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Mediterranean Chicken & Lentil Pasta Bake

While traditional comfort foods satisfy your taste buds and can bring back wonderful memories that make you feel good, they are notorious for containing lots heavily-processed ingredients, bat fats, sugar and too much salt – not what the doctor ordered. Why not comfort your body instead with clean, whole, nutritious foods that aren’t full of health-compromising ingredients?

Vervana Strozzapreti high-protein gluten-free organic red lentil pasta

I love this healthier comfort food recipe because it packs the nutrition of tomatoes and olive oil, and is full of protein from chicken and lentil pasta. The Mediterranean-inspired ingredients in this warming, filling dish make it simple to enjoy a nutritious and gratifying meal.

Prep time: 1 hr

Cook time: 30 mins

Serves: 4

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade

Bakecold-pressed Vervana basil flavored olive oil

  • 1 8-oz package (or 1/2 lb) red lentil pasta
  • 1 red onion, chopped or sliced thinly
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, whole
  • ½ c. artichoke hearts packed in water, chopped
  • ⅓ c. parsley and fresh basil, chopped (alternately, use Crushed Basil Olive Oil instead of chopped basil)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Natural salt + pepper, to taste

Garnish

  • Chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • First, start by making the marinade.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cubed chicken, 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, minced garlic, and Mediterranean spice blend; mix well to coat chicken entirely.
  • Marinate for 20 min to 1 hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Put the sliced onions and tomatoes in a casserole dish, and toss them with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, and a few grinds each of salt and pepper. Bake them in the oven, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and the tomatoes begin to burst, about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are baking, cook the lentil pasta in boiling, salted water according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  • Drain and rinse the artichokes, then set aside.
  • Meanwhile, transfer the chicken and marinade to a skillet on medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides until it is cooked most of the way through.
  • Remove the casserole dish from the oven, and add in the cooked pasta, chicken, artichoke hearts,  and herbs. Stir to coat and combine them well in the dish.
  • Top the entire mix with grated cheese and bake it for an additional 7 minutes until the cheese is a golden brown and bubbling slightly.
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh herbs just before serving.

a healthy sauce for pasta has no added sugar, like this Vervana Organic Marinara that is sweetened only with carrotsNOTE: For an added burst of flavor and zest, you can top the dish with a scoop of warm marinara sauce before garnishing it with the fresh herbs and serving.

Mangiare!

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