When you hear the word ‘pasta’, what comes to mind? Silky red sauce, creamy alfredo, maybe just garlic and butter. Most people don’t automatically think pasta is healthy, and usually it isn’t. Restaurants usually serve it in giant portions, usually made from white flour, and drenched in way too much sauce. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
What if I told you you could make a healthy AND tasty pasta dish from these ingredients: kelp noodles, butternut squash, cashews, nutritional yeast, spinach and hemp seeds? You’d probably tell me to step away from the kale chips–those don’t sound like pasta at all. I’m not completely crazy, though. I based my recipe off a similar one that also features squash and cashews as the sauce base, and there are plenty of squash-based pasta recipes floating around the blog world during squash season. I just made mine a bit more nutrient-dense by swapping out the grain-based pasta for noodles made from a nutritious sea veggie with the texture of angel hair pasta and adding some nutritional yeast to the sauce, as well as topping it with spinach and hemp seeds. The key is roasting the squash and soaking the cashews to get a super creamy and flavorful sauce without the cream. This is a truly healthy vegan comfort meal!
Cheezy Butternut Noodles (vegan, gluten free, grain free)
- 1/2 butternut squash, roasted
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4-1/3 cup cashews, soaked at least 3 hours
- unsweetened almond milk, to thin
- pink sea salt, to taste
- spices, to taste (I used garlic & herb and cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional, adds some heat)
- 1/2 bag kelp noodles, soaked and rinsed
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- handful spinach
In a blender or food processor (I used my Ninja food processor), pulse roasted squash, soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, spices and pepper (if using) until combined. Add enough almond milk to thin the sauce to preferred consistency. Spoon 1/4 of the sauce over kelp noodles and warm in the microwave or on the stove. Top with hemp seeds and spinach. Makes 4-5 servings of sauce.
What’s your favorite pasta sauce?