Recipe: Lebanese White Bush Squash Pasta Bake

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Inevitably when I buy a large squash, I wind up getting more than one dish out of it.  Cooking for two doesn’t use a whole lot of ingredients at once unless, of course, you cook in quantity.  This recipe was born from that sort of necessity; I needed to use up the rest of the massive Lebanese white bush squash I bought in Massachusetts before it went funny.  There was quite a bit of it left, so some kind of bake seemed the logical choice.  This particular pasta bake is a cross between baked ziti and zucchini lasagna, though I used neither ziti nor zucchini.  Any tubular whole wheat pasta and summer squash will give you much the same result, so don’t worry if you don’t have a Lebanese white bush squash.

Oh, and there are beans.  Because I tend to throw beans in everything with I want quick protein.

Lebanese White Bush Squash Pasta Bake
serves 6

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Ingredients

For the Sauce:
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup onion
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15oz. can red kidney beans
Italian herbs, to taste (I used basil, oregano, marjoram, parsley)
salt & pepper, to taste

For the Bake:
12oz. whole wheat penne
1/4 cup nootch
1lb. Lebanese white bush squash or zucchini

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the penne until al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and onions and cook, covered, until soft, about 5 minutes.

3) Add the tomatoes, Italian spices, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower heat, add red beans, and simmer 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

pasta bake sauce
4) While the sauce is cooking, slice the Lebanese squash into large, thin rounds.  Or, if you’re using zucchini, slice lengthwise into long, thin slices.

5) When everything is done, assemble the bake like so: at the bottom of a large casserole dish, spread a thin layer of sauce.   Add a layer of noodles, then a layer of overlapping squash pieces.  Cover that with sauce and sprinkle some of the nutritional yeast over the top.  Repeat until the ingredients are gone, ending with sauce and nutritional yeast on top.

squash pasta bake assembled
6) Cover the whole casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 minutes more.  Serve hot, with kale or salad on the side and homemade Italian bread, if possible.  A little vegan parm is also nice!

lebanese squash pasta bake served

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About the Author:

Sam has been a vegan since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of vegan food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She is a member of Toastmasters International and currently serves as part of the Capital View Toastmasters club. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, play silly card games and knit socks.
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