I have fond memories of this creamy vegan squash sauce from my co-op days in college. It was a regular on our menu, and always popular. It’s from the cookbook Friendly Foods by Brother Ron Pickarski.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, diced (3 cups)
- 2 cups soy milk (I use unsweetened)
- 2 Tbs. arrowroot or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
- 3 Tbs. olive oil (I used 2 Tbs.)
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery, cut on th diagonal
- 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrots, cut on the diagonal (I didn’t peel mine)
- 1.5 cup broccoli florets (optional) (I omitted)
- 1 cup quartered mushrooms (optional) (I used)
- 2 cups diced onion
- 2 tsp. dried rosemary (I omitted this)
- 1 Tbs. dried savory (I used 1.5 tsp.)
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic (I forgot this so add 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
- 1.5 tsp. salt (I used 3/4 tsp.)
- 2 Tbs. chopped basil (or 2 tsp. dried basil) (I used 1.5 tsp. dried basil)
- 6 cups cooked pasta (recommends whole wheat fettucine)
- Use a steamer basket to steam the squash until soft (about 8? minutes).
- Blend the steamed squash with the soymilk and the arrowroot or cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pan (needs to hold about 4 quarts). Saute the celery, carrots, onion, and seasonings for about 5 minutes. Add the squash mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Spoon the sauce over the cooked pasta.
The final sauce is very creamy, a little sweet, and very rich tasting, although the whole dish is actually quite low fat. This is a great recipe when you’re craving a comfort food type of pasta, but still want something very healthy.
I tasted the butternut squash and soymilk puree and I expected it to taste kind of like a pumpkin smoothie but needing sweetener. But it didn’t taste anything like a pumpkin smoothie made with canned pumpkin puree. It was so much brighter and sweeter tasting. I could easily drink it by itself with no sweetener at all.
The large amounts of dried spices made me nervous, so I cut them back a bit, and omitted the rosemary. Even so, this recipe has a pretty strong “dried herbs” taste. Definitely suboptimal. Maybe next time I’ll just use 1/2 the savory and the rest fresh herbs.
I was nervous about mixing the cornstarch directly into the hot squash mixture, so I first mixed it with a little cold water to make a paste, before adding it to the pan.
I only cooked up about 2 cups of pasta (4 ounces dry whole wheat linguine from whole foods–my favorite brand of whole wheat pasta) since that was all I had on hand. It clearly wasn’t enough. I poured it into the sauce (for a silly reason–I wanted to blend the squash in the pan I had used to boil the pasta, and didn’t want to dirty another bowl). So the pasta was just floating in a sea of squash sauce. It obviously needed more pasta, although I’m not sure all 6 cups would be necessary. Four cups might actually be plenty.
With my 4 ounces of linguine, this made about 6 cups total, so about 4 cups of sauce I’m guessing. Add another 2 cups of pasta and this would serve 6 I think–each person would get 3/4 cup of pasta (1.5 ounces), and 2/3 of a cup of sauce. Serve it with a cold bean salad and you have a complete, tasty meal. Here are the stats for 1 cup of the sauce mixture (1/4 of the recipe I think):
|Amount Per Serving|
A very common way to make a vegan cheesy sauce is to add nutritional yeast, so I was curious how that would work with the creaminess of the squash. I added some to one bowl and it was okay. I didn’t think the flavors worked well together, and so the yeast didn’t add much, but it wasn’t terrible.