Vegan Pumpkin Kale Pasta Casserole

The title of this recipe alone has so much good stuff going on I don't know where to start. I suppose why I made it is as good a place as any. The lovely Christie invited us girls over to christen her cozy new patio and usher in fall this past week. While it would be nice to survive on wine and s'mores alone, we were going to need something more. To relieve our gracious host of at least one burden, I offered to bake an entree. 

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I've been wanting to make a pasta casserole for sometime now and appreciated the challenge of making it vegan. Using Kite Hill almond ricotta I had this dish serving six vegan and non vegans alike with great success.  The green and orange blend of colors mirrored some surrounding trees as they transition from summer to fall. And this dish is more than a pretty face; tasty pumpkin and fresh kale make this healthy and flavorful. It is a quick enough dish to make on a weeknight and will definitely provide leftovers and, of course, is good for serving a crowd. If you want to make it vegetarian, regular ricotta and grated cheeses will substitute just fine. Do plan to try this in some way while the months still end in 'r'. Until the next dish, ciao!

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

16oz dried pasta, penne is ideal

1 small onion, diced

16oz Kite Hill Almond based ricotta

2 cups chopped kale

1 can of pumpkin

4oz canned tomato sauce or your own

1/2 tsp nutmeg

8oz vegan mozzarella cheese, divided

2 tbsp bread crumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 375F.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until just about al dente. Drain and transfer to a sprayed casserole dish/roasting pan.

In a small pan, cook the diced onion until sufficiently browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and mix with raw kale in a medium bowl.

Mix the ricotta, nutmeg, canned pumpkin, tomato sauce and 6 oz of mozzarella into a large bowl. Fold to combine ingredients. Add to pasta.

Add chopped kale and onions to pasta mixture. Gently fold to combine ingredients and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes at 375.

While pasta bakes, mix bread crumbs and olive oil. In a small pan on low heat toast bread crumbs until browned. Set aside.

Remove pasta from oven and top with breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.