Easy Italian Vegetarian Pasta Butternut Squash Recipe

Kid Friendly Pasta Recipe: Butternut squash, chickpeas, penne pasta

Pasta Butternut Squash & Chickpeas

Our stovetop vegetarian pasta dish is an Italian pasta recipe with a hint of curry - a lovely variation on pasta e fagioli.

This vegetarian pasta recipe is a satisfying combo of color, textures and flavors - crunchy salty celery, soft sweet butternut squash, chewy pasta and chickpeas, bright green parsley and a touch of cinnamon.

Total prep & cook time: 30 min

4 Servings

Nutrition Data Per Serving: 364 calories, 70 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 170 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 12 g protein, 301% RDV Vit A, 53% RDV Vit. C; Estimated glycemic load: 37; Low in saturated fat & cholesterol, good source of Vit. C, thiamin & folate; very good source of Vit. A.


  • 1 small butternut squash (4 cups cubed)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thin on the diagonal
  • Optional: 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or other cooking oil
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (15 oz can, drained & rinsed)
  • 1 cup bean cooking liquid, vegetable stock or water
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  • 8 oz penne pasta (or any pasta you like)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaf
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley or basil (6 sprigs) for garnish


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  1. Put 2 qts salted water on to boil for the pasta
  2. Heat the oil on medium in a 4 - 6 qt pan
  3. Cut off the ends and peel the squash with a vegetable peeler
  4. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon
  5. Slice the squash in 8 wedges lengthwise, then crosswise in bite sized pieces
  6. Wash and trim the celery, slice thinly on the diagonal
  7. Peel and mince the garlic, if using
  8. Strip the leaves off the parsley, chop fine and set aside
  9. Stir fry the squash, celery stalks and garlic for 5 minutes
  10. Add dry herbs & spices and stir for 2 minutes
  11. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and cook for 10 minutes
  12. Salt the boiling water if you want, add the pasta, and stir until it comes back to a boil.
  13. Cover and simmer pasta for 7 - 8 minutes, drain, and lightly oil
  14. Transfer 1 cup cooked squash to a blender, add 1 cup chickpea cooking liquid, vegetable stock or water, and blend until smooth
  15. Add back to the pot with the chickpeas and salt. Add more water if the sauce seems too thick, heat for 5 minutes
  16. Spoon the squash and beans with sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with minced parsley or basil, and serve
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Recipe Tips:

This Italian pasta recipe comes together quickly and easily because you cook the pasta and the veggies at the same time.

Butternut squash is ideal because it's peelable, unlike other winter squashes, but you need a sharp vegetable peeler, or a sharp paring knife. It's easiest to peel the squash whole, before cutting it up.

A blender is handy for pureeing the squash, but you could also use a potato masher or blender stick in the pan. Just be sure to leave lots of chunks of squash.

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