Asheville Inspiration + A Creamy Dinner Recipe

by Ashley on July 25, 2013

If we are friends on Facebook or if you follow me on IG than you might have seen that Dustin and I spent the past few days in Asheville, North Carolina (more on that tomorrow!). Asheville spoke to my soul on so many levels. From foodie to vegan to gypsy to hippie and beyond, if this city did one thing it reminded me that healthy food can taste good too (more on that tomorrow too!). This trip reminded me that yes, while we should “eat to live,” in doing so, we should also eat good tasting food too.

Dustin always tells me that he “doesn’t eat for taste anymore.” Should I take that as an insult? Absolutely so, but I’m not the only one to blame. He will eat cold chicken for the “lean protein,” and you better believe I’m not the one encouraging that. 😉

However, I will admit, our meals have been pretty boring over here when I’m the one preparing the meal, no new and exciting recipes, just plain Jane healthy stuff. But I have to change that and change it fast so that my husband will stop saying that he “doesn’t eat for taste anymore” and can start enjoying good tasting food again prepared by the hands of yours truly. I know it’s in me and thankfully, Asheville brought it out!

I’ve been lazy, scattered and uninspired in the kitchen but that’s all about to change. Asheville, I thank you (and so does my husband) for giving me my kitchen mojo back and inspiring this tasty pasta dish that I am about to share today. On our stop home between Asheville and our next destination, I was able to whip up this tasty dish that even the hub said, “Man, I’m glad Asheville inspired you to start cooking good food again!” Wait was that an insult or compliment? I’ll go with compliment.

This recipe is quick, easy, minimal on the ingredient list and would be the perfect dinner for your next Meatless Monday or any night of the week meal! The lentils give this dish a savory meat like texture as well as provide plenty of protein to keep everyone satisfied! 

Creamy Neat Sauce Penne Pasta

Gluten-free and Vegan


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 cups dry lentils
  • 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce (or homemade – I used Harvest Farms Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce but I also like Classico’s Tomato Basil)
  • 1 box brown rice penne pasta cooked
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup flax meal


  1. In a large pot, bring the water + bay leaf + lentils to a boil. Once boiling, bring to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile cook the pasta.
  3. Add the marinara sauce and spinach directly to lentils.
  4. Remove bay leaf.
  5. Drain pasta and add to lentil pot.
  6. Stir in nutritional yeast and flax meal until evenly distributed.
  7. Serve alone or alongside a tossed salad and enjoy!

I hope you have a great afternoon!

Good health!



Shashi @ July 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hey theres nothing “plain jane” bout healthy stuff 🙂
Love tha you put lentils in this pasta dish – thanks for sharing this reipe!

Ashley July 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

You are so right about that Shashi!! I told you I was feeling a little uninspired!! 😉 It’s definitely a good one!

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