With squash season in full force, I give you this incredibly delicious way to make use of the butternut squash you may have laying around. Or, if you don’t have any, here is your reason to go get some!
This healthy Mac and cheese is a vegan twist to an otherwise dairy filled recipe. With the perfectly creamy sauce, you won’t even miss the cheese, believe me! Even though this recipe happens to be vegan, I can assure you that all non-vegan people will appreciate this meal equally as much.
This butternut squash recipe is hitting the mark for all things you are looking for in a good wholesome meal.
I love using Banza chickpea noodles for this recipe. This gives the Mac and cheese a great source of protein, which is what a typical macaroni and cheese recipe tends to lack. The type of noodle does not particularly matter, however I like to use the smaller sized ones, to keep tradition with the classic Mac and cheese recipes.
Butternut squash is a very nutrient dense food, primarily being a source of good carbs. It is rich in fiber, vitamin A, calcium, iron…, the list goes on.
I’m always listing what nutrients are found in the recipes I post, but let’s dive a little deeper into Vitamin A on today’s segment. Vitamin A is the reason why carrots are known for being good for your eyes. This is because it helps to produce the pigments in your retina. (AKA vitamin A helps with good eyesight). Not only your eyes however, it is an essential vitamin for your teeth, bones, soft tissue, and skin.
Although I am not personally vegan, I do love incorporating plant-based recipes into my everyday life. I find often people may see the word vegan associated with a recipe and immediately steer into the other direction because it wouldn’t taste good.
That’s where you pull out this recipe and prove them wrong! The “cheese sauce” has a nice cheesy taste from the nutritional yeast, a creamy texture from the cooked squash, and of course you can’t forget the garlic. Blend them up with a few other ingredients and you won’t think twice about the fact that the recipe is vegan.
Note: If you are not personally a fan of nutritional yeast, or simply don’t have it, you can replace the nutritional yeast with parmesan cheese instead. (This will of course make the recipe non-vegan however).
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe
Yield: 8 servings Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 15 minutes Total time: 45 minutes
- 5 cups butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
- 16 oz Chickpea pasta (I use Banza)*
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast**
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2-2/3 C unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup water (to soak cashews)
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
For breadcrumb topping:
- 1/2-3/4 C homemade breadcrumb
How to make breadcrumb:
- Take two slices of bread of choice (I used whole wheat sourdough from the freezer)
- Pulse in a food processor along with 1 tsp of garlic powder, paprika, and cumin
- Bake on cookie sheet in oven for 10-15 minutes at 350℉.
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- Put cashews in a medium size bowl and pour 1 cup of warm water over them. Let soak while you prepare everything else.
- Peel and cube your butternut squash. If you have a little more/less then 5 cups don’t sweat it, more just makes a creamier sauce.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place cubed squash on it. Drizzle a little olive oil over the squash.
- Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes. (You should be able to easily mash a piece with a fork when done.)
- Cook your pasta according to package.
- Once your squash is ready, drain cashews. Place squash, cashews, spices, nutritional yeast, almond milk, and lemon juice into a blender or food processor and blend to reach a nice creamy sauce. If needed, add more almond milk, however sauce should be fairly thick.
- Serve as is or place in a 9×13 baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake in oven at 350℉ for 15 minutes. (This takes it to the next level.)
*You can really use any kind of pasta you want for this recipe, use whatever kind of noodle you favour and go from there!
**If you are not trying to make this recipe vegan you can equally replace the nutritional yeast with parmesan cheese. (You can also add a sprinkle of it on top with the breadcrumbs if you are all about the cheesiness.)
Per 1 of 8 servings
Calories: 311 Total Fat: 10g Sodium: 386mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 7g Protein: 20g