This butternut squash pasta bake is the cosiest dinner for the fall and winter months, and will be a hit with kids and adults alike. It combines the pasta with fresh mozzarella cheese and squash, but is made without tomatoes for those who aren't able to tolerate.
This butternut squash pasta bake is a cosy recipe, and can be either served as a main dish or a side in smaller portions. Easy to make, packed with healthy vegetables and kid-friendly too!
This post was updated with new photos and recipe tips on 25 January 2022.
⭐ Why you'll love this recipe
- Fall flavours - it always feels as though squash is extra flavourful in the fall and winter months, and this pasta bake makes the most of them!
- No tomatoes - it can feel tricky to find pasta recipes without tomatoes at times, but this sauce focuses on squash, coconut milk and lots of herbs and spice for flavour.
- Easy to make - a very simple family dinner that doesn't require any complicated steps.
Make sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients and their quantities!
While this may seem like a longer list, most are pantry staples or what I call 'shopping list staples'. The main ingredients you will need are:
- Pasta - I tend to use either macaroni (which makes it feel a '*little* like mac and cheese) or fusilli for this dish.
- Butternut squash - the main ingredient of the sauce. I mostly use fresh, but have tried it with frozen squash and it works well.
- Sage and sweet paprika - the main flavours of the bake. I suggest not skimping on the quantities unless you like very subtle flavours as the squash doesn't have a strong taste by itself. I use sweet paprika in the recipe, but if you aren't low histamine then regular paprika is good, but will have a stronger taste (so perhaps adjust quantities).
- Mozzarella - this is optional as the recipe can be made without and so a vegan pasta bake. If using, you want the fresh mozzarella that comes in a packet with liquid rather than hard mozzarella.
🔪 Step by step instructions
The full steps are in the recipe card below, but some photos to help guide you in making this butternut squash pasta bake:
Make the pasta according to packet instructions, but take off the heat a minute or two before the given time so it is al dente.
In a large saucepan gently cook the onion in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, sweet paprika and sage. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add in your butternut squash, bell pepper and the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a light simmer. Pour in your coconut milk, stir well and cook for 15 minutes.
Transfer the butternut squash mixture to a blender (I use a Nutri-bullet) and blend for a few seconds to a thick sauce. Add a touch more water or stock if it is too thick and a pinch of salt.
Pour about a third of the squash puree into an ovenproof dish, then drain your pasta and add to the dish. Pour in the remaining squash puree, stir to combine the sauce in with the pasta, and dot pieces of mozzarella on the top. Season with black pepper, if using.
Bake the pasta for 15 minutes, covered. Then remove the covering and bake for a further 10-12 minutes so the cheese is bubbling and the pasta has gone slightly crispy (but not burnt!).
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- I suggest using a smaller pasta such as macaroni or fusilli for this dish.
- Adjust the amounts of garlic, herbs and spices to taste. If you like a more subtle taste then reduce the sage a touch.
- Be sure to stir well once you have combined the sauce and pasta in your dish so the pasta is evenly distributed.
- Mozzarella is optional. If you leave out then you you have a vegan butternut squash pasta bake for those with that dietary requirement.
📋 Frequently asked questions
A smaller pasta such as fusilli, macaroni or penne work well for a pasta bake.
No, simply leave out if you prefer!
Yes, add as much as you like for a spicy pasta bake!
🍽 How to serve
I always pair this pasta bake with a fresh green salad, but my sister always insists on coleslaw too. Maybe that's a little odd? But if it works for you, then my tropical coleslaw is one to try!
🥣 More tasty pasta dishes
Butternut Squash Pasta Bake
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ white onion diced
- 1 garlic clove optional, or more to taste
- 2 cups butternut squash diced to large chunks
- ½ cups yellow bell pepper sliced
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 ¼ cups pasta
- ½ mozzarella ball torn into small pieces
- 2 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F.
- In a large saucepan gently cook the onion in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, sweet paprika and sage. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add in your butternut squash, bell pepper and the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a light simmer. Pour in your coconut milk, stir well and cook for 15 minutes.
- Cook your pasta according to packet instructions, but remove from the heat a couple of minutes before full cooking time so it is still al dente.
- Transfer the butternut squash mixture to a blender, add a pinch of salt and blend for a few seconds to a thick sauce. Add a touch more water or stock if it is too thick.
- Pour about a third of the squash puree into an ovenproof dish, then drain your pasta and add to the dish. Pour in the remaining squash puree, and dot pieces of mozzarella on the top. Season with black pepper, if using.
- Bake the pasta for 15 minutes, covered. Then remove the covering and bake for a further 10-12 minutes so the cheese is bubbling and the pasta has gone slightly crispy (but not burnt!).
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Adjust the amount of sage to taste preference. If you prefer a less 'herby' flavour then reduce the sage.
- I suggest using a smaller pasta such as macaroni or fusilli.
- Use gluten free pasta if required.
- Stir the pasta and sauce well when in the ovenproof dish so the pasta is evenly distributed.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance (SIGHI) food compatibility list for histamine All ingredients in this butternut squash pasta bake score 0 on the SIGHI list, with the exception of:
- black pepper, which is optional
- garlic, which scores 1. Also optional.
- pasta, for the wheat, which scores 1.