Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens

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It was a rollercoaster of a week.

On Friday, I shipped my huge bundle of book edits back to New York. A definite high point this year. Strangely, I enjoyed the meticulous process of sifting through each chapter line by line. By the time I finished almost every page was scribbled with red ink and I squeezed in a few photo re-shoots too. I lived and breathed that document day and night, as you might have guessed from my blog absence. After a few curse words at the Staples print & copy centre (never underestimate how many times a multi-thousand dollar printer will jam…), I even printed my own copy should anything happen to the one in the mail. You will not get me this time, postal service!

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Naturally, I went straight to the grocery store and bought some cheesy kale chips and a dark chocolate bar to celebrate. Living. it. up.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, we found the house of our dreams last week. We’ve been looking for almost a year now. It almost felt too good to be true and I barely slept all week. This house has everything on our list with several renovation projects for us to tackle in the future. Everything felt like it was falling into place after a challenging year. We’ve been dealing with some rental issues lately and we’re just ready to move on and settle down. Plant roots. Build another vegetable garden. Storage space! This house was the one, we were certain. I’m a bit superstitious, so I didn’t even tell my family about it because I didn’t want to jinx it.

Well.

We lost the house. It was scooped up by a higher bidder. Nothing new in this hot housing market, but it’s still tough to swallow when you get your heart set on something. We had already spent a few days planning and preparing ourselves for a quick move, taking measurements, dreaming, the whole shebang, and then it was all over just like that. I went from cloud nine to feeling rejected and defeated all within a few hours. Back to square one.

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I tried to cheer us up by playing the “let’s list all the things we don’t like about the house” game. A solid effort, but we weren’t fooling anybody. Love is blind.

This dish, on the other hand, was just what we needed – a hug in a bowl, and a reminder that time heals all wounds. So what if I burned the broccoli to a crisp and overcooked the pasta. It was still major comfort food when nothing else seemed to help. Plus, I discovered that over-cooked crispy broccoli tastes a lot like kale chips. Yes, I ate every one straight off the pan. Weird, but good.

In the end, I realized that nothing good ever comes out of a full moon eclipse, especially if you happen to be pms-ing. Unless of course this meal is the end result. Then it’s not a total loss.

Onward and upward, keep the faith, may better things come to those who wait, and all that cliché jazz… :)

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Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

By

4.6 from 8 reviews
print icon   Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens

This recipe is adapted from my Butternut Squash Mac and Cheeze recipe from 2011. While the former version is a huge hit on the blog, some of you didn't like how sweet the sauce is. I've been playing around with this recipe every time I make it. This version I'm sharing today is still quite sweet thanks to the butternut squash and cashews, but I've tried to balance it out better with some smoky seasonings like liquid smoke, chili powder, smoked paprika, and some hot sauce for a kick and more depth of flavour. It's a big hit in this house. Feel free to adjust the various seasonings to taste. This sauce is also great heated up and poured over roasted vegetables and brown rice. Use it any way you see fit! I think you'll be surprised by how creamy and satisfying it is all without a lick of butter or oil.

Yield
4-6
Prep Time
Cook time
Total Time

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 1 (3.5-4 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (or two (450g) packages chopped squash)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 (450g) package mini shell or macaroni pasta (use gluten-free, if desired)
  • roasted broccoli or sauteed kale leaves, to stir into pasta

Directions:

  1. Add cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or for at least 3-4 hours, until soft and plump. Drain and rinse before use.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. See note about prepping squash below. Spread out chopped squash on sheet and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking, until squash is fork tender. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Add the soaked and drained cashews, water, garlic, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon juice, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and 2 cups of cooked squash into a high speed blender. Blend on high until smooth. Now add the salt, liquid smoke, and hot sauce to taste and blend again.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions. If using broccoli, kale, or other vegetables, roast or saute those too.
  5. Add the drained pasta back into the pot. Pour on your desired amount of sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the cooked vegetables, if using. Cook over medium until heated throughout and serve immediately.
  6. Leftover sauce can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 1 week or so in the fridge. It's great poured on roasted vegetables too!

Time saver: You can also simply slice the squash in half, remove seeds, and roast the two halves rather than chopping the squash up. The butternut squash sauce makes 2.75 cups.

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Some of you mentioned that the Recipage feature has not been working lately. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. Apparently, Recipage did a big server migration last week and some kinks are still being worked out. I encourage you to use the recipe drop-down category menu at the top of the blog or the search bar on the right hand side. I do realize that this doesn’t help for the few recipes that were only uploaded into Recipage though. Hopefully, all will be well soon. :) Sometime in the future we will be creating our own in-house recipe search page, most likely after Eric has completed the new app. Thanks for your patience!

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{ 258 comments… read them below or add one }

Anele @ Success Along the Weigh October 21, 2013

I’m sorry you didn’t get the house. :-( But that means something even better is waiting for you, right?

I’ve made something similar and you’re right, hug in a bowl is about as accurate a description as you can get!

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Birdy& Bambi October 21, 2013

That looks simply delicious! Good job!

Love from Germany:

Bambi

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Abby @ The Frosted Vegan October 21, 2013

Sorry to hear about the house, but no worries, something better will come along, right?!! : )

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } October 21, 2013

This looks divine! I was just thinking that it’s finally getting cool enough to start eating squash 24/7 again (in Florida we are just now getting into the 60′s!) Can’t wait to try this soon!

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Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate October 21, 2013

The sauce looks good enough to eat on it’s own, forget the pasta! Good luck with the house hunting, I’m sure something will come up eventually :)

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McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped October 21, 2013

Who needs or would even want cheese with this beautiful sauce! I’m making this very soon especially for my cheese loving boyfriend (I’m working on that one haha). Thanks for sharing!

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Jill October 21, 2013

I love making your recipes, but I am having the darnedest time finding nutritional yeast. Where in the world can I purchase it, and if in a regular grocer, on what aisle is it found??

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Hi Jill, I find it in the natural food aisle of my grocery store. It can also be found in health food stores or bulk stores most often. hope this helps!

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Jessi de Bergerac October 23, 2013

I haven’t been able to find it in any of the stores in my neighborhood, so I order it on Amazon, the brand I got was Hoosier Hill Farm. It’s worth it, it comes in handy for quite a few recipes.

Tried this recipe tonight and it was fantastic!

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Laura October 29, 2013

At the local bulk health store where I get my nutritional yeast, it is actually called: Good Tasting Yeast…so that it isn’t confused with Brewers Yeast I guess. I know the Bob’s line has it but if you can get it in bulk it is way cheaper.

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suzanne October 21, 2013

Love your first recipe and this looks like another great spin on it! Was just thinking of putting this on the menu for dinner next week!

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Jill October 21, 2013

One more question…at what point in the recipe do I add the cashews? Are they blended up with the squash and seasonings, or are they added whole along with the vegetables? Thanks ;-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Hi Jill, Sorry I forgot to add them in – it’s in there now. You just add them along with everything else. Hope this helps!

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Jill October 22, 2013

Thank you for both replies…much appreciated! :)

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Bridget November 30, 2013

I am allergic to cashews…is there any other nut/ingredient that would be a good substitute?

Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 2, 2013

Hey Bridget, You can probably leave out the cashews since it’s just a small amount. I’m not sure of a substitute at the moment.

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Liz October 21, 2013

Angela! Do not fret!! :) We bought our first condo in a big East Coast city almost 5 years ago. At the time we had been looking for 18 months. I had been at open houses almost every weekend (my husband occasionally, but for me it’s actually fun seeing how people decorate and it helped us to figure out our wish list!). We did have all our ducks lined up to buy a brand new renovation . . come to find out just before we signed the purchase and sales agreement that the developer’s agent ‘failed’ to notify us that there was an issue with dry cleaning chemicals in the underground water supply (building was above dry cleaners) and that there was the potential for a lawsuit from the EPA etc etc. Needless to say we opted out immediately (though it took 6 months to get our deposit back from the seller’s realtor). Fast forward six months and we found this great two bedroom apartment that had almost everything on our wish list and the things it didn’t, we figured would just come along in our future homes :) We were the second highest bidder – but got it because we could close in less than two weeks. We love our current place – the layout, the location, the neighbors . . it really works for us and our dog . . . and (hopefully) if a little person comes along they will still fit :) We also lost some nice places along the way, but we ended up with the right one for us (I shudder to think what would have happened had we bought the other one). We also had a buyers agent who was awesome a huge help in the whole process. Don’t give up – you’ll get something even better than what you missed out on!

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Angela October 21, 2013

Thanks Liz! So glad everything worked out for you in the end!

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Laura S. October 21, 2013

I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t get the house…disappointment is really hard to deal with and get over sometimes, isn’t it?? It’s there so we can learn and grow and hopefully appreciate the times when things do just magically work out :-)

Life goes on and thankfully there are still comfort food options for us vegans!
Xoxoxo, hugs!

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Marygrace October 21, 2013

Congrats on tackling those book edits! When working on my book, I found that dealing with the miniscule line-by-line stuff has tougher than writing the book itself.

Also, this looks incredible. I’d love to use that sauce in a rice and veggie bowl.

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Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe October 21, 2013

I’m so sorry that the house didn’t work out for you – how heartbreaking! BUT. Allow me to throw in another cliché phrase and say that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe it just means that there is a house out there that you are going to fall even more in love with. :) This butternut squash sauce sounds heavenly, and very comforting. I don’t have a high-speed blender – would a food processor work?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Hey Amanda, I haven’t tried it with a food processor, but I think it should be ok. It might not get quite as smooth though.

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Brooke October 24, 2013

Just now made this using a food processor (saving for a VitaMix some day) and it worked beautifully – I did soak the cashews overnight, though. This is a DELICIOUS recipe. I have tried many vegan “cheez-mac” type recipes trying to find a perfect one for when the grandkids visit. This is it – only changes I made was I used almond milk instead of water and added 1/4 tsp dry mustard. THANK YOU!

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Amanda October 21, 2013

Going to have to try this!

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Ruth October 21, 2013

Sorry to hear about the house but happy to hear about the book getting sent off — definintely an up-down-up-down experience for you! I’m glad to see the thick cheezy sauce here: after having my own extremely awful day on Friday, thick cheezy mac & cheeze was THE thing I was wanting. Now I can satisfy that fancy!! Gotta get me some liquid smoke.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 21, 2013

Sorry to hear about losing the house Ange. I know that can be really frustrating, and in addition to the book edits, it sounds like one whirlwind of a week for you! I am confident that you guys will find an even better one though – these things happen for a reason. As for this sauce – you are a genius! The old b-nut is a fave of mine and I’ve been loving it lately in all forms. It’s such a great comfort food, and so versatile too! PS I think we need a lunch date soon… it’s been freaking ages! :)

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Leon October 21, 2013

I’m sure you’ll end up finding a house that you like even better, so you’ll actually feel happy to have lost this one! That sauce looks amazing, truly decadent. Will definitely make it soon. And I can’t wait for your cookbook to come out!

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Matilda October 21, 2013

Sorry about the house! I’m sure there’s a perfect house out there somewhere waiting for you! (If thats comforting at all haha). I just wanted to let you know that I think you may have forgotten to include when to add cashews in the sauce. Not a big deal but thought you might like to know :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Thanks, I’ve added it in :)

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Katie October 21, 2013

There is something to be said about great minds … I have had an epically horrible Sept/Oct when it comes to housing (Bed Bug war – not pleasant) and just when I think I’ve graduated from “remission” to “cured” I find 5 crawling on my freshly laundered sheets. At 10pm.

I have been dining on my rendition of Cheezy Pumpkin Sauce/hummus with kale/broccoli as my comfort food all week! Last week there were quinoa flakes involved. This week to mix it up I may use brown rice. But I’ve never added liquid smoke – genius!

I hope your housing woes are solved soon. Your other perfect house is out there, and this time you’ll get it!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Hey Katie, I hope your troubles are resolved soon! I can only imagine how frustrating that would be to go through.

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janae @ bring joy October 21, 2013

House buying is *such* an emotional process! I’m sorry it didn’t go through. But, buying a house is a process that can’t be rushed, & you never want to overpay for a house (even if you do LOVE it). I’d say buying a house is more stressful than even having your first child–especially these days with the way credit has changed. I swear, they want to know EVERYTHING about your past & just when you think you have the loan, they want more docs. Anyway, congrats on getting all your edits done! What a satisfying step along the road for you–you should be very proud. ox

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A. Cook October 21, 2013

So sorry to hear about the house, but glad this beautiful recipe could lend some comfort. Sending positive thoughts your way!

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Vicky October 21, 2013

Boo! Sorry about the house. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the faith, but it’ll happen for you! I’ve been needing a little faith & cheer myself – what better place to find it than comfort food? ;-) Can’t wait to try this out!

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Emma October 21, 2013

Bummer about the house :( I’m sure it can’t be “the one” if you didn’t get it…your perfect house is out there still waiting for you!
Can’t believe I still haven’t made the original recipe. I think this one might be bumped up to be tried pronto though!

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Stephanie October 21, 2013

I learned the SAME thing about full moon eclipses, and I’m not PMSing, but I am really pregnant. Anyway, full moon eclipses are completely over-rated! Lol

Sorry to hear about the house. Everything happens for a reason, and maybe there’s an even better one out there waiting for you!

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laura October 21, 2013

This sounds sooo yummy!
When exactly do the cashews get added?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Just added it in- sorry! I forgot to say it should be added along with the rest of the ingredients.

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Shundara@SavyNaturalista October 21, 2013

House hunting and book!! Oh boy oh boy! I know when I bought my town house I almost did not get it and I thought there was recession! I guess the market is hot even though they tell us it isn’t! Lovely cheesy recipe! FYI I am all about making copies I know all to well about missing letters at the post office.

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Sara October 21, 2013

Oh no! So sorry about the house! Things do always work out in the end though so I’m sure you will find another house that is even better than the last! Can’t wait to check out your cookbook when it comes out. Best of luck in your house hunting!

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Dawn October 21, 2013

Hi there!
Just read your post and felt soo excited for you as you were describing your dream home….and then the sadness of it being scooped up right from under you….this happened to my hubby and I 7 years ago….and thank goodness it did!!! We ended up custom building a wonderful home that we love !! My hope is that you will experience the same thing!
Best of luck !!!
Dawn

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

I could certainly go for a custom home! hah. ;)

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Me October 21, 2013

Gosh, every time I read your blog I feel like we are living parallel lives. As a therapist turned writer who moved three times last year, I feel your pain. It gets better, but of course this is largely due to your off-the-hook-master-chef recipes. I don’t know about everyone else here, but you’ve been a lifesaver for us when we started eating Vegan/GF food two years ago. Several of our friends can attest, because they too have salivated over dozens of the recipes we’ve made from your website, to which we credit and fondly say, “Yes, well, Angela’s amazing.” Sending love and light from California!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Thanks for your kind words! You know how to make a girl smile :)

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 21, 2013

Butternut squash pasta is soooo perfect for fall. Love this!

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Elyse @ Lizzie Fit October 21, 2013

Mmm I need to get myself some of this liquid smoke. I made tempeh bacon for the first time without it but if its popping up in more places than one I might just have to add it to the pantry :)

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Stephanie October 21, 2013

This looks phenomenal. I’m assuming the plumped up cashews go into the blender with the other ingredients? I (feeling quite dumb) have read the recipe a couple of times and can’t seem to find where they’re supposed to go after they’re hydrated.

ALSO

Could I use some cashew butter I have on hand instead? Like 2 TBSP?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

Oh thanks for catching that – I’ve added it in :)
Not sure about the cashew butter – I probably wouldn’t add more than 1 tbsp at a time and taste as you go. enjoy!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks October 21, 2013

The color of that sauce is just so vibrant and electric and full of LIFE! Love it!

And massive congrats to you for shipping your edited MS back to your publisher! What an awesome feeling. I bet you feel like the weight of the world has been lifted! Enjoy all your newfound freetime :)

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Tiffany October 21, 2013

Congrats on getting all that mailed off to NY! I bet you can tell the whole thing word for word without even being in the same room… tons of work, so GOOD FOR YOU! Sorry about the house though. This pasta, however, is freaking fabulous looking. Perfect for a girl like me (butternut squash love, mac-n-cheese lover who can’t eat cheese).

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Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 21, 2013

That looks sooooo good! I love your pasta recipes – they are always awesome!

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Catherine @ foodiecology October 21, 2013

So sorry to hear about the house. But congratulations on mailing the cookbook edits!

This dish looks divine. I’m not vegan–and I’m a huge lover of cheese–but this sauce makes me question my devotion to dairy. Seriously, I want to make this now (and I just inhaled dinner).

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Mari @ Living with Purpose October 21, 2013

Why did I never think of this before? This looks incredible.

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Jennifer October 21, 2013

I was really sad for a while because shortly after making the original and falling in love with it I discovered I am sensitive to mustard. I tried to find another cheeze sauce recipe, but the vast majority included it. I can’t wait to try this, it looks great.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2013

You’ll have to let me know how this one compares!

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Jennifer October 25, 2013

I just got around to making this (with the substitution of 1/2 cup canned sweet potato after running out of squash), and it’s amazing! I can’t remember the taste of the other one, but I certainly don’t miss it anymore! You’ve outdone yourself again, and I can’t wait for the cookbook.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 25, 2013

so glad to hear that Jennifer!! Thanks for trying it out. :) I’ll have to try sweet potato next time.

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Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor October 21, 2013

Sounds like you had a pretty crazy week. Glad you were able to share this creamy and delicious recipe with us. Good luck with the house hunting!

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Lauri October 21, 2013

Boo. On the plus side, the recipe is totally delicious! I used some roasted sugar pumpkin left over from a pie, and it was terrific. Thanks!

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