Inspired by their love of food and passion for health and wellness, our Test Kitchen team launched a Wellness Camp at our headquarters this January, dedicated to teaching Williams-Sonoma employees about little things we could all do to improve our diets and overall sense of well-being. All month, we’ll be sharing some of their favorite tips, from healthy recipe hacks to cooking techniques to small substitutions that make a big difference. Follow along with us on the blog and on Instagram @williamssonoma #wswellness.
Our Test Kitchen cook Sandra Wu is all for the concept of Meatless Mondays, but rather than eliminating meat altogether, she often opts for simply scaling back the amount of meat in her signature dishes.
“I just find it more practical, and honestly, easier,” Sandra admits. “For many recipes (but especially in braises, soups and stews), a little bit of animal protein can provide a lot of flavor. The rest of the dish can be easily bulked up with beans, legumes, vegetables, grains and tofu.”
One meal that’s on pretty heavy rotation in Sandra’s household is spaghetti and meat sauce. “Except the meat sauce is fairly light on the meat and heavy on—surprise!—lentils,” she says.
“The lentils cook down nicely and help thicken the tomato sauce, and their presence is much less intrusive than if, say, beans were used. Plus, they’re super filling.
Combined with whole-wheat spaghetti, it’s a way I get my family to eat more fiber, protein, and whole grains in a single meal.”
(Less Meat) Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Sandra uses ground beef in this recipe, but feel free to use Italian sausage or ground pork instead.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils, picked through and rinsed well in a colander
2 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked until al dente
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a Dutch oven, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Warm the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the pot, reduce heat to medium, add the onion, season and cook until tender and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Return the beef to the pot, add the lentils and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until sauce is thickened and lentils are completely tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over whole-wheat spaghetti, with Parmesan cheese passed alongside.