The perfect pasta dish that will please everyone (even vegans)

While trawling through vegan recipes, I came across this gem of a squash recipe

Squash pasta

Squash pasta

 

My kids never ate pesto and pasta. It was always shunned, much to my frustration, during the busy toddler years. It always seemed like such an easy option. They love freshly made pesto on garlic bread or for dipping vegetables in but never on pasta. Recently I’ve given them fresh egg pasta with freshly made pesto and they love it. I’ve started to rely on it a little too often, though. Between starting school, moving house and full-on days, I’ve been serving pasta with pesto at least once a week and each time I feel a bit guilty that there are no vegetables involved.

While trawling through vegan recipes, I came across this gem of a squash recipe that uses butternut to make a cheesy, smooth sauce. The vegan version involves using nutritional yeast to give a cheesy, fermented taste. It really does work, tastes great and is incredibly light. The lemon juice balances it nicely. Nutritional yeast is deactivated by being heated and sold in resealable tubs in most health shops. It has a strong nutty, cheesy flavour. It’s a great source of iron and protein. Most nutritional yeast is fortified supplying the essential vitamin B12 that may be lacking in a vegan diet. It’s perfect for sprinkling over fresh popcorn, kale chips or adding to mashed potatoes.

I usually roast the squash by cutting it in half lengthways and adding it to the oven while cooking the day before. Simply scoop the cooked butternut out of its skin and store in the fridge until needed.  

Dill is delicious with the squash but flat-leaf parsley or basil are just as nice. The sauce contains an entire butternut squash, but serving this with some roast cherry tomatoes on the side will introduce even more vegetables. Toss the pumpkin seeds in a little smoked sweet paprika and sea salt before roasting for a punchy, smoky flavour. This dish is perfect trick-or-treating fuel and it’s always important to get a good dinner into children before the onslaught of sugar later on that night.

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Make this dish look even spookier by using Bunalun Spirulina pasta. The organic farfalle bows are a dramatic black colour thanks to 3 per cent organic spirulina algae powder, making them look like little bat wings. They taste no different and turn a dark green colour once cooked.

With one of their five a day in this delicious cheesy sauce, this is one trick that will prove a treat.

Squash pasta: Serves 4

200g pasta
1 medium butternut squash, cut into cubes
85ml milk of choice
2 medium cloves garlic
2tbs lemon juice
4tbs Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1tbs parsley or dill
4tbs toasted pumpkin seeds
Sea salt & black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Roast the butternut squash on a tray drizzled with oil until each piece is done.

Leave the squash to cool a little before blending it until smooth with the Parmesan, milk, lemon juice and garlic. Taste for seasoning, adding plenty of pepper and salt as needed.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Add the sauce to the hot, just-cooked pasta and fold gently to mix. Divide between six bowls and top with a little extra Parmesan, parsley or dill and the toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve right away.

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