One of my most popular and most cooked (to my knowledge) recipes to date is my roasted butternut squash pasta sauce. I turn to it frequently when I want something cosy, filling and, you know, orange. It can’t be just me that truly craves orange food in autumn and winter.
Whilst delicious, my original recipe is completely inappropriate for Veganuary. It relies on parmesan and wensleydale for its extra creaminess and delicious flavour. I couldn’t bear to think of the month of January without this dinner in it, so I thought I might as well veganise it.
I’ve put two new friends to work in this recipe, so from a novelty perspective this is a total dream for me. First new buddy: nutritional yeast. If you’re not sure what that is, there’s a post on the Whole Foods blog that might help if you’re interested, but essentially it’s a thingie that looks a bit like fish food that vegans add to sauces and nuts to make them taste cheesy. Does it actually taste cheesy? Nah. It is a very interesting savoury flavour though, and I can see why people describe it as cheesy. People who haven’t tasted cheesy in a long time, you know? I get it, I’m on the level, but I’m going to have to agree to disagree. Peacefully.
Second new buddy: vegan cream. Who knew this existed? I didn’t! I’m not sure if there are billions of brands of this, but I used the Alpro one that I found lurking on the bottom shelf in the Sainsbury’s free-from aisle. It was 90p for a little carton, it doesn’t overpower food like the big cream substitute we all know and love (I’m looking at you, all coconut products) and it tastes pretty good. If you want to seek it out, it looks like this.
1/2 a butternut squash (the top half, it’s easier, future you can deal with the seedy half)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup vegan cream
salt and pepper
- Peel and chop your b-squash into little chunks, then roast at Gas Mark 7 (conversions here) with the garlic cloves (unpeeled) until almost burning at the edges. At least that’s how I like mine. Give it half an hour then check it until you’re happy.
- Put the roasted squash in a blender or food processor, pop the garlic out of its skin and add that too, then pour in the cream and sprinkle that nutritional yeast in there. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and blitz until smooth, adding a little water to reach a good pasta saucy consistency.
- It’s good to go! Put it under a low heat in a clean saucepan while you cook your pasta (spaghetti is best, in my experience) and serve.
Have you veganised any favourite meals before? Are you doing Veganuary this year? Are you so over my vegan posts? Tell me all your secrets in the comments section.