A closeup of creamy butternut squash rotini served in a bowl

Creamy Butternut Squash Rotini

This roasted butternut squash rotini pasta dish is warm, creamy, delicious, and oh-so-nice! If you’re looking for a yummy vegan pasta dish, here ya go! 🙂

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In case any of you weren’t aware…I love food. All types! But I’ve got to admit, nothing makes me happier than a warm serving of comfort food.

Here in Central Florida, we have been experiencing a “Winter” all weekend, with temperatures dipping down to the ‘40s (Fahrenheit)! Yes northerners, laugh all you want. But don’t come complaining to me, once you decide to move down here, and then eventually complain about our frigid 40 degree weather!!!

As many of you know, my husband and I try to eat as locally and seasonally as we can. Luckily, we have had some great produce shares from Steed Farm, our local Community-Supported Agricultural system (also known as CSAs). Among this week’s most recent share of seasonal goodies, we received a very large, 5 pound choctaw squash. Now-I know what you’re thinking. The recipe that I’m about to provide is for butternut squash, yet I used a different variety. Choctaws taste almost exactly like butternut squashes, and are very close cousins. If you do not have access to butternut squash in your area, please feel free to opt for choctaw-vice/versa. Trust me when I say that once I saw that beautiful squash, my taste buds became very happy.

Pieces of chopped butternut squash

After trying to figure out how I was going to prepare this lovely fruit, an ‘A-ha!’ moment came: Why not transform this into a delicious comfort pasta dish? And so I did.

Folks, I would like to present you with this creamy butternut squash rotini recipe. This dish specifically calls for rotini pasta, as it holds its shape and does nicely with absorbing the creamy butternut puree.  While you can technically opt for whatever type of pasta you’d like, I went for pasta enriched with protein. Because the squash (and garlic!) are roasted, this recipe takes slightly over an hour to prepare. But please trust me, it’s well worth your time. While the squash and garlic are roasting, you can even do other things, such as yoga, walking, reading, or catching up on Netflix 😉 -You do you! The moment your fork digs into the rotini which later lands onto the tip of your tongue, your taste buds will feel like you gave them one of the creamiest and most delicious bites of comfort food heaven, ever.

Chunks of roasted butternut squash with the skin

Did I also mention that this specific recipe is vegan and dairy-free? Well, in case I haven’t, now you know!

I can practically hear your stomach grumbling form here…so let’s move onto the recipe, shall we??

Creamy Butternut Squash Rotini

This roasted creamy butternut squash rotini pasta dish is warm, creamy, garlicky, delicious, and oh-so-nice! 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: pasta, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 5 Servings
Calories: 416kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 14 oz. rotini pasta

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whileoven is preheating, carefully cut the squash in half, remove the seeded coreand then cut each of the half pieces, until the squash has been cut into largequarters. Take 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, to lightly grease the bottom ofa large sheet.
  • Take the remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil andgently lather each quarter and place into the tray, skin side up. Place thegarlic bulb into the same tray. Allow to bake for 50-60 minutes, until the skinof each piece can be gently pierced with a fork. Allow to cool down for about 5 minutes.
  • During the last 10 minutes of roasting time,begin to boil a large pot of water. Once water is at a rolling boiling point,lower heat to medium-high, place pasta into water, and allow to cook for 7-9minutes until al-dente. Drain, and then place back into lot, with a cover. Setaside.
  • Once squash has cooled down, gently scoopsoftened squash and garlic, and place into a large food processor. Gently addin the almond milk, salt, pepper, and remaining spices. Puree the mixture for1-2 minutes until the blend has turned into a thick liquid consistency.
  • Once the puree has been created, gently mix intothe pasta until well-combined.
  • (Optional) Add in fresh spinach leaves.
  • Enjoy!

Nutritional Information per serving:

416 calories/ 7.4 grams protein/ 10.5 grams fat/ 76.7 grams carbohydrates/ 11 grams of fiber

*Substitute for any other milk of your choice

**Feel free to rinse, season, lightly oil and bake the seeds at 350 F for about 10-15 minutes, or until crispy!

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Curried chickpea collard wrap split into two

Curried Chickpea Collard Wraps

These curried chickpea collard wraps serve as a delicious way to eat a savory curried dish-on the go!

A while back, I went to my fridge, and was trying to figure out what to do with all of the borderline produce that was about to go bad. After scratching my head, I thought ‘Why not make a curry??’

So I did. If you have not caught on, Curried anything is one of my favorite ways to eat my food. Ther’s something about that combination of spices and creamy consistency you get when you ingest that morsel of goodness.

Back to my story.

I decided to make a curry with some leftover veggies, and added chickpeas for their protein and delicious flavor. I wanted to take it up one step and turn my curried medley into wraps. I realized that I had some leftover collards, so I decided to use the collards as the wrap vessels. Doing so gave this a nice, lower carb bite with a hearty dose of vitamin K. While many boast using lettuce as wraps, I really think that using collards is the way to go. The leaves are large, pliable, and can easily fit a decent amount of food. You just have to make sure that the collards are blanched, and I will guide you through that step in the recipe.

I used a vegan mayo to make this recipe completely plant-based, but you can use whatever type of mayo you want! Don’t have access to dates?? Sub dates for 1 small pear or apple, and that will taste just as mouth-watering!

If you are looking for a simple and delicious way to enjoy chickpeas (and your veggies!), I highly recommend that you give this delicious curried chickpea collard wraps recipe a try. So let’s move onto the recipe!

Curried Chickpea Collard Wraps

These Curried Chickpea Collard Wraps are a delicious way to eat a savory curried dish-on the go!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten-free, vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 275kcal

Equipment

  • Large skillet
  • Large pot

Ingredients

  • 32 oz. can of chickpeas drained
  • 1 carrot large
  • 1 onion medium
  • 2 dates finely minced
  • 4 collard green leaves large
  • 2 tbsop. cooking oil

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. curry seasoning

Instructions

  • Prepping collard leaves-Allow large pot of water to boil. While boiling water, afterrinsing collards, gently remove stalks from center of collard leaves. Oncewater is at a rolling boil, gently place collard leaves and Blanche for 30seconds. Immediately remove, place in ice cold water for 25-30 minutes, oruntil collard leaves have softened. Pat down with clean towel, and set aside.
  • Finelydice the onion and carrot until there are 1/4” cubes. Set aside
  • Take askillet and preheat and add the cooking oil to the skillet.
  • Oncethe skillet is warm enough, add all of the ingredients (except mayonnaise andchickpeas) together, and sauté on medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes,until the carrot/onion mixture has some light golden brown charring. Add thechickpeas during the last 4 minutes of the sautéing.
  • Once the chickpea mixture has finished sautéing, turn off skillet & remove fromheat. After cooling off for about 2 minutes, add in the veganaise, and mixwell. Serve over your favorite type of bread (or wrap/ or leafy green wrap!)and enjoy!!

Nutritional information per serving (without bread):

275g calories/ 9.8g protein/12g fat/35g carbs/ 10g fiber

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Smiling woman in front of a plate of spicy honey-baked chicken thighs

Spicy Honey-Baked Chicken Thighs

These spicy honey-baked chicken thighs are a beautiful dance filled with sweet, bold, and juicy flavors that you and your family will love!

A plate filled with spicy honey-baked chicken thighs
Spicy honey-baked chicken thighs

You may be similar to me in the sense that you do the best you can in order to consume ethically-sourced food, as often as humanly possible. This could include sourcing your veggies from a community garden, or making your own batches of vegan ice cream. Others, including myself, have been on a quest to find ethically-sourced meats.

Is that even possible?

While this specific question can certainly be seen as controversial, and filled with arguments from the sides of vegans and omnivores, I would like to take the argument and say ‘Yes!’ It is possible to find ethically-sourced meat.  The key is to find sources of meat that come from local, small-scale farmers. As an alternative to environmentally-degrading factory farm systems, there are many small-scale farmers what are intentional about raise their livestock in a free-range manner, free of any use of antibiotics or added growth hormones. Many of these farmers work to ensure that the animals are not only provided with ample space, but are raised with dignity.

Local Meat FTW

I recently had the opportunity to befriend John Roberts, the owner of Olivor Farms, a small-scale livestock operation based out of Dover, Florida.  John and his wife Chrysti raise free-range chickens and grass-finished beef cows on open pastures around the Dover area. This couple and their brand truly believe in the importance of transparency and honesty. I wrote a recent Farm to Spork feature about Olivor Farms, which can be accessed here.

Spicy honey-baked chicken thighs fresh out of the oven
Spicy honey-baked chicken thighs fresh out of the oven

After interviewing John, I knew that I had to try some of their chicken, for myself. And let me tell you…it’s delicious and worth every penny.  Being that I absolutely love eating dark meat, I developed a mouth-watering recipe that I believe you and your family will enjoy.

The Verdict?

The thighs turned out absolutely juicy, and had a lovely tangy-spigy-sweet flavor. But in my opinion, the heat was very tolerable, and not at-all unpleasant. I sourced the particular spicy honey that I used for this recipe from The Corner Store, a Plant City café and natural goods market that specializes in the sale of gourmet, organic, and locally-sourced items. If you have sensitivity to heat, you can definitely opt for a milder honey!

Describing the baked chicken sure is making me hungry…let’s move onto the recipe!


Spicy Honey-baked Chicken Thighs

These spicy honey-baked chicken thighs are a beautiful dance filled with sweet, bold, and juicy flavors that you and your family will love!
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 462kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 raw chicken thighs with skin

Spices

  • 2 tbsp. spicy honey
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. yellow mustard

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the entire set of spicesby whisking with a fork until well-blended. Gently puncture each of the thighswith a fork until there are several small holes in each piece. Place each thigh in large bowl and gently mix marinade into chicken until each thigh iswell-coated. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes-overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once oven has finished pre-heating, take a onoven-safe casserole dish, lightly grease the bottom of it, and place thechicken thighs in the dish. Allow to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until thejuices run clear. If you have a food thermometer, the internal temperatureshould be at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Allow chicken thighs to cool for at least 5 minutes, and enjoy!

Video

Nutritional Information per serving:

462 calories/ 32.14 grams protein/ 32.24 grams fat/ 9.6 grams carbohydrates/ .3 grams of fiber

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