This colorful and nutritious Vegan Pasta Bake features roasted winter squash plus sautéed onion, kale, and vegan sausage, and an easy vegan béchamel sauce.
With the weather FINALLY cooling off here in Asheville, I've had a rush of oven-baked things on my mind: cookies, roasted butternut soup, savory bread pudding, apple layer cake and baked ziti to name a few.
It was the baked ziti and some adorable honeynut squash hanging out on the kitchen counter that inspired this Vegan Pasta Bake with Sausage, Squash and Kale.
This baked pasta dish is warm and comforting in all the ways you want fall food to be but is still relatively light.
It has a few tablespoons of vegan butter in the béchamel, but considering that it's divided among 6+ servings, you can see what I mean by "relatively light." Plus, the virtuous kale, onion, and squash bring a satisfying amount of redemption.
I've tried honeynut and butternut squash in this dish, and both are delicious.
Other Ways You Can Customize This Vegan Pasta Bake:
- Make it gluten-free by substituting gluten-free flour mix for the all-purpose flour in the béchamel and using bean pasta or other gluten-free pasta of choice. Since most vegan sausages contain gluten, substitute beans and/or tempeh, adding spices typically found in Italian sausage, or make your own gluten-free sausage.
- Make it oil-free by omitting the oil used in the roasting and sautéing steps and replacing the béchamel with a cashew cheese sauce. Or go even lighter by using a creamy blend of silken tofu and milk. Salt and season as desired.
- Add vegan cheese to the béchamel to amp up the richness.
- Add fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, or rosemary.
- Add cooked beans to give it more heft.
Don't be afraid to get creative!
One disclaimer... this isn't a quick and easy, one-bowl sort of dish. It dirties a decent amount of dishes and involves more than just a few steps. But sometimes it's nice to get into the kitchen and cook something that feels a little special, right? If you're cooking for one or two, you'll have leftovers for the week! But this dish would also be a good option for a potluck or holiday party.
I hope you enjoy this versatile, fall-inspired Vegan Pasta Bake with Sausage, Squash and Kale. If you try it, be sure to leave a comment below, rate the recipe, or tag a photo @myquietkitchen on instagram to show off your dish!
More vegan pasta dishes:
Vegan Pasta Bake With Sausage, Squash and Kale
For the roasted squash:
- 1 small butternut squash or two honeynut, peeled, seeds removed, cut into half inch cubes (should yield 2 to 3 cups)
- 1 tsp oil
- pinch of salt
For the sauté:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 links vegan Italian sausage, diced or sliced into half moons
For the béchamel:
- 4 Tbsp vegan butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ cups unsweetened, plain plant milk, such as soy, warmed
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of ground nutmeg
Pasta plus breadcrumb topping:
- 1 pound dried pasta, such as pipe rigate, farfalle, ziti, fusilli or shells
- 4 slices baguette, cut into cubes (should yield 1 to 1 ½ cups cubes)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
Roast the squash:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Toss the squash with the oil and salt and spread it in a single layer on prepared pan. Roast 30 to 35 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Begin the next step while the squash bakes. Keep oven on at 400 degrees.
Sauté the veggies and sausage:
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and onion to the pan. Stirring occasionally, cook 5 to 7 minutes or until softened.
- Add the sausage. Stirring occasionally, cook 3 to 5 minutes or until hot. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the kale and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until kale is dark green and softened. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Make the béchamel sauce and cook the pasta:
- Fill a large pot with salted water. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain in a colander.
- Preheat the same pan used to saute the veggies over medium heat. Warm the milk in the microwave or separate sauce pan.
- Once the saute pan is hot, add the butter. As soon as the butter is melted whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in warm milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stirring, cook at a low simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Don't be concerned if a skin forms on top. Stirring again will smooth it out.
- Lightly oil a 9x13 casserole dish. Pour about ¾ of the pasta into the dish. Add the kale mixture and squash. Pour béchamel over the top and carefully stir to combine. Depending on space, add some or all of the remaining pasta. Stir again so that everything is coated with sauce.
- Pulse the cubed bread in a high-speed blender or food processor until you have fairly uniform crumbs. Add olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt and pulse a few more times to combine. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the pasta and bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and slightly toasted on top.
vegetable peeler and a good knife
9x13 casserole dish
large saute pan
pot for cooking pasta
blender or food processor (if making your own bread crumbs) Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.