This is delicious and really filling. It's comforting and pretty healthy at the same time. I added most of the vegetables raw, but you can cook them a little before if you want. I would've loved to have put this salad in a casserole dish, topped it with breadcrumbs, and baked it in the oven. I just didn't have the time. Needless to say, that's another option as well.
Get creative with this and add whatever veggies you like the most. I think broccoli would compliment this perfectly, and if you're going to cook the veggies, onions and garlic would add a whole new layer of flavor.
1 box macaroni or rotini, cooked
|"Cheesy" Goodness :)|
1 (15 oz.) can black-eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or sliced (I ran out, so I didn't use them, but I recommend them!)
1 cup kale
2/3 cup portabello mushrooms, diced
2/3 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (Optional - use less for less fat)
1 tbsp. tahini
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Dash of salt (to taste)
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes (if the squash is already roasted), 60 to 90 minutes if you have to roast the squash.
1. If you haven't roasted the squash yet, cut it in half, removed the seeds, spray it with oil, and place it on a baking sheet. Bake it at 400 until it's very soft, about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on its size. Once it has cooled enough to touch, scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the squash.
2. Cook the pasta according to pasta directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Steam the kale in a wire colander over a saucepan with 2/3 cup boiling water.
4. Next, add the butternut squash, almond milk, Earth Balance, tahini, salt, and nutritional yeast to your food processor. Process the mixture until it's smooth and creamy.
5. Add the mixture to a medium saucepan, and heat on medium heat until the Earth Balance is melted and the flavors have soaked in a little, 7 to 10 minutes.
6. Once the pasta is ready, mix the squash/"cheese" mixture in with the pasta. Mix in the black-eye peas, bell pepper, mushroom, yellow squash, kale, and grape tomatoes.
|For dinner, I added homemade vegan mozzarella and more butternut squash.|