Vegan Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta & Greens
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
1 (3.5-4 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (or two (450g) packages chopped squash)
3/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
hot sauce, to taste
1 (450g) package mini shell or macaroni pasta (use gluten-free, if desired)
roasted broccoli or sauteed kale leaves, to stir into pasta
Add cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or for at least 3-4 hours, until soft and plump. Drain and rinse before use.
Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. See note about prepping squash below. Spread out chopped squash on sheet and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking, until squash is fork tender. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.
Add the soaked and drained cashews, water, garlic, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon juice, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and 2 cups of cooked squash into a high speed blender. Blend on high until smooth. Now add the salt, liquid smoke, and hot sauce to taste and blend again.
Cook pasta according to package directions. If using broccoli, kale, or other vegetables, roast or saute those too.
Add the drained pasta back into the pot. Pour on your desired amount of sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the cooked vegetables, if using. Cook over medium until heated throughout and serve immediately.
Leftover sauce can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 1 week or so in the fridge. It's great poured on roasted vegetables too!