A satisfying vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, soy free, nut-free and gluten free (if gluten-free pasta is used) dish that is simple to put together using carving pumpkins, pie pumpkins or even Kabocha squashes (known as Japanese pumpkins) which will leave your family asking for more!
If you are using raw pumpkin or kabocha squash flesh in this recipe, remove the rind and cut up one cup’s worth of cubes about 1 inch in diameter (note: the smaller the cubes are, the faster they will cook in the pasta sauce). These cut raw cubes should be added early in the cooking process to allow adequate time for them to be cooked until soft. If you would like to use steam cooked pumpkin or kabocha squash, read here.
Wash and peel the zucchini using a fruit peel grater. Then use a large cheese hole grater to grate the zucchini into shreds.
Mince the garlic and dice the onions and tomato.
Heat the half tablespoon of oil in a medium pot on a medium stove heat setting. Once heated, add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onion pieces are soft and translucent. Then add the diced tomatoes and sauté the mixture for 2-3 minutes.
Next, add in the measured amount of cooked red lentils, grated zucchini, pasta sauce and ½ cup of the vegetable broth (water or lentil cooking liquid can be used instead). Add in the raw pumpkin or kabocha squash cubes as well into this mix (but not if you already have cooked pumpkin cubes on hand – see step 10).
After the 10 minutes, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth (or water) and the cooked kabocha squash or cooked pumpkin cubes into the sauce mix (if using steamed or pre-cooked pumpkin cubes). Stir well and let cook for another 3-4 minutes keeping the sauce gently simmering. (If you used raw pumpkin cubes in this recipe, just add the remaining amount of broth, then continue simmering the sauce until the pumpkin cubes are well cooked through.)
Before serving, add and stir in the fresh oregano leaves (or dried oregano) to the sauce mixture.
Serve with pasta or bread and garnish with some vegan cheese shreds if desired on top of the sauce (optional).
During the cooking process, feel free to add in some grated carrots and/or chopped white button mushrooms or Cremini mushrooms if you like, and adjust the amount of pepper and salt to your liking.
If you would like to use pre-roasted or already steamed pumpkin or kabocha squash cubes, these can be added into the pot towards the end of the cooking process (see Step 10 in the recipe instructions above).
For an oil-free recipe, sauté the diced onion and garlic pieces in 1/4 cup [60 mL] of vegetable broth over a medium heat until the diced onion pieces are soft and translucent, and most of the vegetable broth has been cooked away.