Sweet Potato Pasta


Grace Vance

I’ll admit, pasta has always seemed like a high maintenance dish to me. It felt fancy and difficult with all the different cook times for the pasta and the varieties of sauce. It seemed like one of those meals that only nice restaurants could get right.
At least that is what I thought until recently. While I don’t make pasta often, this Sweet Potato Pasta surely changed my mind. It seems like every time I make pasta — whether that be for family, a gathering or party — I always forget why I don’t make it more often and why I was so intimidated by it in the first place. There are only three basic steps: First, cook the pasta following the directions on the packaging. Second, prepare the sauce ingredients. Third, make the sauce and mix it into the drained and cooked pasta. It’s that easy.
The sauce…

The ingredients. In this recipe, I decided to combine my a few of my favorite flavors: sweet potato and tahini. I especially love these two ingredients in this dish because you can balance out the sweet and savory sides of each. The sweet potato and pumpkin adds body to this recipe and gives it a beautiful orange color while adding tons of health benefits like vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and fiber, among more! The nuttiness of the tahini really shines through and gives it a really unique flavor that I love.
While most plant-based recipes use soaked cashews to attain a creamy consistency for pastas and dips, today I decided to instead use tahini and walnuts instead. You won’t need to soak any ingredients overnight as you would by using cashews, so that makes for a quick and delicious meal you can whip up in about 25 minutes, including pasta cook time.
In the blender…

Not into pasta? Spread the sauce onto a pita or wrap, in a grain dish or use it as a creamy salad dressing or dip for raw veggies!
Without further adieu, grab some pasta, sweet potato, pumpkin, tahini and walnuts and start cooking!
Sweet Potato Pasta
1 package of pasta, any variety (Find a single ingredient, whole grain pasta for optimal health benefits)
1 can chickpeas
1 cup cooked sweet potato, skin removed (I baked mined whole at 400 F for about an hour. If you want a meal fast, just peel, chop and steam them.)
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup raw walnuts, unsalted
1 ½ tbsp tahini
1 ½-2 ½ cups vegetable broth (I used a mixture of original almond milk and broth)
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp pepper
Salt to taste
optional: cayenne to taste, if you want your pasta on the spicier side
optional: add some chopped cilantro to garnish

  1. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the packaging. If you are baking your sweet potato, do this before you start cooking your pasta so that everything is ready by the time the pasta is done.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, place all sauce ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth, adding the liquid in to facilitate blending and for desired consistency. (For best results, use a high-speed blender. If you do not own a blender, try using a food processor. You might have to blend quite a bit longer to get the ingredients blended properly.) Be sure to stir your pasta periodically to prevent sticking.
  3. Drain your pasta. In a large bowl, mix the sauce and pasta together. Enjoy!

Here I only gave you guys the simple pasta and sauce recipe but you could so easily add a side salad or mix some extra ingredients into this dish. Try using this basic formula for a well-rounded meal: add in your choice of chopped greens (kale, spinach, parsley) and cooked veggies (sauteed or roasted onions, brussels sprouts, carrots, bell pepper, cauliflower). Or you could simply eat this as is, it’s great both ways!

all photos by Grace Vance