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I’ll have to admit that I’ve probably never done the traditional Finnish macaroni casserole (had to use it anyway!) on my own. Sure I ate it often as a kid and a few times in my adulthood too, but it never maid its way to my kitchen. Probably because its main ingredients are meat, wheat pasta and cow’s milk. The same applies to sausage.Meet Chickpea Pasta Bake with Pumpkin, Spinach & Goat Cheese.
Bean pastas aren’t exactly a new thing anymore and I’ve tried a bunch of them too. Nothing has ended up here on the blog though, as most of the pastas have been a bit…blah. Too slimy, too hard, or just tasted weird. So I’ve been mainly sticking to brown rice or buckwheat pasta. Until things changed last spring.
Chickpea Pasta Bake w/ Pumpkin, Spinach & Goat Cheese notes: you could replace the pumpkin wit sweet potato, if pumpkin is not available. you could go with another cheese too, like feta or ricotta. if you like thing more spicy, try adding a bit of chili flakes into the mix, or add some of you’re favorite dried herbs if you’re feeling like it!
1 butternut squash olive oil a handful of fresh thyme 2 cups chickpea macaroni 2 cloves of garlic 1 small jar (about 180 g) sun-dried tomatoes 120 g baby spinach a handful of fresh basil salt & black pepper
3 organic eggs 2 1/3 cup plant-based milk
200 g goat cheese 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Peel the pumpkin and cut into small cubes. Place the cubes on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. Top with fresh thyme. Bake for 15 minutes, until a bit softened. After you’ve taken out the pumpkin, lower the oven temperature to 175 C / 350 F.
2. Cook the pasta. Reduce the cooking time given in the bag with couple minutes, so that the pasta has some structure left. Drain and set aside for a moment.
3. Peel and chop the garlic. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and chop into small pieces. Heat a large frying pan, add a bit of olive oil and fry the garlic, tomatoes, and baby spinach over medium heat for a few minutes, until softened. Add the basil and pumpkin and stir until everything is combined. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
4. Add the macaroni and vegetables into a large oven dish and mix well. Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl and pour the mixture over the macaroni. Top with sliced goat cheese and nutritional yeast. Bake in the oven on the lower level for about 55-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve on its own or with salad and enjoy!