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RECIPE FOR HEALTH: Cheesy Smoky Butternut Squash Pasta

In The Vegiterranean Diet (Da Capo 2014), IDEA presenter Julieanna Heaver, MS, RD, combines the best of the Mediterranean and vegan diets to maximize the benefit for both health and the environment. She has stripped out calorie-dense oils and animal products and kept focus on whole, healthy, plant-based foods in the more than 60 recipes in the book.

“Nothing feels more like comfort food than pasta smothered in a warm, creamy, cheesy sauce and tossed with some sweet, hearty, lightly cooked broccoli,” Heaver says. “This quickly became a favorite in our home and, thankfully, frozen butternut squash is available so this dish can be enjoyed throughout the seasons.”

1 1⁄2 C chopped butternut squash, raw
1 (12 oz) package dry pasta (e.g., rigatoni, penne, macaroni or spirals)
1 1⁄2 C raw broccoli florets 3⁄4 C unsweetened almond, soy or other plant milk
1⁄2 C raw cashews, soaked
and drained, or hemp seeds
1⁄2 C nutritional yeast
2 T freshly squeezed lemon
juice with zest 1 T tamari
1⁄2 to 3⁄4 t ground chipotle powder

Recipe Key: T = tablespoon | t = teaspoon | C = cup | oz = ounce

Preheat oven to 375° Farenheit. On a baking pan, roast the squash until dark brown and bubbling (about 20 minutes). Fill a large pot three-quarters full of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add pasta and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until pasta is soft, 20–30 minutes. Before draining, add fresh broccoli florets and allow to wilt, 2–4 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, purée the squash, almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and zest, tamari and chiopotle powder in a blender until smooth, 10–20 seconds. Pour the squash sauce over the pasta and the broccoli, and stir to combine. Serve warm. Makes four to six servings.

Source: Reprinted with permission from The Vegiterranean Diet (DaCapo 2014).

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