Creamy Vegan Butternut Pasta Bake
November comfort foods need not make you feel heavy with their richness - this pasta bake delivers on comfort but not the heaviness. It’s totally plant based and totally delicious. It combines the sweetness and creaminess of butternut squash with tomato sauce and the hit of salty tang from the sun dried tomatoes. If tomato sauce with pumpkin purée is a thing than tomato sauce with butternut squash is a no brainer
I checked up a lot of recipes for a vegan sauce and this by far was my favorite - no tamari in it and no other add-ins necessary to give this sauce great flavour - the herbs and the sun dried tomatoes are all the flavour boost this sauce needs. It’s simple to make and the butternut squash cooks in with the tomato sauce absorbing all the flavours before everything is puréed together to make a velvety sauce.
I loved using GoGo Quinoa Amaranth Pasta in this bake. I always find that all their GF pastas hold up so well in bakes. They have a variety of GF pastas - which I totally appreciate as I almost always eat GF pasta. It’s also one my hubby doesn’t turn his nose up at. The pasta absorbs that luscious sauce and bakes up beautifully and the crunchy herby breadcrumb topping adds a little more flavour and texture to each bite!
November is the ultimate comfort food month - as is every month of the winter if you ask me - definitely the best part of winter for me. This sort of kicks it off in a healthy way. Enjoy and happy almost November! I have partnered up with GoGo Quinoa to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
For The Sauce (makes approx 4-6 cups)
- 1 lb or two 227 grams packs of GoGo Quinoa Amaranth Penne
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sage leaves, minced
- 4 cups diced peeled butternut squash (about ½ medium squash)
- 1 cup tomato puree or tomato sauce
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh basil
- ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon
- ½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk or any non dairy unsweetened milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red chili flakes to taste (optional)
For the breadcrumb topping
- ¾ cup GF bread crumbs or GF Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves chopped
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tsp of nutritional yeast (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, stopping 2 minutes short of the recommended cooking time so that the pasta is nice and al dente. Drain, return to pot and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat, add the sun dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, and sage and saute until onions are soft and fragrant. Add the butternut squash, tomato puree, vegetable broth, basil, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook until the squash is tender, approx 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your butternut squash pieces. Feel free to add more water or broth as needed. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender directly in the pot until smooth. Stir in coconut milk and season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for heat.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pour the butternut sauce over the pasta in the pot. Stir gently to combine. Test again for seasoning. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. It will seem seem a bit soupy, but it will thicken up when it bakes.
Make the breadcrumb topping. Add Panko breadcrumbs to a small bowl along with the sage, paprika, nutritional yeast and salt. Mix to combine. Drizzle the olive oil over the breadcrumb mix and stir until combined. Spoon over the top of the pasta.
Bake at 350°F until bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Let cool for a few minutes before serving. (I served mine with fried sage leaves over it - pan fry sage leaves in olive oil for a minute or two, remove sage from oil and garnish pasta bake with them adding a little extra crunch to each serving)