Is it me or is it seriously getting colder outside? I am starting to get all my casserole dishes to the front of the cupboards now, so warm hearty dinners can be put together. Wanting to take full advantage of all that lovely seasonal veg I dug out an old recipe I have for Vegetarian Butternut Squash Tomato Pasta Bake and wanted to share it with you guys. It’s seasonal, easy to put together and can easily be enjoyed by a family of 4 or eaten over a few days.
As you can see this dish is not only bursting with goodness and flavour but its also really colourful. And I don’t know about you but colourful food always tastes better to me. Its packed full of healthy things like butternut squash, tomatoes, red onion, black eyed beans, garlic, herbs and whole wheat pasta. And a cheeky dash of half fat mozzarella (vegetarian of course)
There are a couple of steps to this dish, but they are nothing complicated. First you need to prep your butternut squash. Which is simply just peeling it, scooping out the seeds and cutting it into chunks. Placing it on a baking sheet, drizzling a little oil over it seasoning it with a good pinch of salt and pepper and roasting it for 20 minutes.
Why do this? Simple, it softens the butternut squash considerably because if you put it straight into the bake it would take forever to soften so you could actually eat it. This way its part cooked already and it helps to sweeten up the veg as well. Its a real win win and worth doing.
While this is roasting away you will need to prep your onion by slicing it up and on a low heat in a little oil allow it to soften and sweeten up nicely and by adding in the garlic towards the end of this step will help release the garlics full flavour. You then add in the almost everything else, the black eyed beans, tinned tomatoes, herbs and a little seasoning and hey presto you have your base sauce ready.
You will also need to part boil your pasta until it is al dente, usually around the 8 minute mark. Then you pour everything into your casserole dish mix it all around, stuff a little cheese into it and pop it into the oven.
This may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. The tomatoes and beans come out of a can the onion and garlic only take a minute to prep and the herbs take seconds to chop up and the pasta just needs to be popped into boiling water. All this can be done while the butternut squash is roasting away in the oven.
I have made this a few times recently and its all in the oven within 25 minutes. In less then an hour you will have a heathy nutritional tasty meal on the table for your family. And half of this time is inactive time you can spend with your feet up!
If you are not in a family of 4, don’t worry neither am I. This reheats really well the next day for your evening meal. And its also really nice cold for lunch. So there is no reason for any of this to go to waste. It’s hard to half the ingredients as butternut squashes, even small ones produce quite a bit of flesh.
You could easily make this gluten free by using pasta that is certified gluten free and you can easily make this vegan by removing the mozzarella. Just a quick note on the mozzarella, the one I buy is vegetarian not all mozzarella is check your labels if this is an issue for you or someone you are cooking for.
This Vegetarian Butternut Squash Tomato Pasta Bake is the perfect dish to beat back the cold with, snuggle up with a bowl of this while reading a chapter of your book. Heaven!
- 1 small to medium butternut squash - peeled & diced
- 8 Tablespoons oil - divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium red onion - chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic - crushed/minced
- 300 grams tinned black eyed beans (1 and ¼ cups cooked)
- 390 grams tinned chopped tomatoes (1 and ½ cups)
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped oregano
- ½ teaspoon rosemary
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 200 grams whole wheat pasta (2 and ½ cups)
- 125 grams Vegetarian mozzarella (4 ounces)
- Turn your oven on to 200C / 400F / Gas mark 6 and get a medium to large roasting sheet at the ready.
- Peel the butternut squash and scoop out its seeds. Dice the remaining flesh into cubes around an inch in size. Drizzle 5 tablespoons of the oil over it and the salt and pepper.
- Roast it in the oven for 20 minutes.
- While that is roasting, place 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and place it on a medium low heat.
- Peel and slice your onion placing it in the pan, on a low heat allow it to soften and sweeten. You don't want to fry the onion just allow it to cook in that warm oil for about 8 minutes.
- Put a medium pan of water on a high heat to look your pasta. Once the water is boiling add in the pasta and cook it for 2 minutes less then the packet says. Usually around the 8 minute mark.
- Add the crushed garlic cloves to the onions and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta when the time is up and pour it into your large casserole dish (at least 2.5 litres).
- Add in the tinned black eyed beans and tinned tomatoes to your onions and heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add the herbs, salt and pepper into the onion tomato mix cook for a further minute.
- Take the butternut squash out of the oven when the time is up but leave the oven on and add it to the pasta in your casserole dish.
- Pour the onion tomato mix into your casserole dish and give everything a good stir.
- Tear up your vegetarian mozzarella over the top, give it a gentle stir to mix it in. Pop the top on your dish and pop it in your already hot oven for 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Then take the lid off and give it a further 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- If you have left overs allow it to cool to room temperature then cover and keep it in the fridge. To reheat it use either the oven or microwave. Eat any leftovers by the 3rd day.