Macaroni Peas with Spinach and Lentils

2013-10-17
  • Servings : 3-4
  • Prep Time : 5m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 20m

Macaroni Peas with Spinach & Lentils

A little twist on macaroni cheese our Macaroni Peas with Spinach and Lentils is inspired by all things green.  We love finding ways to make old classics healthier and more nutritious and this recipe certainly does that.  If your child is a lover of the old classic, find ways to wean them from that to this. Use any leftovers to make delicious little macaroni peas muffins.

Nutrition Note: Peas and spinach are full of green goodness providing fibre, folate, health promoting phytochemicals and antioxidants.  The lentils add a boost of fibre and protein to this satisfying vegetarian meal.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup macaroni pasta (you could use spirals, risoni, bow tie pasta, pasta shapes)
  • 3-4 baby spinach leaves (or basil or mint leaves)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, loosely packed + extra to serve
  • 1/2 cup tinned brown lentils
  • pepper to taste

Method

Step 1

Cook the frozen peas in a small saucepan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until tender. While the peas are cooking, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and gently fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to colour the garlic. -

Step 2

Drain the peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Fill the saucepan with water, return to the heat and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions. -

Step 3

While the pasta is cooking process 1 cup of the cooked peas, the olive oil, garlic, baby spinach, parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of the pea cooking liquid in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add more of the pea cooking water if required. Stir through the remaining peas and brown lentils. -

Step 4

When the pasta is cooked, drain and stir through the pea puree. Season with pepper (optional) and serve with a little grated parmesan cheese. -

Step 5

Note: if cooking in advance you may need to add 1-2 Tbsp of water to loosen the sauce when reheating. -

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Lou Lou on November 1, 2013

    My little boy loved this recipe, it was very delicious :)

      Reply
  2. posted by Jess D on November 20, 2013

    My little boy (9 months) devoured these. Never seen him eat so fast!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on November 20, 2013

      Love it! Thanks Jess, Jx

        Reply
  3. posted by Mattie on January 6, 2014

    Could this be frozen?

      Reply
  4. posted by hannah on February 7, 2014

    Also wondering whether this could be frozen. Thanks!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 7, 2014

      So sorry for the delay! Yes this can be frozen. It may need a little extra water added when reheating to help loosen the sauce though. Jx

        Reply
      • posted by Julie on April 8, 2015

        Should you just freeze the puree/sauce and add to freshly cooked pasta?

          Reply
  5. posted by Charlotte on March 7, 2014

    Can you steam the peas? Or chuck them in with the garlic?

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 7, 2014

      Hi Charlotte, yes you could steam the peas or throw them in with the garlic. Jx

        Reply
  6. posted by Helen on March 20, 2014

    My super fussy 2 year old loves this! I increased the quantities to 2 cups of peas and a whole tin of lentils to make enough for the family. I also use a cube of frozen spinach defrosted in the microwave to increase the nutritional content even more, and a few basil leaves thrown in are delicious. Super easy and yummy, thank you!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 27, 2014

      Thank you Helen :)
      YOur additions sound delicious. I’ll have to give them a try myself next time. Jx

        Reply
  7. posted by Annette on August 19, 2014

    Hi, another yummy sounding recipe, thankyou.
    I was just wondering if there is a particular reason for choosing brown lentils? I assume you choose tinned for convenience. I know I have dried red lentils in the pantry. Could I soak those and substitute?
    Thankyou.

      Reply
    • posted by Allie on August 19, 2014

      Hi Annette, they should be fine :) let us know how you go. Ax

        Reply
    • posted by Julie on November 27, 2014

      Just wondering if you tried this with dried lentils as I can’t get tinned. Thanks

        Reply
      • posted by Allie on January 7, 2015

        If you cook them first they are absolutely fine.

          Reply
  8. posted by Lisa on August 24, 2014

    I made this tonight and it and it was lovely, quick and easy!!!
    To make it a bit more adult (but still toddler friendly) I used mint instead of spinach in the blended sauce.
    I also added finely chopped spring onions and crumbled chunks of danish (creamy) feta to the mix and ground pepper.

      Reply
  9. posted by Hayley on September 6, 2014

    This is really nice. It was a bit on the watery side for my liking (maybe my pea to water ratio was a bit out) so I blended in a can of borlotti beans. I used basil and grated parmesan Yum!

      Reply
  10. posted by Maria on August 7, 2016

    Hi..
    My little one is allergic to cows milk and so thus cheese. Is there something that you can recommend as an alternative to parmesan cheese?

    Thank you..

      Reply

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