When the seasons change, I feel the excitement of things feeling new again. Fall brings the cool crisp air, the wind in the trees, leaves littering the sidewalks and a new batch of seasonal veggies and products at the market. Of course, since we are now immersed in fall - pumpkins are everywhere. For a long period in my life, I equated pumpkin with sweetness - pumpkin pie (and tons of cool whip!), pumpkin spice latte (whip cream!) , pumpkin ice cream (why not - whip cream!)... you know how it is. Lately I find myself craving pumpkin and other members of the squash family in a more savory way.
As I was strolling through Trader Joes last week, I saw canned pumpkin, red lentil pasta and coconut milk and I could taste the dish in my mind. Experimenting in the kitchen is a fun way to put flavors together and the beauty of plant based cooking is - you can usually make it work even if it turns out totally different than you imagined. In fact, as I started preparing this dish, I thought it was more soupy than I wanted it to be, but it thickened up with cooking. I also wasn't sure about the pasta, the red lentil penne remains quite al dente, even after cooking a bit longer than the package recommended. It also took me a moment to adjust the seasonings as I often use coconut milk in spicy curries over rice, and with this dish I was incorporating some traditionally American fall flavors by using the poultry seasoning (don't worry, it's vegan) and sage.
When it came down to eating this creation, I was quite happy with how it turned out and I was astonished when my omnivorous husband kept going back for more. I will make this again with wheat penne to compare the texture and I also think this would be a good sauce with tofu or chickpeas added for protein and served over rice.
Having canned and dry goods like these on hand with some fresh veggies means you can put together a simple meal with relatively little prep and still feel inspired by the season. Try my Creamy Pumpkin Pasta and let me know what you think.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.