This week I have a delicious pasta recipe that's easy to make, healthy and really delicious! Spaghetti with chard and lentils can be on your table in under 30 minutes. When you're in the mood for something comforting and nourishing that doesn't require a lot of effort, this is the meal for you! Tossed with just a simple sauce made from garlic and oil, this dish is sure to be a winner! It's so versatile too. You can make it vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free.
How To Make Spaghetti with Chard & Lentils
This recipe requires only 5 ingredients: spaghetti (or your favorite pasta), garlic, olive oil, rainbow chard and lentils.
But the secret to making this dish quick and easy is to use pre-cooked lentils. I know, it's such a great hack! I'm sometimes leery about using pre-cooked food because often it doesn't taste as good as the home cooked version. But I have to say these lentils were really tasty and don't contain any weird preservatives or other unfavorable ingredients. I also loved the texture and flavor of these petite-style French lentils, but you can use any type of green or brown lentil for this recipe as well.
Follow these steps to get this tasty meal on your table in no time at all!
- Boil water for pasta.
- While you are waiting for water to boil, wash and chop the chard and mince the garlic. You can use any type of chard you like. I love to use colorful rainbow chard, especially in summer.
- Once the pasta is in the water, you can begin to cook the chard in a separate pan along with the garlic and oil. Remember, although it looks like a lot of leaves, they will wilt down considerably during cooking as they release their water content.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve some of the pasta water. You'll use this to create a sauce along with the garlic and oil.
- Reheat the lentils.
- Add the pasta to the pan with the chard and add the lentils.
- Toss the pasta and lentils together along with some of the pasta water to create a light sauce.
- I love this dish topped with grated cheese and sliced almonds.
This dish is naturally vegan. You can use vegan grated cheese to keep it completely plant-based.
Make it gluten-free by substituting gluten-free pasta.
Tips For Great Tasting Pasta
Here are a few tips that never fail when it comes to making great tasting pasta dishes:
- Salt the pasta water. There really is no way around this. Pasta will taste really bland if you don't generously salt the water before cooking. If you're interested in knowing just how much sodium is absorbed by the pasta in the cooking process check out this article from Cooks Illustrated.
- Add fresh or dried herbs. Summer is the perfect time to grow an herb garden and put those herbs to good use. Parsley, basil, thyme and oregano are all great choices that add fresh, flavorful elements to your pasta. Don't downplay the nutritional benefits either. Herbs contain a ton of antioxidants and phytochemicals that promote good health. If you don't have fresh herbs, dried are a great substitute.
- Don't overcook the pasta. If you ask me or any Italian for that matter, pasta should always be served al dente. Anything less is just not appealing. Pasta should have a slight bite and not be mushy or have a gelatinized texture to it. Look for al dente cooking times on your package or box.
- Let the pasta sit in the sauce pan. I never serve pasta without letting it sit first in whatever sauce I'm making with it. This allows the pasta to absorb all the flavor components of the sauce. Just a few minutes is all it takes for the flavors to meld together.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also like this Garlicky Chard with White Beans and Tomatoes.
This post was not sponsored. All opinions are my own.
Spaghetti with Chard & Lentils
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 8 cups swiss chard chopped (including stems) any variety
- 1 cup pre-cooked petite French lentils see notes above
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more as needed
- ½ tsp coarse salt + more for salting the pasta water
- ¼ tsp pepper freshly ground
- ¼ cup sliced almonds optional but recommended
- parmesean or pecorino romano cheese optional
- fresh basil optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant about 30 seconds.
- Add the chard and season with salt and pepper.
- Allow the chard to wilt and the stems to soften then turn off the heat. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta (remembering to reserve some of the pasta water first).
- Add pasta to the pan with the chard and half of the pasta water and combine together.
- Allow to sit for about 5 minutes in the pan off the heat.
- Continue to add more of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems a bit dry (or you can also add in some extra olive oil at this point).
- Adjust seasonings and serve with fresh herbs, almonds and or grated cheese.