Vegan’s Heavenly Bake Butternut Pasta

With Kale & Pumpkin Seed Crumble

Vegan comfort food to the max. This Butternut Squash Pasta Bake is a great weeknight meal dinner! It’s loaded with protein, has a divine butternut squash pasta sauce and tastes absolutely delicious!

This is basically another vegan mac and “cheese” recipe, in that it’s rich and creamy and has that look about it, and it’s based on that same recipe. But really, this isn’t about the cheese or anything that tastes like it. It’s all about the glorious butternut taste and its ability to transform into a velvety sauce that oozes into every nook and tunnel that the penne pasta throws at it.

Creamy Butternut Pasta Bake

Nicole Kearsley
A satisfying, creamy, crave-worthy baked pasta that would still be delicious without (most of) the cheese. Nailed it!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Vegan
Servings 4 Servings


  • 8 ounce Butternut Squash Cubes
  • 1/4 cup Cashews
  • 6 ounce Kale
  • 6 ounce Fusili Pasta
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 6 ounce Mushroom Sliced


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, stopping 1 to 2 minutes short of the recommended cooking time so that the pasta is nice and al dente. Once the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain, return to pot and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce. Set a small saucepan over medium heat. Place the butternut squash cubes and cover with 1-inch water. Boil until fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, then drain.
  • Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with 2/3 cup hot tap water. Destem the kale and roughly chop the leaves.
  • Add the cashews along with their soaking liquid and the reserved 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the (now empty) blender. Add the remaining nutritional yeast, cooked butternut squash, garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper. Blend butternut sauce until smooth.
  • Return the (now empty) large pot to medium-high heat with 2 tsp olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped kale and mushroom, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Cook until slightly wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Return the fusilli to the pot along with the butternut sauce and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the creamy butternut pasta into an 8×8 baking dish. Bake the dish at 350 °F (177 °C) for 15 minutes.
  • Set the oven to broil on high. Sprinkle with the pepita parmesan and broil in the oven until lightly browned about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges. Scoop onto plates and serve with lemon wedges, enjoy!


MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Simply use your favorite gluten-free noodles.
MAKE IT AHEAD: You can make this dish ahead and refrigerate it — just add about 10 minutes to the baking time.
*BUTTERNUT SQUASH: For more flavor, roast the butternut squash in the oven rather than boiling it, and the best thing is that you don’t have to stand over the stove watching it.
Keyword plant based, vegan
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