When heavy meals, desserts, food-filled family gatherings, and social events fill up my agenda, I like to “detox” at home with lighter, vegetarian meals. However, in the fall and winter months, I still crave warm and comforting flavors, so I turn to vegetables like winter squash. I love squash for not only its flavor and nutrient profile, but also it’s ability to satisfy without weighing me down. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked, cubed butternut squash (1/2 lb!) contains just 82 calories? And I challenge you to eat more than this with a meal … that stuff is filling!
The vegan recipe below from Betsy DiJulio fits the bill perfectly for a light, but comforting cold weather meal. It places the squash in center stage, but surrounds this nutritional powerhouse with several seasonal supporting flavors, from a touch of maple syrup to a generous infusion of fresh and rubbed sage.
According to Betsy, “This light recipe places golden squash center stage and uses just enough pasta to hold the dish together. I recommend using whole wheat pasta, as its nuttiness contributes significantly to the distinctive flavor of this dish.”
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
- 1 Pound Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
- Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
- 1 Yellow Onion, halved and cut into ¼-inch slices
- ¼ Cup White Wine
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons Rubbed Sage
- 4 Ounces Whole Wheat Fettuccine (or pasta of choice; use gluten-free pasta for gluten-free)
- 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Fresh Sage Leaves, optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, sprinkle with salt, and cook for 5 minutes. Don’t worry if the squash starts to break apart.
- Add the vegetable stock and cook, still stirring gently until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 7 minutes.
- Add the onion and season with a little more salt. Cook until the onion begins to soften, 3 minutes.
- Add the wine, and cook until moisture is almost evaporated and mixture is caramelized.
- Stir in the maple syrup, vinegar, and sage. Keep warm.
- Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the hot pot.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste; toss to combine.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the pasta and toss again to combine.
- Serve hot garnished with fresh sage leaves, if using.