This dish….this dish will blow your mind. It’s creamy, comforting, tangy, spicy, herby, and ridiculously filling. Don’t let the long ingredients list scare you off. All the work is done in a food processor. Yes, vegan, healthy meals can also be insanely delicious!
With the addition of tempeh, this can be a one-plate meal: it’s packed with protein, complex carbs, potassium, minerals, vitamins, and flavor. Make this for dinner tonight, and you won’t regret it!
As a confession: I’d never cooked with tempeh before, but only eat it at restaurants. The raw product appears to be a block of brains, in color and texture. But this versatile soy product is so perfect! When I added it into the pasta, which is then tossed in the acorn squash sauce, beautiful things happened. Flavor profiles aligned, melded and came together to produce the most fragrant and happy smells you can experience in the kitchen.
Vegan Acorn Squash Alfredo Pasta, lightly adapted from Lunch Box Bunch
- 1 acorn squash, sliced horizontally in half
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/3 C Nutritional yeast flakes (or Parmesan cheese if you’re not vegan)
- 2/3 C nondairy or skim milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp whole grain mustard (or dijon)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- freshly cracked sea salt and pepper
- 8 oz whole grain pasta (I used spaghetti)
- 1 package tempeh, diced (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Fill a glass baking dish 1/4″ with water. Place squash halves, cut-side down, into dish. Bake for 60 minutes.
Wrap peeled garlic cloves in foil, and place in oven next to the glass pan. Remove after 30 minutes. Trust me on this one – while it may appear easier to simply used minced raw garlic, the caramelization that occurs in the oven roasting process of whole cloves is something you don’t want to forgo. The oven is on anyway – why not put it to double-duty!
Once squash is done baking, remove from the oven. Carefully (it’s hot!), scoop out the seeds and “guts” of each half – toss these out. Scoop all the squash into a food processor.
Before continuing, bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. If using, dice up the tempeh now as well. Cook pasta according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes, add the tempeh right into the pasta water and finish cooking.
Add milk, syrup, oil, mustard, vinegar, and seasonings to the food processor. Blend for a good 60-90 seconds, and then switch to the “puree” setting for another 60 seconds. Taste to be sure seasonings are to your liking (at this point, I was sure that I was a MasterChef because it tasted SO GOOD).
Once pasta is done, drain and transfer to a large mixing/serving bowl. Pour the squash sauce on top and toss to coat all the pasta and tempeh.
That’s it! Serve into bowls and enjoy! I paired this with yesterday’s roasted brussels sprouts. And leftovers of this act as my lunch today.
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