I owe you an apology. A while ago I shared a pressure cooker marinara sauce, and I rudely didn’t include a stovetop version. I know, I know, for shame. But, there’s a reason, sort of. It’s because I hadn’t cracked the code on how to make the stovetop version quick and easy. But now I have! Friends, I present to you, a protein-packed marinara sauce, that can be made on the stovetop in less than 30 minutes! Let’s not waste any more time, there’s marinara sauce to be made.
Just as in the pressure cooker version, the cast of characters are:
Crushed tomatoes (I am fiercely loyal to Muir Glen tomatoes, buying them by the case from Amazon)
Red lentils (the protein-packed part)
Sweet potatoes (extra fiber and nutrition for the win!)
Oregano (if you like)
The key to making this a quick sauce is in the order of operations. That sounds like algebra, but don’t worry, there’s no math in this marinara. I would never do that to you.
The MOST IMPORTANT THING is to cook the lentils and sweet potatoes before adding in the tomatoes. If you don’t, it will take at least an hour to cook. I promised you quick and easy, and I’m going to deliver, dang it.
STEP ONE – Sauté the garlic and salt.
STEP TWO – Add in the lentils and sweet potatoes, sauté briefly.
STEP THREE – Add water, bring to boil, simmer until cooked.
STEP FOUR – Believe that this sludgy substance will be transformed into marinara with the addition of tomatoes. BELIEVE.
STEP FIVE – Add the tomatoes. DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’.
STEP SIX – Simmer for a minute or two to let the flavors combine. (Hold on that FEEELING)
STEP SEVEN – To blend or not to blend? That is the question. And the answer is, it’s totally your call. (Street lights, people, OH OH OHHHHHHHHH)
Your faith has been rewarded. Oh, and if you’re short on ideas for which to use this fantastic sauce, try some of these zucchini roll-ups. You’ll be singing your favorite Journey song in no time.
Get your veggies and protein all in one tasty and healthy sauce! 30 minutes or less to make this protein-packed marinara sauce.
- 2 28 ounce cans cans crushed tomatoes (I love the Muir Glen brand with basil)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 2 cups )
- ½ cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
- 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- Heat 4 quart (or larger) saucepan over medium heat.
- Sauté the garlic and salt in olive oil for 30 seconds or so, just to wake up the garlic flavor.
- Add the oregano, if using.
- Stir in the sweet potato and lentils, and cook for a minute or so.
- Add water, then bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes until lentils are soft.
- Add in crushed tomatoes, and simmer for another 5 minutes to let the sauce come together.
- Serve as desired.
This recipe can easily be doubled in an 6 quart saucepan or larger. Extra portions freeze well for later use.