One Pot Protein Pasta

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Combining red lentil pasta with garlicky sauteed kale, this super easy one pot camping meal delivers a ton of protein while still being completely vegetarian.  

This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.

After thoroughly exploring St. George and Zion National Park, we drove east to the red rock arches of Moab, UT. Southern Utah is filled with some of the most spectacular rock formations in the world, and we were once again floored by how awesome the landscape was when we got there.

Lower Onion Creek Campground near Moab, UT
As fate would have it, our paths once again crossed with our friends Brandt & Monika (IG @
CodeTravelers) who have a sweet 4×4 Sprinter van! It was high season in Moab and the crowds from Salt Lake and Colorado had descended upon the area, so we were lucky to find campsite at Lower Onion Creek, just across from the famous rock spire: Fischer Rock. In what is quickly becoming tradition between us, Brandt & Monika picked up the campsite and we volunteered to cook dinner.

This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.
While the City Market grocery store in Moab is totally adequate, the recent influx of weekend warriors had reduced the selection greatly. So we had to take what we could, and rely on our camping pantry for the rest. We had been carrying around a bag of red lentil penne pasta for awhile and wanted to give it a try.

Camp cooking.This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.

We recently learned how much protein red lentils contain (a whole bunch!) and felt they would make a great base to a one pot pasta dish. Since we don’t have a cooler to store meat, sometimes we have to get a little creative with how we get our protein. But red lentils just might be the answer!  

This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.

Back at camp, we sauteed some kale with garlic in our cast iron skillet. Once that was ready, we removed and put it to the side. We hate straining pasta out in the field (who takes a colander camping?) so we decided to cook the pasta right in the sauce. Not only does this reduce the hassle – and potential catastrophe – of disposing a couple liters of boiling water, but it also adds flavor to the pasta and makes a more delicious tasting sauce. Plus, it means one less dish to clean at the end!

This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.

The meal was ready in no time, and gone in just about the same. As the sun began to set, turning the red rock cliffs into a deep fiery crimson, we felt full, content, and thankful. Sharing a good meal with good friends, in a spectacular place like this is what camp cooking is all about. More of this please!

Cooking dinner with a view. Lower Onion Creek, Moab, UT.

This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.

One Pot Protein Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Calories: 350 kcal
Author: Fresh Off the Grid
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Ingredients

FOR THE KALE

  • 1 head kale destemmed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

FOR THE PASTA

  • 1 (23 oz) jar tomato sauce + 2 cups water
  • 10 oz lentil pasta
  • 1/4 cup cheese - we used parmesan (omit to make this recipe vegan)

Instructions

  1. Cook the kale: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the red pepper flakes over in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the kale, garlic, and salt and saute until the kale is tender. Remove the kale from the skillet and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta: Add the tomato sauce and water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook for the time recommended on the package, or until the pasta is al dente, stirring frequently to ensure the pasta cooks evenly. Stir the cooked kale into the sauce to warm and take the skillet off the heat.
  3. Assemble and serve: Sprinkle cheese over the top, if using, and serve.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Camp stove
10.5" skillet
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Spoon or spatula
Measuring cups & spoons
Plates & utensils for serving

This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.This one pot pasta is an easy camping meal that delivers a big vegetarian protein punch. One pot, 20 minutes, and fewer than 10 ingredients.
Fresh Off the Grid
Fresh Off the Grid is a culinary resource for the outdoor community. We offer a collection of recipes, how-to guides, and camp cooking gear to help elevate your outdoor experience through food and drink!

13 Comments

  1. You guys are so lucky you scored a spot on the bend!! We've been shut out every single time and had to opt for KOA or backcountry! This pasta looks delicious and super filling - perfect for after a long day of hiking :)

    • btw... totally love whatever plugin you used for the "click to pin this" banner!! :D

    • After being super "meh" about Pin button plugin designs, I saw this on Pinch of Yum and loved it. I couldn't find any WP plugin for it, so our developer friend (actually, the guy we camped with in this post!) created it for us!

    • We were stoked to find it - probably helped that it was mid week. Moab was BONKERS on the weekend.

  2. Now, this is something I'd make at home!

  3. Nice, I used the pin button :) This looks delicious and easy. I never thought about cooking the pasta in the sauce. We have more indoor space than you guys (and a colander!) but I still can't justify boiling a pot of water in our trailer in the summer. I will definitely try this!

    • Can't blame you for not wanting to boil water in a small space in the summer!!! Cooking pasta in the sauce has been a game changer for us. It takes a little more attention since you have to stir it during the cooking process so that all of the pasta cooks evenly, but it's totally worth it to not have to worry about disposing of the cooking water.

  4. This looks absolutely scrumptious. I just found your website/blog and am so excited to follow you guys!

  5. […] Smaskig bild från ett annat recept här. […]

  6. I made this with spinach and regular pasta noodles (couldn't find lental). The family liked it. Very fast to make and love the one pot.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    • So glad that your family enjoyed this meal, Denise!

      Yeah, finding the lentil pasta can be tricky depending on your grocery store's selection (if you have access to a Trader Joe's, they carry a version there), but regular pasta is just as good!

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