LEMMONY PENNE WITH LENTILS

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I eat very little pasta these days, and my innards are better for it. But sometimes, little else makes me feel as comforted and homey as a big bowl of the stuff. And sometimes, that’s all I want food to make me feel. And I think that’s just a-ok – healthy even – to let food let you feel that way, even if nutritionally it’s not ‘good’ for you in the way us health and wellness types talk about. I know not everyone will agree with me here, but I do think that a healthy attitude towards food does not include being militant about what is allowed and what isn’t – and above all, punishing yourself for wanting/eating these foods is much worse for you and your health than the occasional cupcake/peanut butter cup/bowl of carbs! All this is to say that the other night I felt like pasta, and pasta is what I had. I wanted to have it with a few of my other favourite things, so goat feta, aubergine, kale and garlic were thrown in the mix. I added lentils and cashews for a protein kick. The result was a simple but tasty recipe that was very quick to whip up.

Ingredients

serves 3-4

Cooking oil of your choice (I used rice bran, because of its high smoke point)

500g  Penne pasta

1 med/large onion, diced

1 large aubergine (eggplant), cubed

1 cup brown lentils (preferably soaked overnight, but I’m rarely organised enough to have done that – 1 hour will do in my books 😉 )

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups roughly chopped kale

3/4 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup cashews, chopped (I put them in a plastic bag and smashed ’em up with a rolling pin).

2 cloves of garlic, diced

Method

Firstly, start cooking the pasta. At the same time, cover the lentils in water and cook over medium heat (they should take ~30min to cook).

While the lentils and pasta are cooking, heat a generous amount of oil in a decent sized pan. Throw in the diced onion, cubed aubergine and garlic, and over low-medium heat, cook until the onion is soft and translucent, and the aubergine is squidgey. Add the cashew nuts and stir through. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice over the top of the ingredients in the pan. If the lentils are still a little way from being ready, reduce the heat to very low.

When the lentils are cooked, add them to the pan, along with the kale and feta. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Serve over the top of the penne and enjoy!

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