Not particularly enthused with the idea of eating ho-hum turkey sandwiches with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Me neither. Turkey Casserole with White Beans, Sage and Pumpkin “Cream” Sauce is much more my style.
I know it might seem like a gussied up and time-consuming way to serve leftover turkey, but this dish really is so easy to make. As long as you already have the turkey cooked, the whole turkey casserole can be made with only about 20-minutes of hands-on time. I like to serve it along side a simple kale salad.
And by the way, there’s no reason you can’t make turkey casserole all throughout the year simply by substituting leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken for the turkey (for the record, I always buy pasture-raised chicken and turkey.)
The idea for the pumpkin “cream” sauce was inspired by a decadent sounding pasta with creamy pumpkin sauce and toasted hazelnut recipe I found online from Food and Wine magazine. The recipe sounded so super good but I just didn’t want to use the butter, mascarpone and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese the recipe called for. But thanks to one of my favorite new clean grocery finds, nut-based Kite Hill Cheese, I was able to make an incredibly luscious pumpkin cream sauce completely dairy free. Kite Hill Cheese is practically the only non-dairy cheese I will eat other than Dr. Cow brand because most non-dairy cheeses not only taste terrible but are also made with a bunch of funky and not-so-clean ingredients. If you can’t find Kite Hill Cheese you can always substitute a thick cashew cream sauce instead (Note: cashew cream sauce can be made simply by blending cashews with water and a touch of unrefined sea salt in a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix.)
- 8 ounces dried whole grain pasta shells
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups onion (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 can (15 ounces BPA-free boxed pumpkin puree (such as Pacific Natural Foods brand))
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Kite Hill Cheese “Cream Cheese Style Spread”
- Unrefined sea salt (to taste)
- White pepper (to taste)
- 1 can (15 ounces BPA-free white beans (such as Eden Foods brand), rinsed and drained)
- 1/2 pound roasted pasture-raised turkey (or chicken pieces, chopped)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta back to the pot and set the water aside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low-medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and sage and cook until onion is softened, about 7-minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, pumpkin puree and Kite Hill “Cream Cheese Style Spread”. Process until smooth and creamy (Note: add the remaining 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water if you want a thinner sauce.
- Pour the pumpkin “cream” sauce over the pasta and gently stir to coat. Stir in the cooked chicken and beans. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
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