Perfect for a meatless meal, serve pasta and lentils with a salad for satisfying, budget friendly fare. I’m fond of recipes made from things we normally keep on hand, especially when they taste great!

1-1/2 cups onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup uncooked lentils
1 carrot, washed and finely chopped
1/4 pound pasta, small shells or rotelle
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Place a large saucepan of salted water on to boil; add the pasta and cook until it is al dente, about one minute from being tenderly cooked.

Place 1-1/3 cups water and the lentils in a lidded saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes. Add the carrot, stir and cover; cook for 3 – 5 minutes until the lentils and carrots are tender.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme, stir frequently and cook until the onion becomes golden brown.

Reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the cooked pasta and set aside. Drain the pasta into a colander, give the colander a good shake. Add the pasta to the skillet with the lentils. Simmer the pasta and lentils for about 1 minute, stirring to combine. If the mixture becomes dry, add a little of the reserved pasta liquid. Add the parsley, stir briefly to incorporate.

Transfer the mixture to heated serving bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 2 servings.

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An attractive vegetarian dish, this zucchini lasagna rolls recipe is delicious and satisfying. This dish won’t break the budget and leftovers reheat nicely, perfect for lunch at the office.

2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups onions
3 cloves garlic
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups zucchini
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
3 cups fresh Marinara Sauce or canned sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 13″ x 8″ lidded baking dish.

Preparation:
Put the lasagna noodles on to cook while you gather and prepare the remaining ingredients. When the noodles have cooked, drain and submerge in cold water to stop cooking. Skin and chop the onions. Skin and mince the garlic. Wash and grate the zucchini. Grate the Parmesan cheese.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic. Stirring frequently, gently sauté until the onions are translucent; remove from heat to cool. In a large bowl, stir the ricotta cheese, basil, oregano, salt, zucchini and cooled onions until well blended.

Assemble the rolls:
Lay a few lasagna strips side-by-side on a work surface and spread about 1/4 cup of the zucchini blend evenly along each strip. Keep in mind that you’re going to roll this up, so you want a fairly thin layer of filling. Roll up each strip and place in your prepared pan. Continue this process until you’ve exhausted your noodles and/or filling.

Finish and bake:
Gently pour your sauce around the rolls, leaving the white noodle tops exposed. Place the lid or aluminum foil over your baking dish and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

Tip Preparation: to make cleanup a breeze, I like to assemble the rolls on a jellyroll pan or large cutting board. The first time I made this recipe, I assembled the rolls on a clean counter. Using the counter works fine, but cleanup takes longer than using a surface that can easily be moved to the sink and washed.

Tip Canned Sauce: I frequently use “dolled up” canned sauce and prefer Hunts brand to others in the same price range. I particularly like the “Mushroom” sauce for this recipe, “Roasted Garlic” is excellent, too.

Tip Parmesan Cheese: I always use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The improved flavor and texture are worth the extra cost of the stuff found in cans on the shelves. Some of the “all natural” stuff – the canned foods in the isles as well as pre-grated ingredients in the refrigerated section – contains cellulose. Cellulose is a harmless plant fiber that passes through the human digestive system without being digested. I don’t see the point in paying for something that won’t be used. ;-)

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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