Cheesy Pumpkin Sage Penne with Sausage

I questioned whether I should really post this recipe or not. For one, I've seen like a bazillion pumpkin pasta recipes in just the last three days alone. However, I'll have you know that I made this like a week ago, okay!? And second, I adapted it from...Rachael Ray. Disgust. Apparently my distaste for Rachael knows no bounds. That, and I couldn't get any good photos. Yes, the odds were definitely against me on this one, but this pasta was much too delicious not to share! It'd be a crime, and rather selfish. Plus, I wanted to share photos from our first ski of the Winter with you! There's currently no snow around here, so we had to go seek it out in the mountains. 

And we were not disappointed. Alaskan beauty at it's finest! Winter is the best time of the year. You can see those photos below the recipe, but first, it's pumpkin time! 


I said, "It's pumpkin time!" This pasta is creamy, cheesy and packed with pumpkiny goodness. The sage lends depth and the sausage...well, you have to have some vegan sausage right? Yes.

Cheesy Pumpkin Sage Penne with Sausage

Inspired by Food Network

Serves 4-6

  • 18 oz. penne pasta, dry
  • 2 Field Roast Smoked Apple and Sage Grain Sausages, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves,  minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella, shredded 
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast  
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, minced

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside until ready to use. 

Bring a medium frying pan to heat with a bit of nonstick cooking spray and brown the sausage slices, for about 5 minutes. Set aside when done until ready to use.

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Bring a medium frying pan to heat with a bit of nonstick cooking spray and brown the sausage slices, for about 5 minutes. Set aside when done until ready to use.Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent and the garlic becomes fragrant. 

Produce On Parade - Cheesy Pumpkin Sage Penne with Sausage

Add the remaining ingredients to the onion and garlic, excluding the sage and sausage. Whisk well to combine and allow to simmer over medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add additional cornstarch as is needed. 

Once thickened, add to the pasta and toss to coat, along with the sausage slices.

Produce On Parade - Cheesy Pumpkin Sage Penne with Sausage

Serve hot, with additional sage and cheese to top it off!

Produce On Parade - Cheesy Pumpkin Sage Penne with Sausage

Now onto those Alaskan Winter photos I promised! 

Produce On Parade Produce On Parade Produce On Parade Produce On Parade Produce On Parade Produce On Parade Produce On ParadeI'm listening to Wild Child – Crazy Bird

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Meatless Jerky? Meatless Jerky!

Well, it's summer in Alaska. And it's hot. Like, unseasonably hot. This is a good(ish) thing because the last three years have been awfully rainy. Summer in Alaska means two things to someone who was born and raised here. Number one is tourists. Oh, the tourists. That's for another post though. And number two is backpacking. Yes, almost as wonderful as skiing.

The problem with backpacking in Alaska is that come mid-June, in town there will be lush, greenery bursting from the trees, the grass will be waving in the wind and (hopefully) the hot sun will rest on your shoulders and back. However, up where the backpacking happens...erm...not so much. Todd, Gracie and I went up to the April Bowl in Hatcher Pass to hike this weekend and though it opened early due to our unseasonably warm temperatures, there was still snow! Check it out yourself!

Backpacking and hiking has been on our minds ever since we got back from Ohio. It's in our blood and we have the itch, people! I began thinking about how I needed go to the store and get some of our backpacking essentials. Our list includes lightweight, nutrient dense foods. We sometimes make our own dehydrated dishes or purchase some at REI. We also always bring some trail mix and beef jerky. Oh dear. Beef jerky is not going to fly with our vegan values. I pondered this for quite some time until I decided that it would be an awful thing to subject Todd to, no beef jerky on our backpacking trips. So, of course I began searching for a meatless beef jerky. I just knew someone had to make it. And that someone(s) are the good vegan people at Primal Spirit Foods. I first found this meatless jerky on (where my research knows no bounds) and I received an assortment of strips to test and review.

Oh yes, people. It exists. Meatless vegan jerky is a thing and it is downright tasty! Besides their tastylicious jerky, I love their mission statement too.

"We at Primal Spirit Foods are dedicated to offering the consumer healthy, high-quality, meat alternative foods and other products that all are natural and good tasting...We have purposely chosen the manufacturing and sale of meat alternative food and healthier products as an expression of our desire to act more harmoniously with the environment, and our fellow living beings."

Makes my heart sing! I'm also immensely happy that they are vegan and not just vegetarian. It's difficult to find "meatless" products that don't have egg or milk in them! Seriously. Why not just go all the way? Lots of people have dairy and/or egg allergies! Why not take them into consideration? I don't just doesn't make sense to me. Okay, okay, I'll get off my soapbox. I'm so sassy today!

Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky

What: Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky come in six flavors. Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime, Teriyaki, Hot & Spicy, Hickory Smoked, and Texas BBQ. I love how there is a flavor for nearly everyone! They range from 78-108 calories each. They are lightweight and are great for camping, backpacking or slipping into lunches. I think I'll keep a few in my car and purse for those times hunger strikes!

How: The Thai Peanut, Mesquite Lime and Teriyaki jerky stips are seitan based. The Hot & Spicy jerky is made from shiitake mushrooms and the Hickory Smoked and Texas BBQ jerkys are soy based.

Why: Because jerky doesn't have to be cruel, and it can be absolutely delicious being plant-based as opposed to meat-based. But to be honest, I think they made it for Todd and me and our Alaskan backpacking adventures. Sounds about right.

Cost: Depending on how it's purchased on Amazon, Primal Strips will cost anywhere from $1.05-$1.67 per strip. Not bad! This might vary in your local stores, however.

Taste: Todd and I both really enjoyed the bold flavors! My favorite was the Mesquite Lime, with the Thai Peanut a close second. Todd's favorite was the Texas BBQ. We loved how spot-on the flavors were. There wasn't one we didn't enjoy! They were a tad salty for my tastes, but when hiking, salty is just what you need.

Compare: The jerky sort of resembles a really fatty, marbled piece of meat which I found to be slightly disturbing at first. It isn't tough like meat jerky is, it's very tender. I appreciated that and Todd as well. This vegan jerky would be a great alternative to meat jerky for the elderly and children as it is much easier to consume. It also doesn't get stuck in your teeth! Yay!

Convert: Still an omnivore? If you're trying to be healthier or just want to try something new or impress your friends, give this meatless jerky a try. Just because am a vegan doesn't mean I was a little unsure of such a thing as meatless vegan jerky. I don't just sit around in my hemp pajamas (I don't own any hemp clothes...for the record) and eat bowls of tofu and seitan. In fact, I had seitan for the first time just last week!

Recurrence: I will definitely be purchasing these. I think they will be great to take along for our adventures as they are lightweight, nutritious and tasty. I'll also keep a few around in my purse in case I need an emergency snack. I already ordered my first box from Amazon!

Someone really wanted to try one...but, it was too good to share. Are doggy treats from Primal Spirit Foods next?

*Disclaimer*  Produce On Parade is a personal blog written and edited by myself and Todd only, unless otherwise noted. Our reviews are completely based on our own opinions of the product reviewed. We are not paid to write posts. This product was supplied to us as a gift by the company to test and review. Otherwise, if we mention a company by name and there is no disclaimer at the bottom of the post, we am merely writing about something we like, purchase and/or use. The fact that we do receive a product as a gift to test and review, will never positively influence the content made in our post.