As I'm writing this, I'm still mesmerized by the nice smell of leeks wafting out of my kitchen. I just ate an entirely plant-based meal that was so delicious I have to share the recipe with you.
When I'm creating a pasta dish, I like to include a nice fat (like extra virgin olive oil), veggies, a pop of flavor (like crushed red pepper flakes), with some kind of sauce to bind it together, and of course, a tasty pasta variety. My favorite pasta these days is of the legume variety, specifically the single ingredient Chickpea or Red Lentil legume pastas from Barilla. There aren't any unnecessary ingredients, the pasta is high in fiber, and is also a good source of
For tonight's pasta I chose to combine Red Lentil Rotini with extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, leeks, butternut squash, and
vegetable stock (and of course some salt and pepper). The red lentil flavor pairs really nicely with the starchiness of the butternut squash, which gets cooked down and smashed a bit into the stock to create a sauce that thick and delicious. The leek adds a light onion flavor while those red pepper flakes I love so much add that touch of heat that brings this all together. I didn't have one on hand, but you
could even add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to brighten this dish a bit if you're into that type of flavor.
My pro tips on how to make this dish a success: wash your leeks thoroughly. The proper way is to cut them, put them in a water bath so the dirt falls off, then scoop the leeks out to dry, pouring the water out afterwards. My next tip: if you're frustrated that your butternut
squash is too hard to smush into your sauce, just give it a few more minutes to break down and use a fork (no big deal). Make sure your
pasta water tastes salty like the sea before you add your Barilla Red Lentil Rotini, and if you need to thicken your sauce, add some hot
pasta water or some extra veggie stock to thin it out.
Let's get to this plant-based recipe, because I know you'll want to
eat it up ASAP.
- 1/2 box of Barilla Red Lentil Rotini
- 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
- 1 cup leeks, halved and sliced into thin crescents
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1/2 hot pasta water
- extra virgin olive oil
- In a saucepan, saute sliced leeks in extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat for about 5 minute.
- Add butternut squash to pan with your leeks and saute on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, along with your red pepper flakes. Add vegetable stock to pan and bring to a boil. Boil gently for 10 minutes or until the squash is soft and able to be mashed down a bit. While everything comes together, heat salted pasta water in a large pan.
- Add Barilla Red Lentil Rotini to pan and cook for 7 minutes. Reserve some hot pasta water in case you need to thin out your sauce. While the pasta is cooking, continue to cook the butternut squash and incorporate into a thicker sauce.
- When pasta is cooked and drained, add it to your butternut squash pan and incorporate everything together. Taste one last time and season if necessary. Enjoy!