Winter warmer - Pumpkin & Spinach Fettucine

This meal is perfect for winter when pumpkin is in season and goes beautifully with toasted bread on the side. In the warmer months, we use cauliflower instead of pumpkin for a slightly lighter sauce. This recipe doesn't require too much prep time (or skill), so it's perfect for anyone who is strapped for time or just beginning their journey into vegan cooking.

When I tell people I'm vegan, they often ask me about what I eat, how I make it and if it was difficult to learn how to cook vegan food. I rarely have answers for them, because the honest truth is - I hardly ever cook. I don't like cooking, I don't have a knack for combining flavours and because I'm not well-versed in it, I'm also terribly slow in the kitchen. I am the one who is well known for melting the electric scales to the stove and putting herbed bread mix into pancakes instead of whole wheat flour. Luckily for me, my partner loves to cook, is great at it and makes almost everything we eat from scratch. Last year after a cycling accident broke his collarbone, I was forced to take over the kitchen for a little more than a week. Some nights were successful, others were not at all. Ever since then, I've been adding recipes to my arsenal, ones that I could possibly execute myself in an emergency. I've decided to share the following one with you, as it's one of my favourite winter meals.

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

500g fettuccine pasta

2 brown onions

4 cups chopped spinach

½ pumpkin

1 ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 bulb of garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 ½ teaspoons miso paste

1 ½ teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Fresh parsley and chilli flakes to garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 250, while the oven is heating, cut the pumpkin into quarters. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cut the top off the garlic bulb off and drizzle with 1tsp of olive oil and wrap in tin foil.
  3. Place your pumpkin and garlic in the oven. The garlic should take 15-20 minutes, and the pumpkin in 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be slightly crispy on the skin and you should be able to easily cut the flesh with a fork.
  4. Dice brown onions and sauté until clear.
  5. Cook fettuccine according to package. Once it is cooked, drain the water and mix in the chopped spinach and cover.
  6. Add the pumpkin, roasted garlic (to taste) and half of the sautéed onions into the blender along with the miso paste, lemon juice, chilli powder, paprika, and non-dairy milk. Process it until it is a smooth and creamy sauce consistency, you can add a small amount of water if necessary. Pour into a small sauce pan and gently warm over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the pumpkin sauce and sautéed onions into your pasta and spinach and toss until everything is mixed and warm. Garnish with parsley, chilly flakes and pepper before serving.