I had to share this one in the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck!
Post all the memes making fun of it you want to, there’s no denying that pumpkin season is upon us. It’s in our coffee, our candles and yes, in our pasta bakes. And you know what, why not? Say it loud – I love pumpkin and I’m proud! This recipe from my friend Julie Hasson’s new book, Vegan Casseroles: Pasta Bakes, Gratins, Pot Pies, and More uses pumpkin in a less traditional role – as a cream sauce. If you haven’t picked up a copy of your own yet I can’t recommend it highly enough – I can already tell I’m going to need a backup for when I use this one until the pages fall out.
To make this dish, you’ll need to make a batch of Buttery Crumb Topping (below).
Buttery Crumb Topping
Makes about 1/2 cup, enough to top an 8 or 9-inch casserole
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
- Pinch of salt
In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, margarine, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Tip: You can substitute olive oil for the margarine, if desired.
Variation: For an herbed garlic-flavored-topping, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs. For a richer topping, increase the melted margarine to 3 tablespoons.
Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs, Ian’s are also vegan.
Photo credit: Felicia Perretti
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Vegan Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
By October 15, 2014Published:
- Yield: 4-6 Servings
Pumpkin is a fall favorite, although you can enjoy this dish anytime of the year. The sauce has a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin but also a nice savory flavor from the sage and onions.
- 12 oz dried penne
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion cut in half & thinly sliced
- 3 large cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 1 & 1/2 cups plain unsweetened soy or almond milk more as needed
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 5 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
- 1 & 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
- 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 recipe Buttery Crumb Topping prepared without nutritional yeast flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.
- In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add the penne and cook according to package directions until al dente. Don’t overcook the pasta, especially if you’re using one that is gluten-free. Drain the pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a blender, purée the onion mixture, soymilk, pumpkin, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt, sage, and nutmeg. Blend until the mixture is super-smooth and velvety, and no traces of nuts remain. If the sauce is too thick to blend, you can add up to an additional 1/2 cup of nondairy milk.
- Add the pumpkin sauce to the pasta, stirring until the pasta is well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
- Tip: If you’re using a high-speed blender, you can skip the soaking step for the cashews and just use them dry. Add a little extra water to blend if needed.
- Variation: Substitute fresh or dried rosemary for the sage.
- Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice, as well as gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in the topping. My favorite gluten-free pasta for this recipe is brown rice penne.
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