This butternut squash mac and cheese made with an entire pound of butternut is insanely creamy, savory and oh so comforting. A lactose free mac and cheese from scratch that you won’t believe it’s vegan, gluten free and healthy. Cozy, nutritious, really easy to make and perfect for the Thanksgiving table.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
If you are looking to make a festive, super delicious mac and cheese without lactose, milk or processed cheese, this out of this world recipe is for you. A veggie loaded silky cheesy sauce featuring butternut squash, nutritional yeast, cashews and aromatics. It all comes together in the blender and ready to coat your favorite pasta in no time.
Besides making the ultimate roasted butternut squash soup, this recipe has to be the most delicious use of this nutty winter vegetable.
Ingredient Tips + FAQ
- Butternut Squash – The milder of all winter squashes and pumpkins it lends itself beautifully to the silkiest creamy sauce. You can take the quick route and boil it in the same water you are going to cook your pasta in, or oven roast it with a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt @400″F for 30 minutes until lightly caramelized around the edges.
- Onion – A medium yellow onion sautéed until wilted and just to the point of getting some color and bring out its natural sweetness. In the blender it goes with all the rest.
- Cashews – Instead of milk and for the utmost lusciousness and richness of the sauce. No need for soaking if you have a powerful blender, otherwise a quick 20 minute soak in hot water or boiling them with the squash is recommended.
- Nutritional Yeast / Nooch – How would I ever live without you?! The savory, umami cheesy flavor this delicious condiment adds to dishes is like no other. A great source of plant based protein, minerals and loaded with B-vitamins, this deactivated yeast also contains all 9 essential amino acids. You need this in your life and most definitely for making the best dairy free mac and cheese.
- Spices – A little onion and garlic powder, some dijon and a tiny pinch of turmeric for a deeper golden hue. Chili powder is nice for a spicy kick if your taste buds fancy that.
- White Miso – Totally optional but soooo good if you happen to have some in your fridge. Adding umami depth of flavor and boosting the nutrient profile, a simple healthy way to elevate your sauce.
- Water or Veggie Broth – You’ll need this to emulsify the sauce. If I boil the squash I’ll usually just reserve a cup of the water I cooked it in, if I happen to go the oven roasted route I’ll just add regular water. You can certainly use veggie broth instead but really not necessary, there’s plenty of flavor here.
- Pasta – If you are looking for the ultimate comforting pasta then you know that IGP / Indicazione Geografica Protetta Italian grown durum wheat semolina is my go to. Small shapes with ridges cooked “al dente” are the best to capture lots of creamy sauce. For the healthiest option choose a whole grain pasta or gluten-free if needed. It’s also important to have the right pasta to sauce ratio. For an extra saucy mac only use 3/4 lb of pasta, you can still cook one pound bag so you can have extra if you decide you’d like to add more.
Make Ahead + Storage
The butternut squash sauce ca be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 5 days. It reheats beautifully on the stovetop, might need to whisk in a splash of veggie stock to loosen it and emulsify or run it through the blender. The macaroni is best cooked before serving, however if you must prep ahead just store the sauce and the pasta separately for best results.
- Toasted bread crumb topping
- Oven roasted cherry tomatoes
- Crispy fried onions
- Roasted broccoli
- Roasted sweet potato rounds
- Grilled tofu as shown
- Delicata squash
- Focaccia Bread.
- Pasta e Ceci
- Farrotto Butternut Squash Risotto
- Aglio e Olio
- Mushroom and Potatoes
- Best Pizza Dough Recipe
- Italian Couscous
- Ribollita Soup.
how to make butternut squash mac and cheese
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 yellow onion sliced
- 1 lb butternut squash peeled + cubed
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces
- 3 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 tsp dijon mustard
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp white miso paste
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 lb pasta rigate you can use 1 lb
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the butternut squash. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes or so. Using a slotted spoon transfer the squash to the bowl of a powerful blender together with 1 cup of the water. Keep the rest of the water to boil your pasta in.1 lb butternut squash
- Adjust the heat if needed and make sure to bring the water back up to a rolling boil. Add another pinch of salt and stir in the pasta. Cook until al dente according to package direction and drain well.3/4 lb pasta rigate
- Meanwhile preheat a large heavy bottom skillet and sautee the onion with a drizzle of olive oil (or water) and a pinch of salt until softened and it starts to get some color.1 yellow onion
- Transfer the onion to the food processor together with the butternut, water, cashews, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders, mustard, salt and miso if using. Process on the hot liquid setting until silky smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.1 lb butternut squash, 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces, 3 tsp onion powder, 3/4 tsp garlic powder, 2-3 tsp dijon mustard, 1.5 tsp sea salt, 2 tsp white miso paste, 1 cup water
- Combine the butternut sauce with 3/4 pound of the pasta. Toss to coat well all over. Keep it extra saucy or add the rest of the pasta if desired.3/4 lb pasta rigate
- Preheat your oven to 400”F. Toss the butternut squash cubes with a drizzle of olive oil, a good pinch of sea salt and some chili flakes for heat. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until golden around the edges. Add to the food processor with the cashews, all the spices and 1 cup of water. Process until silky smooth.1 lb butternut squash
- Butternut Squash - The milder of all winter squashes and pumpkins it lends itself beautifully to the silkiest creamy sauce. You can take the quick route and boil it in the same water you are going to cook your pasta in, or oven roast it with a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt @400"F for 30 minutes until lightly caramelized around the edges.
- Pasta - If you are looking for the ultimate comforting pasta then you know that IGP / Indicazione Geografica Protetta Italian grown durum wheat semolina is my go to. Small shapes with ridges cooked "al dente" are the best to capture lots of creamy sauce. For the healthiest option choose a whole grain pasta or gluten-free if needed. It's also important to have the right pasta to sauce ratio. For an extra saucy mac only use 3/4 lb of pasta, you can still cook one pound bag so you can have extra if you decide you'd like to add more.
- Grilled Tofu - To prepare the grilled tofu in the photo start with a pack of firm or extra firm tofu (drained + pressed of excess of water + sliced into sticks). Marinade: 1/4 cup Tamari + 1 Tbsp maple syrup + 2 tsp liquid smoke. Combine and coat all over and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Preheat a cast iron grilled over medium high heat and lightly brush with oil to prevent sticking. Grill the tofu for a couple of minutes on all sides until nice grill marks form. Serve with the butternut mac.
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