The meatiest non-meaty ziti dish



Just so we're on the same page here, this dish does NOT have meat in it. No, hell hasn't frozen over, nor has the altitude in Boulder gotten to me...yet.  I'm not making a meaty ziti.  Instead, I made a very meaty non-meaty ziti.

But if you didn't know any better, you would absolutely think that this recipe has meat in it. (Lentils, thank you very much.)

This recipe my friends, is the definition of comfort food.

I could have just had a different childhood than you, or erased some food memories from my brain, but I don't have any recollection of comfort food when I was a child. No mac and cheese. No hamburger helper. I can't say I didn't have them, but if I did, they sure left no lasting memory with me.

As soon as I had my first forkful of this dish a week or so ago, I thought "OMG, this is comfort food!"

This dish did not disappoint. And it pleased a family of 5, with two ravenous pre-teen boys.

When everyone goes back for seconds, I know I'm onto something.

PS. Do NOT underestimate the power of the cashews. They are the magic ingredient in this recipe.


1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least two hours
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt + plus a pinch
Pinch black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 package brown rice pasta

Prepare pasta per package directions. While pasta is cooking, drain the cashews and combine with broth in blender until smooth (this could take up to 5 minutes depending on the speed of your blender). Set aside.

In a large saucepan add oil or veggie broth and sauté onions with a pinch of salt until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds or so.

Add the thyme, remaining salt, black pepper and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the lentils and toss to coat. Use a small masher or fork to smash some of the lentils. You don’t want to smash them all, just some for texture.

Add the tomatoes and basil and cover the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the cashew mixture and let thicken for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta portions to coat and put into individual bowls to serve. Dig in!

(Inspired by Isa Moskowitz (and Ian + Ali, my two favorite people in Columbus.)

Eat&RunII 500x500PS. Next Monday on February 2nd, I open up registration for Eat and Run : a 28 day online program to teach you what to eat so you aren't bonking, b***chy or beat after your long run.

In this program get ready to :

  • Know what to eat before and after a long run
  • To explore different ways of eating in order to help you discover what fuels your body best for long runs, short runs, track workouts and those darn hill repeats!
  • Learn how to make breakfast happen each morning when you’re fighting the snooze button
  • Eat and stay satiated for more than an hour (gasp!)
  • Prep breakfast the night before
  • Stop eating all those empty calories (bagels anyone?) what to eat instead

Make sure you're on my list so that you'll know as soon as registration opens.