Rao's + Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta

I know I’m not really supposed to say this, given my chosen profession and all, but sometimes I don’t feel like cooking either.  Maybe it’s the end of a long day, maybe I don’t have time to go to the store, or maybe I’m just feeling lazy.  Yes, there’s always the option of take-out, but most of the time I find it disappointing, over-priced, and not particularly healthy.  So, like many of you, I turn to convenience products.

Now, I don’t mean that I’m opening a can of condensed cream of something and dumping it over noodles with browned ground beef (not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s what makes you happy). There are some really great products that I’ve found and I will be sharing my favorites with you here on my website from time to time. 

Without question, the shortcut I take the most is with Rao’s Marinara Sauce.  This stuff is so darn good, I question whether it even makes sense to go to the trouble of a homemade sauce anymore (especially on a weeknight).  I use Rao’s about once a week.  I will go to the butcher department at Whole Foods and buy their meatballs, brown them up in a skillet and simmer them in Rao’s, then top with a (heavy) dusting of Parmesan.  Or if I’m making vegetable soup, I’ll add a half a cup of Rao’s to give more depth of flavor.

Katie Lee 1 Pot Meals Rao's with Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta
Katie Lee 1 Pot Meals Rao's with Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta


My go-to “I don’t feel like cooking either” with Rao’s is to serve it over one of my other favorite products, Tolerant red lentil pasta.  The only ingredient in Tolerant is lentils and each serving boasts 21 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and a full serving of vegetables. 

Here’s the recipe…and I use that word lightly:

1 box Tolerant red lentil pasta

1 bag baby spinach

1 jar Rao’s marinara sauce

Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Season generously with salt.  Add pasta and cook to package directions.  Drain and rinse.  (**I do not rinse traditional pasta because it takes away the good starches.  Alternative kinds of pasta, like lentil or brown rice, are best rinsed because they have a gummy texture otherwise.)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add a bag of spinach and 1 tablespoon water.  Cover and let the spinach wilt.  Stir in marinara sauce and pasta. Toss to coat.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Presto, dinner is done with practically no real cooking required!  And you just got protein, fiber, spinach, and tomatoes.

What did you think of this recipe? I'd love to hear your thoughts below and your favorite busy day recipe!