After running in a half marathon over the weekend, I decided it might be a good idea to take a couple days from my generally hectic workout schedule. So last night, I decided to get adventurous in the kitchen and make a butternut squash pasta bake. (a vegan pasta bake no less, in honor of Vegan Month of Food AKA Vegan MoFo) I like all things butternut squash, so I hoped for the best as I started preparing this recipe. (shout out to my iphone and the Whole Foods app where I found the recipe)
Note: The original recipe (below) makes 8 servings. I cut the recipe in half because I knew I'd never eat this pasta 8 days in a row, so if you're in a smaller household like I am, feel free to do the same.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks (Note: if you're lazy like me, you can usually find pre-cut/peeled squash in the produce section)
1 15 ounce can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped sage (fresh works best)
3/4 pound elbow macaroni (Note: Any "shape" pasta will work)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used plain)
What you need to do:
- Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil casserole dish.
- Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until softened (about 5-7 minutes), stirring often.
- Add squash, coconut milk, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and summer until squash is tender - about 20 minutes.
- Stir in sage and simmer for 1 additional minute.
- While all of that cooking is going on, prepare pasta.
- Once your pasta is thoroughly cooked, put it in the casserole dish.
- Mix in squash mixture and add walnuts. Stir until pasta is thoroughly coated with squash mixture.
- Top pasta/squash mixture with breadcrumbs.
- Bake until golden brown and hot throughout - about 30 minutes.
And then finally - ENJOY!
If you're into calorie counting like I am, you'll want to know that this pasta has 430 calories and 19 grams of fat per serving. A little gluttony every once in awhile never hurt anyone. Especially when it tastes this good! If fall had a flavor, it would taste like this pasta. To cut down on the calories, you could easily eliminate the breadcrumbs. (At least if you're like me and don't really care for breadcrumbs on pasta) I used slightly less than a pound of squash in my pasta bake which was a mistake. The dish would have been creamier if I'd added the correct amount of squash, so I recommend that if you make this dish, you load up on the squash. I'll definitely be making this pasta bake again...with its rich fall flavors, it might make a perfect Thanksgiving treat...and I'd care to bet no one would even be able to tell that it's vegan!
P.S. While we're on the topic of fall flavors, if you like pumpkin anything, you absolutely must try Melt's drink of the month - the pumpkin martini. SO good!