Nothing puts me in the fall mood quite like leeks. These earthy, oniony vegetables have a way of reminding me of feeling cozy and content. This Warm Fall Pasta Salad with Butternut Squash & Leeks not only features leeks but also butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and kale. With all of this cool weather produce coupled with pasta, this dish makes a lovely warming meal or side dish. I made a big pot that we enjoyed for dinner–and I know we’ll welcome the leftovers for our next lunch!
Feel free to sub in seasonal produce–other types of squash, sweet potato, etc. The produce in this dish would also combine well with a grain of your choice like quinoa, brown rice, or one of my favorites, farro! I hope you enjoy this colorful, comforting fall pasta salad.
Warm Fall Pasta Salad With Butternut Squash & Leeks
- 1 box pasta of your choice
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 3 leeks, white parts cut into thin strips
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed
- 2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard
- 2 cups shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- shredded vegan cheese to taste (optional)
1. In a sauté pan, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onions plus a pinch of salt. Stir to make sure the onions and leeks are evenly coated in olive oil.
2. After about five minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, add the butternut squash cubes, adding another splash of oil if necessary. Allow the cubes to brown and the onion and leeks to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package instructions.
4. Add remaining vegetables to pan with leeks and onions: Brussels sprouts, kale or chard, carrots, and garlic. Stir occasionally until greens begin to wilt, about 5-10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare balsamic vinegar reduction in a small saucepan. Add balsamic vinegar and coconut nectar (or liquid sweetener of your choice). Set heat to high and bring to a boil, being careful not to inhale the fumes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until you have a viscous liquid. Remove from heat.
6. Drain pasta and return to empty pot. Stir in sautéed vegetables and shredded vegan cheese, if using. Plate pasta salad and drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction. Enjoy!
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell