When I think of island vacation getaways, I think of coconuts. When I think of winter comfort cooking, my mind goes to butternut squash. So why not combine the two?
Oh yes I did.
The base of the dish was made and then frozen nearly a month ago…back when my friend gave me two cases of butternut squash.
I used the slow cooker, adding an entire butternut squash (cubed) and a box of Vita Coco coconut water and leaving it alone for 4 hours to do it’s thang.
Before and after.
Then I tupperwared it up, threw it in the freezer, and forgot about it for a few months.
Cut to the other day…
I took the coconut squash out of the freezer and submerged it in a warm water bath in the sink to thaw. When it had reached a semi-liquefied state, I put it in the slower cooker to both finish thawing and start cooking.
After a couple of hours the formerly cubed squash chunks started to puree on their own from simply being cooked for so long.
At this point I added in a can of chickpeas and 1/2 cup coconut flour and let it cook for another hour. The flour thickened up the squash and absorbed the excess liquid perfectly.
Had I planned ahead (or known where I was going with the dish), I would have cooked the pasta in the crock-pot, too. Oh well.
I cooked them separately, then combined them in a casserole dish afterwards.
Coconut & Butternut Pasta Casserole
- 1 butternut squash, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup pasta shells (dry)
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- salt (to taste)
*note: I may add in broccoli next time for a contrasting color/texture
This pasta bake was a surprising success. Most casseroles use cheese to hold the ingredients together, but in this case, the butternut squash did the trick.
Kyle was the first to dig in, taking a little scoop before heading off to a dinner meeting. He doesn’t even like squash on it’s own, and he liked the dish so that says a lot.
The squash almost seems cheesy (a good way to sneak in veggies for those who may have trouble fitting in all the recommended servings). Plus, the healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber of squash certainly trumps the nutritional profile of cheese. When combined with chickpeas and durum wheat shells, the stats of this vegan dish are beyond impressive – all macronutrients accounted for.
I served my portion up alongside a spinach and Bragg’s salad.
The subtle coconut notes were the best part of the dish. Seriously yum. I had a second serving that was even more generous than my first. I’m pretty sure this is the perfect way to ring in spring.
Before I go, I wanted to spread the word about a donation rally raising funds for the American Red Cross’ Japan-related relief efforts. The Blogging for a Change Donation Rally will be going all week and 100% of of proceeds will go straight to the Red Cross to help Japan rebuild!