Creamy Vegetarian Pasta Recipe with Sweet Onions, Kale, and Butternut Squash

Images by Kimberley Stakal

This delectable vegetarian pasta recipe is reminiscent of creamy from-scratch mac ‘n’ cheese, but without nearly as much cheese and dairy as you normally would get and is instead loaded with heart-healthy kale and winter squash.

In fact, the only dairy here comes from light, tangy goat cheese, and the rest of the sauce comes from cooked butternut squash and olive oil. It’s a wonderfully rich-tasting pasta dish without any of the guilt. Enjoy this creamy vegetarian pasta for a quick yet elegant meal.

Creamy Vegetarian Pasta Recipe with Sweet Onions, Kale, and Butternut Squash

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 pound whole wheat penne
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
2 cups sliced kale
½ cup soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain all but 2 cups of the cooking liquid; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add onion and squash and cook until squash is very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add kale and cook until kale just turns bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain.

Combine reserved penne and cooked vegetables in a large pot over medium-low heat; add cheese and olive oil and stir well to break down cheese—mixture will be very thick and chunky. Take reserved pasta cooking liquid and add slowly to pot in ¼ cup increments, stirring to break down cheese until mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Some of the cooked squash might break down into the cheese sauce—this is good! It will lend extra sweetness and creaminess to the sauce. Add just enough reserved pasta cooking liquid until the sauce becomes very thick and smooth to taste.

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Image by Kimberley Stakal