Have I mentioned my love of pasta before? Back when I was younger, my mother used to make my older brother and me our favorite dishes for our birthdays. Every year when she asked me for my specially selected, custom birthday meal request, my answer was always the same: spaghetti with butter and lots of salt. In hindsight, I find this hilarious because my mother is an excellent cook and could probably whip up just about any meal I wanted. But no. Pasta dripping with melted butter and enough salt to dry my mouth. I’ve come a long way since then. While pasta with butter and loads of salt might still be my comfort meal, I like pasta that is packed with veggies instead of butter.
Because it is still winter in the northeast, I’ve been receiving lots of winter squash in my grocery deliveries. I wanted a recipe that was easy to make, delicious, and incorporated my surplus of winter squash. While it does have a similar creaminess, I wouldn’t quite call this a vegan mac and cheese because it’s not as tangy as a cheese sauce and incorporates sage as the main spice. Rather, this dish is very rich and hearty, prefect for cold winter nights.
When I first made this, I experimented with Kabocha squash. I think almost any gourd-style squash would work well with this recipe – I just prefer butternut squash. Finally, I find that smaller pasta works best for this recipe but really any style of noodle will work.
VEGAN WINTER SQUASH PASTA
- 1 large butternut squash, cubed into about 1 inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 12 ounces pasta of choice (I used macaroni elbows)
- 1 Teaspoon ground sage
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 C non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spread squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for about 30 minutes or until cubes have begun to brown, tossing halfway through. While squash cooks, add onions, garlic, and remaining olive oil to a sauce pan and cook on low heat until onions begin to brown, stirring frequently.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add pasta of choice. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water. Remove squash from the oven and add to a blender. Remove onions and garlic from the heat and transfer to the blender, along with sage, nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk and pasta water. Blend until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Best enjoyed hot and will keep in the fridge for up to a week.