Smoky Sweet Potato Pasta

Photo by Rissa Miller

By Rissa Miller, Senior Editor Vegetarian Journal

Elegant dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. This meal comes
together with the whir of a blender and some boiled pasta. The flavors of fall
meld perfectly with the savory smokiness of paprika and fire-roasted
tomatoes. 

1 box pasta of choice

Smoky Sweet Potato Sauce:

1 cup cooked, peeled sweet potato (also can use canned sweet
potato, pumpkin or butternut squash)

15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
and drained

1 head roasted garlic (see note below)

1/4 cup plain, unsweetened vegan milk

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Splash of liquid smoke (optional)

Pinch ground white pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes

Pinch ground nutmeg

Salt, to taste

15-ounce can fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes

1 red onion, cut into half moons

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cups fresh arugula (baby kale or spinach also work)

To serve- sprinkle with extra red pepper flakes, chopped
fresh basil, sliced almonds, or chopped walnuts/pecans

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set
aside.

     In a blender or
food processor, combine sweet potato, roasted garlic, milk, nutritional yeast,
white beans, sage, thyme, liquid smoke, white pepper, red pepper flakes,
nutmeg, and salt. Purée until smooth then pour into a large saucepan. Add
canned tomatoes with juices and warm, covered, over low heat.

     In a skillet,
saute sliced red onion in olive oil until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.
Turn off heat, and stir in arugula to wilt. Add onions and greens to
sweet-potato-tomato sauce. Pour over cooked pasta.

     Serve warm topped
with red pepper flakes, chopped fresh basil,
sliced almonds, or chopped walnuts/pecans. 

To make sweet potatoes: Thoroughly wash 1 medium sweet
potato, pierce with a fork 4-5 times, and place on a microwave-safe plate.
Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes until soft. If needed, heat 1 minute more
at a time until tender.

To make roasted garlic: Roasted Garlic can be made a
day or two in advance and stored in the fridge. Preheat oven to 400. Slice
1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top of the cloves and peel any loose papery outer
layers from the bulb. Place bulb in a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and
season, if desired with salt and pepper. Add a few Tablespoons of water to the
bottom of the foil, so garlic will stem. Tightly close foil and bake (on a pan
or in a oven-safe dish) for 45-60 minutes until cloves are lightly
browned.  Allow to cool before attempting to handle. To use, squeeze
roasted garlic from skins.