Butternut squash pasta is the perfect comfort food dinner. The butternut squash pasta sauce is creamy and rich, but low in fat and calories. A delicious meatless meal or side dish.
My husband bought me two cookbooks for Mother’s Day this year and I’ve completely fallen in love with them. I know you’re probably thinking cookbooks are an unromantic gift, but I’m definitely the kind of woman who appreciates getting a new toaster for Christmas or an immersion blender for my birthday (both are true stories!). One of the cookbooks I received was Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food and I’ve really enjoyed cooking out of it because the recipes are simple, so delicious and easily adaptable. This Butternut Squash Pasta is a recipe I’ve adapted from one of Jamie’s; I put my own spin on his butternut squash pasta sauce and it is SO good! It’s creamy and delicious and the perfect healthy dish. I know you’re going to love it as much as my Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup…maybe even more!
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This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Gnocchi and Squash Sauce recipe, from his Comfort Food cookbook. I simplified it by replacing the homemade gnocchi with whole grain pasta, I also adapted the butternut squash sauce to my family’s tastes and made it Weight Watchers-friendly. I hope you enjoy it!
Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce Ingredients
One of the healthiest parts of this pasta dinner is the butternut squash pasta sauce. It’s vegan, gluten free and requires just a few simple ingredients.
- olive oil
- minced garlic
- red chili pepper flakes
- fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- butternut squash
- low-sodium vegetable stock
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The addition of Parmesan cheese creates a perfectly balanced dish as the sharpness of the cheese is the perfect contrast to the smooth-tasting sweetness of the butternut squash sauce. If you want to make this dinner completely vegan, just omit the Parmesan cheese garnish on top, or use a vegan cheese of your choice. This recipe makes the perfect side dish to serve alongside grilled chicken or pork chops, but it also makes a filling vegetarian meal all on its own.
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Want more pasta dinner inspiration? Check out my recipes for Creamy One Pot Chicken Enchilada Pasta and Easy 15-Minute Pasta Carbonara. I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know in the comments below, what’s your favourite way to enjoy squash this season?
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Butternut Squash Pasta (with vegan butternut squash pasta sauce)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper chili flakes
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ chunks
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 340 g whole grain pasta cooked in salted water according to package directions (reserve 1 cup of the pasta water). I like to use Farfalle (bow-tie pasta) for this recipe, but Penne also works well.
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (omit for vegan option)
- Prepare your butternut squash for cooking by cutting it in half from top to bottom, peeling each half, scraping out the seeds and all the stringy bits, and cutting it into 1/2-inch chunks. TIP: Butternut squash can be difficult to peel and chop so a great trick is to stick it in the microwave whole for 2-3 minutes on high before trying to peel it. Microwaving it slightly will cook the flesh just under the skin making it much easier to peel and chop.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the minced garlic, chili flakes and the fresh thyme leaves (use your fingers to push/remove them from the stem).
- Saute the garlic, chili flakes and thyme for about one minute before adding the chunks of squash. Stir until the squash is coated in the garlic mixture and then add the vegetable stock and cover and let it simmer for about 25 minutes, checking on it every 5 minutes or so and giving it a good stir.
- During this time, cook your pasta according to the package directions, being sure to reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water after the pasta is cooked and drained.
- After about 25 minutes the squash pieces should fall apart when you try to pierce them with a fork – this is the texture you need for this sauce. Stir the mixture well until the squash pieces fall apart completely and the mixture becomes somewhat smooth.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the squash sauce and add the pasta water about 1/4 cup at a time until the sauce becomes totally smooth and not at all thick and sticky. You may not need to add all the pasta water you’ve reserved, so be sure to stop adding water when you’ve achieved the texture you desire.
- Portion the pasta and sauce immediately and top with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving. (For vegan option, omit cheese)