden. I love recreating dishes that were past comfort foods with plant-based ingredients in a smart way, and I saw this dish has intelligent because it uses one of the foremost plant protein sources, lentils, in place of the ground meat that is in certain pasta sauces.
I recognized instantly what Gytis was going for, and really appreciated it. Fortunately he’s a super generous guy, and just like most of the things he’s whipping up when we visit, he made enough for everyone and let me help myself.
Besides the great flavor and composition of the dish, there was one big surprise. I’m into spice, but when I tasted it I realized that it was 5-alarm hot! Gytis apparently can hang when it comes to spice tolerance. Good to know…
But don’t worry, we nudged the cayenne way down here for our palates and the ‘common folk’. And of course feel free to omit it, or double it back to my man Gytis’s level. As always, up to you!
Also, modify it to your liking, and however you take your sauce, as well as choice of pasta.
We served it over traditional spaghetti, for a change, though we personally tend to prefer higher protein / gluten-free pastas.
We also made garlic bread with a sourdough loaf, and included that quick recipe below as well.
Alright, it’s about that time…
Mangiamo! (Let’s eat!)
EDIT: Apparently, to my new knowledge, there’s a classical Neopolitan dish from Southern Italy called Pasta e Lenticchie that features a lentil-tomato pasta sauce. I wasn’t familiar with this dish, but soon after sharing the post, I realized, “Hey, Italians are amazing culinary artists, and they love lentils. Um, this has got to be a thing already. Let’s look it up…” And sure enough. So “Bolognese” may be a sort of misnomer, but to honor my former ignorance, and to bring attention to this dish, I’ll leave it for now.
In order of appearance…
• 1 cup dry lentils
• 2 cups water
• 8 oz pasta sauce
• 1/2 eggplant chopped
• 1/2 onion chopped
• 1/2 bell pepper chopped
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• Pinch of black pepper
• 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
• 1-lb Pasta of choice
In a large pot, begin by cooking lentils with the water.
Bring to a boil and simmer with the veggies, spices, salt, pasta sauce.
Mix and cook until veggies are limp.
Add cilantro last and after done cooking.
Cook pasta according to package directions. :)
Sourdough Garlic Bread
• 1 loaf of Sourdough Bread, sliced or cut in half lengthwise
• 1/4 cup Butter (plant-based or regular, or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
• 5 cloves Garlic, minced
• 1/4 tsp Salt
Slice bread or cut it lengthwise.
Soften butter by leaving out of refrigerator, or warming it a bit.
Mince garlic, and mix with softened butter.
Spread garlic butter on bread, and sprinkle with salt.
Broil or toast for about 5 minutes, until browned to your liking.
Pre-prep: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Total: 30-40 minutes
Gytis knows what he’s doing and this is an easy, nutritious, and super delicious recipe, as are all of his. If you like Italian food and traditional tomato or meat sauce, I think you’ll totally love this one, and want to make it repeatedly.
I’d love to see what other ideas you have in store for this recipe and how to use it. Please tag us @spacenlight on Instagram or Facebook or message us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.