A filling vegan, plant-based, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, dairy-free (and possibly gluten-free) pasta dish that will satisfy the whole family.
If using canned white navy beans, rinse and drain the beans well with cold water, then set the measured amount aside. Alternatively use cooked white navy beans (for tips on cooking dry beans, read this article).
Wash and slice a small acorn squash in half through the stem and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then cook the acorn squash via roasting or steaming. To steam, place the acorn squash halves in a steamer pot that is already steaming and cook them for about 10 minutes or until just tender. (Don’t have a steamer pot? Click here to find out how to build your own set-up.)
To roast, preheat the oven to 350 F or 177 C. Then further cut the acorn squash halves into 1 - 1.5 inch wide semi-circle slices. Spread these acorn squash slices evenly onto a foil lined baking sheet or a wide glass bakeware pan. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until tender (can be pierced through with a fork). (Optional: brush the orange cut sides with a bit of olive oil before baking.) While the acorn squash is cooking, proceed with the next few steps.
Chop the onions, garlic and carrots.
Use a knife or fork to poke the acorn squash in the steamer to see if it is almost cooked through. If so, remove these halves from the steamer and let them cool for a few minutes. Then use a fruit peeler to easily remove the skins off the acorn squash halves (or slice the acorn squash into wedges and use a knife or fruit peeler to remove the skin off of each wedge). Chop the peeled cooked acorn squash into cubes to make 3 cups’ worth. If roasting, when the acorn squash slices are cooked through, remove them from the oven and let cool before cutting into cubes.
Place the sautéed contents from the saucepan into a large food processor bowl or blender, along with the 3 cups of chopped acorn squash and vegetable broth (or water). Pulse a few times until a smooth creamy pasta sauce is formed. Add in the nutritional yeast and pulse again to combine all the ingredients well. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve with your desired whole grain pasta or gluten-free alternative!
Roasting the acorn squash may be more flavorful but this step would also extend the cooking process so plan ahead. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can just use raw acorn squash cubes in this recipe. To do so, remove the peel of the sliced semi-circle shaped acorn squash wedges and then chop up the acorn squash flesh into 3 cups’ worth of cubes. Then add the acorn squash cubes in with the chopped carrots, garlic and onions to sauté for a longer period of time until all pieces are soft and cooked through.
If you do not have vitamin B-12 fortified nutritional yeast, you can omit this from the recipe.
For an oil-free recipe, substitute the canola oil with ¼ cup [60 mL] of vegetable broth to sauté the garlic, onions, carrots and raw acorn squash cubes (if using raw instead of pre-cooked acorn squash in this recipe) on a medium heat stovetop setting until most of the vegetable broth has been cooked off and the onion pieces are soft and translucent.