Creamy (vegan!) Butternut Squash Linguine with Fried Sage

Creamy (vegan!) butternut squash linguine with fried sage -

Cookie and I have been visiting the vet three times a week lately. We don’t mind the excursion. The girls behind the desk are fun to be around and Cookie loves the attention. She has quickly become a staff favorite (of course!). It’s also a prime spot for people watching. I always feel like I’m experiencing that 101 Dalmations scene where all of the dogs match their owners, remember that one?

The manly men bring in their 80-pound manly-man breeds who shake their heads like lions. Eccentrically dressed older ladies wait with their dachshunds and shaggy little dogs. A beautiful, elegant blond woman picks up her equally elegant and blond mystery breed. The lady with a high-pitched voice and nervous laugh tells me about her rat terrier. I suppose Cookie and I match, too. I will shamelessly admit that we both have great hair and it doesn’t hurt that I’m always dressed in black or gray.

butternut and sage

During the more dull moments, I’ve spent a fair amount of time flipping through Instagram photos and glancing at the heart worm brochures on the side table. I grabbed the February issue of Bon Appetit before I left for our last appointment so I would have something to read while I waited. I’m glad I did, because I was reminded of the butternut squash carbonara that I had dog-eared earlier.

cooked butternut and linguine

Their recipe called for pancetta and chicken broth, but I knew I could easily make it vegetarian and amp up the flavor with spices. The cooking technique is what really caught my eye—basically, you make a butternut purée while you cook pasta, then marry the two together in a warm pan with the help of some starchy reserved pasta cooking water. Genius, right? It’s even easier to make than the béchamel that I made for my pumpkin fettuccine alfredo.

The best part is that the puréed squash is rich and luxuriously creamy without any cream at all. I also used whole grain pasta, which further prevented the steamroller after-effects of eating a giant bowl of creamy carbs. Make this before the weather warms up! We have a few more weeks to go before everything turns green again.

butternut pureebutternut squash puree with linguineCreamy (vegan!) butternut squash linguine with fried sage recipe - cookieandkate.comSuper creamy (vegan) butternut squash linguine with fried sage -

4.9 from 14 reviews
Creamy (vegan!) Butternut Squash Linguine with Fried Sage
Spiced and creamy (yet cream-less) butternut squash sauce tossed with whole grain linguine. Top with fried sage for a healthy, comforting main dish. Serve with salad or roasted vegetables to further lighten up the meal.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 pound butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (up to ¼ teaspoon for spicier pasta sauce)
  • Sea salt and/or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 12 ounces whole grain linguine or fettucine
  • Optional additional garnishes: shaved Parmesan or Pecorino and/or smoked salt
  1. Heat oil in a large (read: 12 inch) skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sage and toss to coat. Let the sage get crispy before transferring it to a small bowl. Sprinkle it lightly with sea salt and set the bowl aside.
  2. Add squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  4. Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Reserve the skillet. Purée the mixture until smooth (beware of hot steam escaping from the top of the blender), then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine pasta, squash purée and ¼ cup cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Serve pasta topped with fried sage, more black pepper and shaved Parmesan/Pecorino and/or smoked salt, if desired.
  • Adapted from Bon Appetit's Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage (February 2014).
  • Recipe yields 4 large servings.
  • The squash purée is a killer bisque, which you could thin with vegetable broth if you’d like. You could also stir it into risotto at the end of cooking.
  • Make it vegan: skip the cheese garnish.
  • Make it gluten-free: use gluten-free pasta. Commenter Jenn recommends corn and quinoa blended gluten-free pasta, which is firmer than brown rice pasta.

P.s. I’m late in telling you that Foodie’s latest app, Dinner For Two, is now available for download (for free!) here.


  1. says

    I love the way you describe your trips to the vet – I don’t mind them either! They’re definitely interesting. I love the look of this meal! I’ve made a few pasta dishes with squash, but this looks like a keeper! Have a great weekend :)

  2. says

    Kate this looks amazing! These photos are beautiful and I love the that you used linguine. I can just imagine twirling it around on my fork right now. Soooo so creamy and delicious! I love a vegetarian meal that meat eaters would love as well. Pinned.

    • says

      Hi, I’m sorry I didn’t include the number of servings in the recipe. (Just added them.) The pasta recipe yields enough for at least 4, more if you’re serving it with salad or additional prepared vegetables.

  3. says

    Oh gosh this sounds good! The b-nut is my fave squash by far because it’s so versatile – sweet, savoury, you name it – it always works! I had to laugh about your dogs looking like owners comment, because it is SO true. And about Bon Appetit – I’ve been following them on Twitter for ages but only just started browsing the site – I don’t know what took me so long! Such amazing recipe inspiration over there. Have a great weekend! :)

  4. says

    Just lately I’ve been grabbing old copies of food magazines to read on my morning commute and I love it … dreaming about food before I get to work and have to launch myself into the day. I love the fact that this is healthy comfort food … and so simple, too. I’m pinning this for later!

  5. says

    Woohoo now I know what’s for lunch tomorrow. I just need to buy the squash, but then I have some wilting sage so it makes perfect sense. I mean, sage can’t go to waste. Thanks! I hope Cookie’s fine. Have a nice day :)

  6. says

    That looks wonderful. I am fancying it with spinach too. This is my first visit to your blog. I found you on a top 50 veggie blogs list, but funnily enough I glance down at your next post and realised I repinned it yesterday. Huh! Adding you to my blog list as we speak :)

  7. says

    Cookie is probably one of the few dogs who LIKES going to the vet lol…but I guess she’s gotten used to it!

    This creamy butternut sauce sounds pretty dreamy!

  8. says

    This looks fantastic. I’ll have to make it once I have a blender. (Someday!) It’s wonderful to hear that Cookie’s doing well. I hope she makes a full recovery soon.