Whether you are a committed vegan or just trying to reduce your weekly meat intake, a simple dish like Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta is a satisfying failsafe. This one contains just a handful of vegan ingredients, is a few simple steps and ready to serve.
Make this a whole meal and offer my Quinoa Salad with Lentils and Beets on the side.
Sharing a bowl of bolognese with your beau is a truly romantic moment. Immortalised in many a Hollywood scene as lovers’ lips meet over a strand of spaghetti. Food really is the language of love, and no-one says it better than the Italians.
But what happens next in this love scene? My guess is bloated bellies and lie-down? Not this time!
Thanks to an entirely vegan recipe, this vibrantly coloured, silky smooth butternut squash sauce is easy on the stomach, digestible and delicious. The perfect start to a sophisticated, romantic meal for two. And you choose how the movie ends.
Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce
The secret to this sauce is to roast your squash. Don’t boil it! Roasting caramelises and brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable. It takes time, but you want that golden glow.
One of the most beautiful things about this vegan pasta sauce is the lightness and guilt-free creaminess. As it’s dairy-free, there is no cream in this creamy sauce! The consistency becomes smooth and cream-like on blending. The subtle cheese flavour comes from nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast, also known as ‘nooch’ is a seasoning all-star. It’s vitamin-packed, so ideal if your diet is limited, and it has a salty, cheesy flavour. It can be used in place of dairy cheese if you’re vegan-conscious, and salt if you are on a low-sodium diet.
The result of this match-making: a liquid gold-soaked spaghetti love story.
The health benefits offered by nuts are well-known; they are a source of good fats, protein and they help look after your heart. Pistachios are up there as one of my favourites. They’re not too hard on the tooth, mild but earthy, and such a pretty dappled purple and green.
The crunchy pistachio crumb topping on this dish provides extra nutritional value and a sprinkling of sophisticated elegance. It definitely elevates the dish from ‘family dinner’ to ‘date night’.
Recipe tips and notes
- I use butternut squash, but any kind of firm-fleshed winter squash can be used. Even pumpkin. Don’t let those jack-o-lantern innards go to waste!
- You can leave out the nooch (nutritional yeast) if you can’t find it or don’t have it. Just remember to season well with salt in its place. Or if you have some, add a good grating of vegan hard cheese.
- For me, the pistachios are vital. The crunchy crumb contrasts the smoothness and softness of the spaghetti and sauce. Try other nuts if you’re not keen on pistachios; walnuts for bitter depth or almonds for sweetness. Obviously, if you have allergies leave them out completely!
- This makes a great sauce base too. Play with texture, flavour and nutrition by upping the vegetable content. Sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, even a handful of peas. Make it your own.
Storage and leftovers
I’m not suggesting butternut squash is an aphrodisiac, but should your romantic meal come to an early end, any leftover pasta and sauce and be covered tightly and kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat on the hob with a splash of olive oil or water to loosen the sauce and prevent sticking.
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 375 ml/1 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, flakes
- 2 tablespoon chopped pistachios, toasted (do not omit, they add texture!)
- 1 lbs spaghetti or other pasta
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Cut the squash into 2 inch pieces, discard the seeds, arrange the squash on a roasting pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or spray with a cooking spray and season with a pinch of salt. Roast for 1 hour until very soft and slightly golden on the outside. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
- Set a pot with water to boil. Once boiled add a large pinch of salt and spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions.
- While it’s cooling chop the shallot and cook in the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil for 3-4 minutes over low heat, then add the minced garlic and cook for a few seconds longer, remove from the heat.
- Peel the skin off the butternut squash and add to a blender together with the vegetable stock, cooked shallot and garlic and nutritional yeast, blend until smooth and return to the pan.
- Drain the spaghetti, while reserving ½ cup of the water. Add the spaghetti to the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water until the sauce is desired consistency.
- Top with chopped pistachios and black pepper before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 284mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g
Nutritional information is calculated using third-party services and is only a guideline. There may be some variations based on product brands and cooking methods. If you are on a restricted diet, it is recommended that you supplement this info with your own research.