Who else is ready for a healthy, non-turkey meal? After my fourth Thanksgiving of the year on Thanksgiving day, it is safe to say I am turkey-ed out. I LOVE Thanksgiving food, but enough is enough. Enter this creamy butternut squash kale pasta! You’d never guess it was healthy. There’s actually no milk or cream in it! And just a little parm! I’m obsessed.
The secret to this creamy pasta is cashews! When blended with the butternut squash, they create the creamiest, most decadent sauce that you’d never guess was void of the good stuff. Like heavy cream. I’m definitely not against using it in my cooking, but sometimes you just want something a little lighter and healthier.
Especially after eating pounds of straight carbs for days. So. much. stuffing. and bread. and potatoes. Super fun, but leaves you feeling a tiiiiny bit sluggish.
I mean, look at how creamy that sauce is?! I can’t even tell you how delicious it is! Cashews amaze me with their creamy magic.
This sauce is super simple too. You just sauté onion, garlic, and butternut squash, then you add chicken stock, cashews, and some herbs, and cook until the squash is soft. Then, you blend it up with some parm, and that’s it! I couldn’t stop eating it with a spoon.
For the kale, you just simple sauté it with olive oil and garlic, and then mix everything together.
You could totally do this with spinach instead of kale, or add more veggies! As soon as I made this, I immediately thought about how delicious it would be with some sautéed portobello or cremini mushrooms added in!
Hello new favorite weeknight meal!
Creamy Butternut Squash Kale Pasta with Cashew Sauce
This butternut squash kale pasta is made creamy with cashews instead of milk or cream! It's super healthy and feels so decadent. Perfect for weeknights!
- 1 pound of your favorite pasta, cooked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 5 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup cashews
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1 large head kale, de-stemmed and chopped
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, half of the garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, reducing the heat to medium if the onions and garlic start to brown. Add the butternut squash and sauté for 4-5 minutes until everything starts to get a little golden.
Add the chicken broth, cashew, and Italian herbs and stir. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium/medium-high and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash starts to break down. Let cool for several minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add the remaining garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the kale and sauté for a few minutes or until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Once squash mixture has cooled for several minutes, transfer to a blender and add the parmesan. Blend until creamy and smooth. Be very careful when blending hot liquids. They expand from the steam!
Add the cooked pasta to the pot, then add the kale and desired amount of sauce (you will have a little extra). Stir to combine and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve with extra parmesan!
Made this dish, and it was a big hit! I omitted the red pepper flakes for my own dietary needs, but it still was delicious. The kale is a great add. Definitely will make it again. Thank you!
Spices in My DNA
So glad to hear that, Elle! Thank you so much!