Bake your sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Lightly slash or prick the sweet potatoes several times with a sharp knife to allow for even ventilation. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet (line with parchment paper for easy cleanup). Bake for 45-60 minutes (depending on size), or until the potatoes are fork-tender and don’t give any resistance.1. NOTE: you can also roast/bake the sweet potatoes up to a few days in advance.
Meanwhile, soak the sunflower seeds in boiling water for 30 minutes (or longer). After soaking, drain.
Shortly before the sweet potatoes are done baking, start cooking your pasta and start cooking the onions/garlic.
For the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add your pasta of choice and cook according to the package instructions until just al dente (don’t overcook)! Before draining, be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Or, drain the pasta in a colander set over a bowl to catch the pasta water.
For the onions and garlic, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Once hot, add onions and season with a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally and cook until a light brown fond starts to form on the surface of the pan, about 5 minutes. Add a few spoons of water to deglaze, and stir. Continue cooking the onions, adding more water every few minutes and stirring frequently to prevent burning, until onions are softened and golden brown, 9-10 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes, until lightly golden. Turn off the heat and transfer the onions/garlic to a stand blender (or food processor). Wipe out the frying pan.
Make the chipotle sweet potato sauce. Peel and discard the baked sweet potato skins (use oven mitts or wait until they’re slightly cooled). Add the potato flesh to the blender with the onion-garlic mixture. Add the soaked and drained sunflower seeds, chipotle peppers, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper to taste, nutritional yeast, lime juice, plant-based milk, and 1/2 cup (120 mL) of the water. Blend on high speed until smooth, creamy, and thick, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water (60 mL) if needed to thin out (you can also thin out the pasta sauce with the pasta cooking water). Taste for seasonings.
Mix the pasta and sauce. Pour the sauce into the wiped-out frying pan. Heat up for 30-60 seconds, then add the hot cooked pasta into the sauce. Toss to combine with tons or a wooden spoon, and add a ladle or two of pasta water as needed to achieve your desired pasta sauce consistency. It should be thick and creamy yet thin enough to coat the pasta.
Serve the pasta with your favorite protein. For Beyond Meat sausage, heat up a frying pan (the same one used for the onions/garlic) over medium-high heat with a tiny drop of oil. Add the sausage links directly to the pan, and then use a wooden spoon to crumble them, similar to traditional sausage. Cook for a few minutes until well browned.