The flavors of a fall harvest in a cozy pasta dish. Roasted butternut squash and red onion, seasoned tempeh crumbles, and sautéed kale tossed with chewy orecchiette pasta and an easy balsamic broth that brings it all together. This Roasted Vegetable Pasta is easy enough for a weeknight, fancy enough for entertaining.
This dish is total comfort food! A big plate of al dente orecchiette pasta with sweet roasted butternut squash and red onion, savory seasoned tempeh crumbles, and earthy kale all tossed in a simple balsamic flavored broth and topped with crunchy buttery pecans.
It sounds complicated and fancy, but it’s really easy and it all comes together in less than an hour. Perfect for a weeknight, Sunday supper, or holiday entertaining.
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Pasta ~ I love orecchiette for this dish. The name means “little ears” in Italian. They have a round shape that curves in toward the centers. They look like tiny little bowls…perfect for holding the sauce and all the other bite size goodies in this roasted vegetable pasta dish.
If you don’t have or can’t find orecchiette, other pasta shapes can be substituted. I like to stick with medium shapes, like penne, fusilli, farfalle, or conchiglie that hold sauce well and are similar in size to the other ingredients in the recipe.
Gluten free pasta works just as well, so use that if you want/need.
Tempeh ~ Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and usually comes packed tightly into a square or rectangular patty. The soybeans are often combined with grains, so if you need a gluten free tempeh, be sure to read the label!
It’s very high in protein and also boasts good amounts of calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
It can be sliced, diced, crumbled, or grated. Having an earthy, savory flavor, it’s a great stand in for meat, like in this roasted vegetable pasta recipe where it resembles sausage or bacon.
More Vegan Tempeh Recipes to Try:
- Instant Pot Vegan Split Pea Soup with Tempeh Crumbles
- Smoky Vegan Broccoli Soup with Crispy Tempeh Croutons
Vegetables ~ Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables. It has a mild, nutty flavor and a subtle sweetness.
It’s delicious in my famous Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, perfect in my Butternut Squash Apple Soup, silky smooth in this Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with coconut milk, and so tasty in any of these other Butternut Squash recipes.
I’ve also added red onion because roasted red onions are one of my favorite things ever! They get perfectly sweet and caramelized.
I never pass up an opportunity to add leafy greens to our diet. Kale holds up so well in a warm pasta dish – it won’t get mushy or slimy. The earthy flavor balances the sweetness of the squash and onions nicely.
For a veggie loaded pasta dish in the spring or summer, try my Vegan Pasta Primavera!
Sauce ~ The “sauce” in this recipe is just enough to bring all the ingredients together, but isn’t meant to be very saucy. I like the vegetables to really stand out on their own. If you like a saucier pasta dish, feel free to add more broth and adjust seasonings as necessary.
How to make the recipe
Chop the butternut squash into bite size pieces and slice the onions. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning (1).
Toss well to distribute the oil and seasonings. Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet into one even layer as much as possible (2).
Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and caramelized (3).
While the vegetables are roasting, sauté the diced tempeh in oil, tamari, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy on all sides (4).
Add the garlic and kale and sauté to heat through and wilt the kale slightly (5).
Add the roasted vegetables and cooked pasta to the skillet along with the vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, and pure maple syrup. Stir to coat. Add the chopped pecans, stir, and serve.
Storage and freezing
Fridge: Leftovers of this roasted vegetable pasta will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
Freezer: You can also freeze this dish! Make sure you don’t overcook the noodles if you plan to freeze it. Cook them until just al dente.
I recommend spreading out the finished dish onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet in one even layer. Place flat in the freezer for an hour or two until frozen. Transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together and clump up. Make sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bag. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
Reheat: Thaw in the fridge overnight. To reheat, gently simmer with an extra splash of vegetable broth in a skillet for 5 to 10 minutes until warmed through. You can also reheat in the microwave. Be sure to use a microwave-safe dish and add a splash of vegetable broth to loosen it up.
Pro tips and tricks
~ Chop the butternut squash into small bite size pieces. It will roast faster and be easier to get all components of the dish in one bite.
~ Line the baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking and for easy cleanup.
~ Salt the pasta water well! This is your only chance to season the pasta.
~ Remove the hard, fibrous stems from the kale. Chop only the leafy parts.
~ I think the amount of sauce is perfect as is. If you like a really saucy pasta, double the sauce.
~ Toast the pecans for an even deeper, richer flavor. Place them in a dry skillet in one even layer over medium-low heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. You’ll know they’re done when you can smell them. Keep a close eye on them as they can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
~ Make sure to read labels and choose gluten free pasta, gluten free tempeh, and gluten free tamari if needed for a gluten free option.
~ For an oil-free option, use vegetable broth to sauté and roast.
Summer tends to get most of the love when it comes to produce. Farmers markets are plentiful, as are backyard gardens. But some of my favorite vegetables are harvested in the fall.
Fall veggies are hearty and comforting. A few faves are Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
I’ve used butternut squash and kale in this roasted vegetable pasta recipe, but you could swap in sweet potatoes and collard greens instead. Or toss in some mushrooms when sautéing the tempeh.
Yes! If you’re using oil to roast the veggies, they will be more caloric than steaming or eating them raw, but they are still highly nutritious. Vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and yes, even protein!
If you are on an oil-free diet or simply trying to avoid excess oils, you can still have delicious roasted vegetables. Try tossing the vegetables in a bit of veggie broth, lemon juice or a dash of tamari.
Yes! If you plan to freeze it, be sure you don’t overcook the noodles! Cook them until just al dente. Otherwise, they will become mushy upon thawing and reheating.
I recommend spreading out the finished dish onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet in one even layer. Place the baking sheet flat in the freezer for an hour or two until frozen. Transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together and clump up. Make sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bag. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
More vegan fall recipes
- Butternut Squash Soup with Corn
- Broccoli and Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad
- Spaghetti with Spinach and Cranberries
- Pumpkin and Kale Vegan Stuffed Shells
- Kale Apple Salad with Warm Pumpkin Vinaigrette
- Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl
- Sweet Potato Cauliflower Vegan Soup
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Pasta Recipe
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Fall Roasted Vegetable Pasta
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash bite size
- 1 red onion sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more for salting pasta water
- ½ teaspoon black pepper divided)
- 12 ounces orecchiette pasta or similar medium size pasta shape (gluten free, if desired)
- 8 ounces tempeh diced (gluten free, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3-4 kale leaves chopped small (stems removed)
- ¾ cup low sodium vegetable broth plus more if needed
- 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans toasted, if deisred
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Toss the cubed butternut squash and sliced red onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Spread out into one even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, stirring half way through, until tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente according to pasta directions, making sure to salt the pasta cooking water well.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and the tamari in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and diced tempeh. Sauté 7 to 8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until brown and crispy on the edges. Add the garlic and kale and sauté 1 to 2 to minutes to soften.
- When the pasta and squash/onions are done add them to the skillet with the tempeh and kale and stir to combine. Add the vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, and pure maple syrup. Stir well. Add another splash or two of vegetable broth the pasta seems dry. Stir in the chopped pecans
- Serve hot with an extra drizzle of balsamic and fresh cracked black pepper.