This vegan butternut squash pasta is creamy, wholesome and full of comforting savoury flavors. Packed full of caramelized roasted vegetables and warming spices, this meal is perfect for an easy and fuss-free lunch or dinner.
It feels like the coldest winter ever in England. We’ve had a week of snow and sub-zero temperatures and I’m doing everything I can to stop myself freezing. This vegan butternut squash pasta has become my go-to winter recipe to warm me up - it’s comfort food at its finest. Plus, using the oven to roast the squash also heats up my apartment!
About this vegan butternut squash pasta
If you love pasta and you love butternut squash then this one's for you. The two marry together perfectly. Each piece of rigatoni is coated in the slightly spicy and perfectly smooth sauce, quite literally melting in your mouth.
Roasting the squash makes it tender and caramelized, then it becomes incredibly earthy and creamy when blended. I’m going to say it again - creamy. It’s crazy how a sauce without any additional cream or cashews can be so rich. The secret ingredient is silken tofu, which dissolves to add creaminess and decadence.
Plus, this is a great example of how delicious dinners can also be healthy. Packed full of hidden vegetables this butternut squash pasta is rich in nutrients and vitamins - perfect for those cosy winter evenings indoors.
Ingredients and substitutions
All the ingredients for this vegan butternut squash pasta are budget-friendly and easy to source.
- Vegetables: butternut squash, red bell pepper, carrot. This is my favourite combination of roast veggies but you could experiment a little, for example, by swapping the butternut squash for pumpkin.
- Olive oil. To ensure the vegetables roast properly.
- Pasta. I use gluten-free rigatoni, but you can use whichever is your favourite.
- Silken tofu. Unlike firmer types of tofu, you don’t need to press silken tofu. It will dissolve into the sauce to add creaminess and decadence.
- Red chilli. I take the seeds out to ensure it’s not too spicy.
- Maple syrup. You could also use agave syrup.
- Nutritional yeast. Also known as ‘nooch’, this is a staple ingredient in vegan cooking which adds a cheesy, nutty taste.
- Plant-based milk. I prefer oat, but you can use any.
- Spices: cumin, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and salt. You can adjust the amounts depending on your personal preference.
- Tomato paste.
- Vegan cheese. I know vegan cheese isn’t to everyone’s taste, so this is optional.
How to make this vegan butternut squash pasta
First, remember to preheat your oven to 200 degrees C (400 F). Then line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
Next add the butternut squash, bell pepper, carrot and 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a mixing bowl and stir together well. Transfer the vegetables to the baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until fully softened and crispy.
When the vegetables are almost done, start cooking the rigatoni (or any other pasta of your choice) according to the instructions on the packaging.
Then, transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender together with the silken tofu, red chilli, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, plant based milk, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and salt. Blend this until it’s smooth.
Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook this for a minute, then add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until softened.
Pour the sauce into the pan and add the vegan cheese, together with the spinach. Stir this until the spinach wilts.
Finally, drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan, stirring for a few minutes more. Serve your vegan butternut squash pasta with fresh herbs of your choice.
Storing and freezing instructions
Regardless of whether you want to refrigerate or freeze, keep the sauce separate. If you store the sauce with the pasta and spinach, then the pasta will go soggy and this impacts on the flavor. The sauce will last up to 4 days in the fridge, or 2 months in the freezer, just be sure to defrost fully before heating.
Tips and tricks for success
- Chopping a squash can be a mammoth task. For this butternut squash pasta, I cut mine in half, lengthways, then scoop out the seeds and peel it. I find this makes it easier to cut into cubes.
- Or, if that still sounds too hard, using frozen squash from the supermarket is also fine, just roast it according to the pack instructions.
- Feel free to experiment with the vegetables and spices. You could swap the butternut squash for pumpkin or the carrot for parsnip. If you want it spicier, keep the seeds in your chilli, or if you want it sweeter, add more maple syrup.
Other comforting butternut squash recipes
- Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
- Vegan Butternut Squash Pot Pie
- Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese With Tofu
- Maple Butternut Squash Autumn Salad Bowl
I'd love to know: what's your favourite warming winter recipe? If you make this delicious vegan butternut squash pasta then please tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations! Remember to comment below if you have any questions and leave a star rating if you love this recipe.
- Chopping board
- Mixing bowl
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- Frying pan
- 2½ cups butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 1 large red bell pepper de-seeded and chopped
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 10 oz rigatoni or any pasta of choice - ensure gluten-free if necessary
- 10 oz silken tofu
- 1 red chilli de-seeded
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ⅓ cup vegan cheese grated, optional
- 1 cup spinach chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 F) and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add the butternut squash, bell pepper, carrot and 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a mixing bowl and stir together well. Transfer the vegetables to the baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until fully softened and crispy.
- When the vegetables are almost done, start cooking the rigatoni (or any other pasta of your choice) according to packaging instructions.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender together with the silken tofu, red chilli, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, plant based milk, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and salt. Blend until smooth.
- Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook for a minute, then add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until softened.
- Pour the sauce into the pan and add the vegan cheese, together with the spinach. Stir until the spinach wilts.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan, stirring for a few minutes more. Serve with fresh herbs of your choice.