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don't miss dairy

Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.


Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

This recipe has quickly become one of my fall favorites.  What’s more fall than squash? Add apples and spices and you have the ultimate fall inspired meal.

I first tried squash curry at the annual Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. It was slathered over a steaming baked potato and was oh so amazing. I had it again this year and couldn’t wait to make it myself at home.

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

Eric and I went this October, of course. It was our 5th Pumpkin Festival! Neither of us can believe we’ve lived in California this long. It’s always the same routine:

We start out bright and early to get in line for pumpkin pancakes, homemade by the kids at Half Moon Bay High School. They are only served from 7-10am and the line gets long, so you must get there early.

After stuffing ourselves full of pancakes and sausage, we walk around and view the art, which always includes glass pumpkins. Main Street gets crowded fast, so we like to accomplish this as soon as possible.

This year they offered some new, tempting drinks. We had jack-o-tinis along with the typical pumpkin ale brewed by Half Moon Bay Brewery specifically for this festival.

And no pumpkin festival would be complete without seeing the giant pumpkins. This year’s winner weighed in at a record 2,058 pounds.

Runner Up Pumpkins from Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival dontmissdairy.com

Before we head home along the winding mountain roads, we always stop at  Bob’s Pumpkin Patch to get a couple of pumpkins to carve for Halloween. 

It’s a great annual tradition and I hope you get to check it out one day! Just remember to go early for the best experience. I mean like get-there-by-7am-early.  Trust me.

Bob's Pumpkin Patch Half Moon Bay, California from dontmissdairy.com

The first time I made this curry it was absolutely delicious. The second time I made it I decided it needed apples. There’s just something about the combination of squash and spices that goes so well with sweet apples. That being said, you can make this dish with or without them. Just don’t forget the wine!

Certainly the hardest part about this recipe is cutting the squash. It is helpful if you microwave the whole squash for a few minutes. It softens it up a bit. Be very careful.

I hope you enjoy this fall inspired meal. Please share on Instagram with #dontmissdairy if you make it!

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil
Serves 6
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  1. 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
  2. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 package firm tofu, cubed
  3. 1 large apple (or two small apples), peeled, cored, and chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tablespoon garlic infused oil (optional)
  6. 3 tablespoons curry powder
  7. 1 can full fat coconut milk
  8. 1/2 cup water
  9. 1/4 cup white wine
  10. 1/4 teaspoon cardamon
  11. 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  12. 1 large cinnamon stick
  13. fresh basil
  1. After peeling your squash, carefully and patiently remove the ends and cut in half with a large, sharp knife. Scoop the seeds and set aside.* Chop squash into bite size cubes. Also prep chicken (or tofu) and apples before cooking.
  2. Heat olive and garlic oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. If using chicken, add the chicken to the pan and sear 1-2 minutes, until no longer pink on each side. If using tofu, add the tofu after adding liquid.
  3. Add butternut squash to pan, stirring to combine, and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add white wine, curry powder, cardamon, sea salt and cook for up to one minute.
  5. Slowly pour in coconut milk, stirring to combine. Add apples and cinnamon stick. Add water, stirring well. May add more or less water depending on desired thinness. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Curry will be done when squash is soft. Add basil last, cooking for up to 1 minute only. Remove from heat. Salt to taste. Serve over your favorite rice.
  1. *Rinse, dry and roast butternut squash seeds in olive oil and sea salt at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes. They make a great snack or garnish for your curry.
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Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

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Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves

Butternut Squash Pasta with Batter Fried Sage Leaves from dontmissdairy.com
Sage leaves frying in a pan of olive oil is one of the best smells in the WORLD.

Batter frying them is so simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before! They are a perfect addition to anything with butternut squash or pumpkin, but they can also stand alone.

Batter fried sage leaves from dontmissdairy.com

Dipping sage leaves in flour and water batter.

Batter fried sage leaves from dontmissdairy.com

Frying battered sage leaves in olive oil.

I’m just going to warn you, fried sage leaves taste so incredible you’re going to be sad if you don’t make more than this recipe calls for, and you’re going to want to eat them before your pasta’s ready. I highly suggest making some extra to snack on.

Batter fried sage leaves from dontmissdairy.com

I was so excited to make butternut squash pasta when the winter squashes started arriving in stores. Luckily they can sit on your counter for weeks and still be in great condition, because life has been so busy in November that I haven’t had many chances to cook or post.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves from dontmissdairy.com
I saw an amazing looking recipe in a magazine for butternut squash pasta made with bacon, but I wanted to keep this one healthy, vegan, and as simple as possible. I combined a few different recipes to get what I wanted, plus added my own touch.

One of my favorite pasta dishes in the world is Il Fornaio’s  Walnut Butternut Squash Ravioli. They pour on a brown butter and tomato sauce and add battered sage leaves. I wanted to replicate this without the added process of making fresh pasta–I groan at complicated recipes–and of course, I needed to make this dairy free. Instead of cream and tomato for that acidic touch, I used Moscato. It pairs perfectly with this pasta dish.

So here it is, a restaurant worthy dish made simple, healthy, and vegan. The recipe makes four servings of pasta, but you can easily double it for a family or dinner party. Just use the whole squash, the whole onion, a pound of pasta, an 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg, and double everything else.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves
Serves 4
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Total Time
50 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 1/2 butternut squash
  2. 1/4 cup sweet white wine
  3. 1 tablespoon Smart Balance Light
  4. 1/2 yellow onion
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1/2 lb pasta (I used gemelli)
  8. dash nutmeg
  9. 1/2 cup crumbled walnuts**
  10. Parmigiano reggiano*
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise, carefully. Scoop out seeds. Pour 1/4 cup water into a large glass casserole dish. Add squash to dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until squash is soft enough to be pierced with a fork.
  3. While the squash is baking, fry batter dipped sage leaves in oil.
  4. When squash is tender, allow to sit and cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, start to cook pasta according to directions.
  6. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook yellow onion in Smart Balance for 10 minutes or until translucent and beginning to brown.
  7. Scoop preferred amount of cooled squash from the skin and place into blender.
  8. Puree with 1/4 cup sweet white wine, such as Moscato, but don't over process to leave some texture.
  9. Add butternut squash puree to the saucepan of onions, along with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-10minutes, until heated through. Wine or broth can be added to make a thinner consistency if needed.
  10. Add cooked, drained pasta to the saucepan and toss in butternut squash sauce until evenly coated.
  11. To serve, sprinkle with crumbled walnuts,* parmigiano reggiano,**and top with fried sage leaves.
  1. This recipe is halved for the convenience of cooking for two. If you are cooking for a family, it's very easy to double. Use the whole squash, the whole onion, and 1 lb. of pasta.
  2. *optional
  3. **To crumble place in Ziploc bag and run over with rolling pin.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Fried Sage Leaves
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  1. 1/2 cup flour
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 10-15 big sage leaves
  4. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying
  5. sea salt
  1. Wash the leaves and dry them on a paper towel.
  2. Whisk the water and flour together until the batter becomes smooth.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat (not too hot or it will burn). Dip the leaves in the batter and let the extra batter drip off.
  4. Fry the sage leaves about 1 minute each side until crispy and a light golden color.
  5. Place them on a paper towel and sprinkle them with a dash of sea salt.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/

Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves from dontmissdairy.com
Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves from dontmissdairy.com

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Sweet and "Creamy" Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup with sage sprinkled on top.

I’m always disappointed by ready to serve butternut squash soups when I read the label and find out they are made with milk or cream. Recently I found one at Whole Foods that was made with soy milk, but I have to say it was a little bland. The taste of soy took away from the delicious sweetness of the butternut squash. So I had a go at creating my own “creamy” soup, and I used canned pumpkin since it was so readily available. The vanilla soy milk I used made it so thick and sweet that my husband and I devoured it! The sage and black pepper balances out the sweetness so it doesn’t taste like you are slurping pumpkin pie. It makes a great compliment to an entree of chicken or turkey. I will probably make this again for our Thanksgiving dinner feast!


1 15oz can pumpkin
5 cups Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk (I measured using pumpkin can: 2 1/2 cans of milk)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


1. Empty pumpkin into a 2 quart saucepan and place burner on medium heat.

Pureed pumpkin in pot.

2. Measure the soy milk in the empty pumpkin can. Slowly stir in Very Vanilla Soymilk until evenly blended.

Soy milk added to pumpkin puree.

3. Add sage, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and sea salt and heat until almost boiling, stirring often.

4. Ladle in a bowl, sprinkle with ground sage, and serve with buttery crackers. We like Social Snackers from Trader Joes; they are dairy free and contain no hydrogenated oils, yet still maintain that buttery taste that is so addicting.

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