Pumpkin Pasta + Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper + a revelation (sort of)

pumpkin-pasta-main Have you ever woken up one day & been surprised at what you’ve turned into?

That happened to me this morning. I realized that sometime between this week & last, I became a soccer mom.

A bona fide, mini-van driving, messy-bun wearing, chauffeuring soccer mom.

Not quite a revelation–it was sort of inevitable considering my brood, but

Here’s what I mean: 
3:20 kids come home from school, we sort through papers & I supervise (nag? nah…) chores & putting school stuff where it belongs
3:50 snacks–everyone gets what they want–Asher gets frozen bluberries but spills a bunch on the floor, need I mention I’m not thrilled, since they cost about a little less than gold per pound?
4:10 more tidying, kids playing

Where the crazy starts:
4:30 start prepping ingredients for dinner
4:40 help Amalia get dance clothes & shoes
4:42 get the kids in the car, take Amalia to ballet
5:05 arrive back home, cut up cauliflower, peppers, change Salem’s diaper, wash hands, continue dinner prep
5:22 throw vegetables in the oven to roast, put water on to boil for pasta,
put kids in the car again & take Hyrum to soccer practice (his first practice)
5:31 drop Hyrum off at practice (darn it, he forgot his water bottle & it’s 90 degrees out), go back home, throw pasta in water & turn the stove on low,
drive to Amalia’s dance class to pick her up
5:55 arrive back home with Amalia & other kids, drain water, remove veggies from oven
6:00 finish dinner prep, Joseph’s home! kisses.
6:30 Joseph gets Hyrum from soccer practice
6:40 we sit down & eat dinner. Ahhhhh.

Here’s the deal with this recipe.

It’s absolutely a meal in a bowl. But, had I more time, I would have added a simple green salad (red leaf lettuce + sliced cukes + baslamic vinegar to dress). The savory needs more acid & a green salad with vinaigrette would pair well with this dish. I didn’t get around to making a salad, but that was okay. This dish is super filling.

It also does well with a little (or a generous, if you’re like me) douse of a quality dark balsamic vinegar.

I once read a well known chef say, “More acid, not fat, that’s what most dishes need.” I agree. That said, kids may do well to have the noodles served separate from the sauce (serve sauce on the side, so they can try it on their own) & with a little melted Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter served over it.

For that matter, for kids, I suggest serving noodles, vegetables, & sauce all separately. My kids all ate it as shown in the photo, but I have one child who has trouble eating anything with sauce–he still ate it, but prefers noodles sauce-less. Since this sauce is packed with all sorts of good stuff (vitamin A, fiber, omega-3’s) it was non-negotiable.

My goal with all my meals is to keep it under $5 or less (this is one of the premises of my upcoming cookebook). Here was the breakdown for this meal. I got everything on sale (with the exception of the pumpkin) which is one of the reasons this meal came together–I had these ingredients & thought, hmmm, what can I turn it into?

1 red bell pepper, $.50
1 head cauliflower, $1.50
pasta, $2.00
walnuts, 1 cup, $1.00
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree, $1.00
chickpeas (I buy mine in bulk & cook from scratch & freeze), $.15
olive oil, 2 TBS., $.05

total: $6.20

A bit higher than my $5 target, but we only ate about half (maybe a bit more) so Salem & I will eat the leftovers for lunch for the next few days.

You can steam the veggies instead of roasting (to avoid the oil), but can I give a plug for the beauty of roasting? It brings out the veggies natural sweetness, makes the outside crispy, the inside warm & cooked. My kids love roasted veggies. A little oil goes a long way, but I think is absolutely crucial to producing a truly savory roasted veggie.

Most low-calorie veggies (not potatoes, which aren’t vegetables, but a starch) will roast at 325F for 30 minutes.

Here it is: vegan, gluten-free (but feel free to use wheat noodles if so inclined).


Pumpkin Pasta + Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper (vegan + gluten-free)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe

Calories per serving: 379 calories

Fat grams per serving: 13 g

Pumpkin Pasta + Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper (vegan + gluten-free)

Pumpkin + pasta + roasted veggies. Gluten-free & vegan.


  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into slices
  • 1 head cauliflower, washed & cut into small chunks
  • sprinkling of cumin (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 TBS. olive oil
  • cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 c. dry penne whole grain pasta (I used Glutino's gluten-free pasta)
  • 1 c. walnuts
  • 2 c. 100% pumpkin puree
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt or no-salt seasoning
  • 1 c. cooked chickpeas, rinsed
  • balsalmic vinegar


  1. Heat your oven to 325F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, use a non-stick baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle the cauliflower & pepper with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with cumin & season lightly with freshly ground pepper.
  5. Toss, using your hands. Cauliflower needs a little encouraging to absorb the olive oil & seasonings, so help it out & use your hands to really coat the veggies.
  6. Put the vegetables in the oven & set your timer for 30 minutes. Great! Now it's time to get the pasta ready.
  7. In a large pot, fill it halfway with water, then bring to boil on high.
  8. Once water has reached a boil, add pasta & reduce heat to medium.
  9. Follow the instructions for cooking for your particular pasta. Gluten-free pasta varies by brand & by type (brown rice, quinoa, etc.) as does whole wheat. Once done (don't let it get mushy!), rinse with cold water & drain.
  10. For the sauce, blend the walnuts & water until smooth. (2 cycles of dressings button on my Blendtec did the trick).
  11. Add the pumpkin puree & salt. Blend until very smooth (1 cycle of dressings settings on my Blendtec).
  12. Remove cauliflower & red peppers from the oven.
  13. Add the sauce, chickpeas, & a third of veggies to noodles. Gently stir to incorporate & let sit on stove on medium low for about 10 minutes (gently stir about half-way to warm).
  14. To serve: top with roasted veggies (or on the side), & douse with a little balsamic vinegar (to taste).

Additional Nutrition Info: carbs 59 g, protein 13 g, fiber 7 g, sugars 3 g, vitamin A 61% of DV.


  1. car accident etiquette
    on May 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm said:

    Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, whaat a stuff! existing here at this weblog, thanks admin of this site.

  2. Pingback: Pumpkin Pasta + Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper - Vegan, Gluten Free, Vegetarian - FoodSniffr Blog

  3. Babette
    on October 8, 2013 at 8:36 am said:

    What a crazy schedule! You are GOOD!

    The pasta looks lovely.

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  6. Lindsay
    on September 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm said:

    This sounds great! Also love the idea of cooking and freezing beans. What is your recommended method?

    • Janae Wise
      on September 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm said:

      Hi Lindsay! Um, my recommended method? Cook & freeze :). I try to use beans within a month or two. I make sure to rinse & drain beans before putting in freezer bags & labeling bag with date & type of bean. Nothing worse than the unidentifiable frozen block of food.

      • Lindsay
        on September 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm said:

        That’s what I meant- more what is your process once they are cooked. I don’t know why but i don’t think I would have thought to rinse them first haha – Thank you!

  7. Alanna
    on September 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm said:

    Yum! I’m excited to try this recipe.
    We roast veggies a lot but I may be doing it wrong (too hot and too short). I’m gonna give your method a try. Roasted cauliflower is a hit in our home.
    Have I mentioned I’m stoked for your ebooks? I am! 🙂

  8. Sara
    on September 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm said:

    This looks really good. I’m adding it to my menu for next week.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm said:

      Yay! 😉

  9. Dana
    on September 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm said:

    Yum! I love adding pumpkin to pasta dishes this time of year. I’ve never tried pureeing with walnuts- sounds deliciously decadent. A bit of sage in there would be great as well for that taste of fall. Though it sounds like w/ your 90 degree weather, autumn might be more a state of mind still! Yes, I am totally a soccer mom and understand those schedules all too well. As much as we talked about limiting our kids to one activity each, our oldest is doing swimming, soccer and violin- so you can imagine how busy our evenings get. We still make it a priority to sit down as a family most nights for dinner though- which is why we love quick ‘n easy pastas, dals, and make ahead casseroles during the week. As the boys are getting older, though, we find that the weekends are filling up almost as much as the week with travel soccer, swim tourneys, church events, etc. I think I’ll need to drag out our crock pot soon- or else just stop sleeping so I can all that cooking and baking done! So good to see your posts again. Wish I had more time to comment on them, but please know that you are making one reader very happy to have you back!!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm said:

      You’re a peach Dana! Wonderful to hear from you.

      I know what you mean about not wanting your kids to do more than one thing. Joseph & I have thought long & hard about the place we want extra-curriculars in our family life & we’ve decided that music & sports & dance are important pursuits. We’re just going to take one year, one activity at a time. Right now we’re limited by money, so it’s not like we have too many options anyway, but the skills learned in these activities are invaluable for the rest of their life. That said, it’s important to have some unstructured play time so they can still be a kid. Hyrum’s 8 now, Asher almost 7, so they’re ready to start exploring these things.

      I’m with ya with the quick dinners. I haven’t done much with casseroles yet (kinda a slave to my rice cooker & crockpot), but I do have a few faves–shepherd’s pie & lasagna (which isn’t a casserole, I know, & actually isn’t that quick, but I do love all the leftovers!).

      “Wish I had more time to comment on them.”

      I’m just honored that you take time to comment any time! I know how busy you are, your awesome for dropping a line. Enjoy the fall for me–here in TX we’ll be swimming ’til November if this 90 degree weather keeps up. Not quite fall weather, if you know what I mean 😉

  10. Jess
    on September 24, 2013 at 10:02 am said:

    Thank you!!! It’s pinned to my board and I can’t wait to try it.
    It’s nice to be back on board. Looks like you took a long vacation from blogging and during the summer I took on a whole lot of craziness – starting a new business – so no wonder we haven’t been in touch.
    I am doing well, hope you are too!

  11. Spécialiste de l'éphémère
    on September 24, 2013 at 9:54 am said:

    I know what you are talking about! I have 4 too.

    Love pumpkin pastas. I cook that kind of meal often at that time of the year.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm said:

      It’s not autumn without pumpkin, is it? 😉

  12. Jess
    on September 24, 2013 at 9:48 am said:

    Oh my goodness I know! We haven’t even started with team sports, extracurriculars, etc yet but I already feel like “where does my day go?!” every evening when I’m scrambling to get a healthy meal on the table.
    This recipe looks delish – I’m looking everywhere for a Pin It! button – did I miss it? But we are totally making this soon, like, tomorrow night.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 24, 2013 at 9:54 am said:

      Ah thank you Jess! I actually use a pin it button on my toolbar so I don’t even think about the fact that others might not. So, I added a mouse-over pin it button to my images, to make it even easier.

      Nice to hear from you, hope you’re doing well!