Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Cranberry

Perusing tons of holiday recipes has left me with a serious cranberry craving. After searching [what’s left of] Google Reader for inspiration, I came across Budget Bytes’ chilled butternut squash pasta salad – made with cranberries, sage and squash. Bingo. Sage has definitely been deep in my cooking black hole, but it’s been popping up on tons of restaurants’ menus as winter approaches. It’s the peppery herb that traditionally seasons meat stuffings and turkey, so it only felt right to give cooking with it a shot. Plus, I got to incorporate cranberries into a savory dish, something I’ve never done.

I took Budget Bytes‘ recipe and ran with it – creating a warm, hearty meal starting with these:

cranberry fettucine.

The cranberries were a gift from my Aunt Bev, who ventured to the Seattle Trader Joe’s to help us stock our pantry! I’m looking forward to cooking with some of the other basics she picked up for us, including more dried fruits and the oh-so-glorious pumpkin [and sampling the Washington wine!]. The Carba-Nada is a roasted garlic “fettucine” that’s intended for people on low-carb diets, but it’s nice for quick dishes [it only takes 4 minutes to cook] where pasta isn’t intended to be the star. This was one of those dishes.

Garlic, onion and butternut squash were sauteed first with the sage. Fresh sage leaves are really interesting: they were soft, fuzzy and almost difficult to cut. Then I threw in vegan sausage crumbles seasoned with parsley. Finally, the cooked pasta, spinach and cranberries were added to the mix, and I poured a vegan “cream” sauce overtop. Some cracked black pepper, and it was good to go.

wasn't this dull in person.

If I could do it over, I’d actually omit the vegan sausage. This dish would have been perfect without it, although the added protein always helps. The cranberries were huge and juicy, and I had roasted the squash in cinnamon earlier in the day. The sweet + peppery combination made for a warm holiday-like meal – perfect preparation for next week!

Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage and Cranberries (Vegan, Vegetarian)

Adapted from/inspired by Budget Bytes’ Butternut Squash Pasta Salad.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 90 grams Carba-Nada “Pasta” (measured out on a kitchen scale)
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash (peeled, diced and roasted at 400 degrees for 45 minutes in salt, pepper and cinnamon)
  • 1 handful dried cranberries
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 2 cups spinach, shredded
  • 1 serving vegan sausage, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegan parmesan cheese, for garnish

For the Vegan “Cream” Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Bring the water to a boil. Cook the pasta as directed, drain and set aside (you can do this during the rest of the cooking process).

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the “cream sauce.” Add more water if necessary. Set aside.

3. Using a teaspoon of oil, saute the garlic and onion until translucent. Mix in the squash and sage and a tiny splash of water. Cook until the squash softens a bit.

4. Toss in the parsley and sausage. At this point your pasta should be ready.

5. To the saute pan, add the spinach and cranberries, followed by the cooked pasta (this will help the spinach wilt faster). Mix well.

6. Slowly pour the sauce over the pasta and season with salt and pepper. Toss and remove from the heat quickly (so the sauce doesn’t boil down). Garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese.

* The fettucini noodle serving size is listed in both cups and grams. It’s literally impossible to measure out a cup of dry, spread out fettucini noodles, so I opted to weigh them by gram, instead.


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Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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5 Comments on “Creamy Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Cranberry”

  1. November 15, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    That looks seriously good!!! I’d like to try it with the vegan sausage!!!

    • November 15, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      I’d try to find one that isn’t as crumbly as the one as I got – it completely fell apart when cooking and so it just gave the dish a weird texture.

  2. Michelle
    November 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    There are several reasons why this recipe rocks:
    1) a creamy but dairy-free pasta? mmm.
    2) I sometimes fall into a rut with dried cranberries. I start out by throwing them in salads, oatmeal, and cookie batter, but I can never finish the second half of the bag.
    3) I really, really want to use my kitchen scale for a legitimate reason!

    • November 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      Haha yes! The scale is definitely under-utilized, mostly because I’m bad at portion control. I really only use it to measure out coffee to grind…

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