I first made this months ago with the very first butternut squash of the season. I had decided ahead of time that it would be a “non-photo” night since casseroles are not the easiest subject matter. Of course, after we made it, I was regretting not having the camera out because it tasted way too good not to share.
For the second go-around, I made it with sweet potatoes only because that had a better ring than “butternut squash surprise.”
If you’re vegan, this will taste like a baked mac and cheese. If you’re not vegan, it will just taste awesome, and you won’t really believe it’s vegan (surprise). If you use gluten free bread crumbs on top instead of panko, it’s gluten free (double surprise).
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 heaping cup chopped sweet potatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces veggie broth
- ¾ cup light coconut milk
- 2 cups uncooked pasta (I used Jovial brown rice fusilli)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 4-5 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup to ½ cup panko (or gluten free bread crumbs)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots with pinches of salt and pepper. Cook until translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, garlic, broth and coconut milk. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and soft (about 15-25 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Cook your pasta according to package directions, reserving some pasta water before draining. Set aside.
- To your sweet potato mix, stir in the dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, sage, and maple syrup. Add more salt & pepper.
- Transfer the mixture to a high speed blender (a Vitamix is recommended) and blend until smooth.Taste and adjust. Add some of the starchy pasta water to thin it out if it's too thick.
- Place the spinach in a large bowl and scoop the hot pasta noodles on top (so the hot pasta starts to wilt the spinach). Mix in the sweet potato sauce, thinning with more pasta water if necessary.
- Place in a baking dish. Top with the scallions, a sprinkling of panko, pinches of salt, pinches of red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes (uncovered) until the top is brown and crusty. I turned on my broiler for the last couple of minutes to help with the browning.