Oh my goodness. Creamy Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. It’s vegan and it’s from the heavens.
I must say I used to love mac and cheese before going vegan… I mean… who doesn’t love it? Especially the mac and cheese bowl from Noodles and Company. Don’t worry, this recipe is basically comparable.
Now that there’s a certain chill in the air, some warm dishes sound pretty darn good. We had our first dusting of snow hit Chicago on Friday… which was Halloween… in case you forgot. Talk about buzz kill. I’m so over Chicago! We didn’t go out. We drank wine and watched scary movies, while indulging in a couple Chocolate Pumpkin Cups… I’m sure my attitude would have been different if it was warmer… I just can’t stand the cold anymore. I’m officially over it. I’m fully aware that the frigid icy weather hasn’t even started yet. What can I say, I know I’m meant to live in southern Cali.
Over the chilly weekend, I was craving mac and cheese. Most of my recipes come to life from a certain craving. This recipe turned out deliciously creamy, cheesy, warming and beautiful. It’s one of those that you share with your family to show them how tasty vegan food can be. Even the haters will go silent once they try this Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.
Blended up butternut squash (roasted of course) is yummy on its own but when you add the “cheesy” ingredients and spices… I would say it tastes like cheesy mac and cheese. I haven’t tasted actual cheese for a long time, but from what I remember, this cheese sauce is it! Marty seemed to agree 🙂
I added spinach and the leftover butternut squash for some extra greens and veggie goodness because greens are king, and I only used 1/4 cup of cashews in the sauce to cut down on the fat. I honestly think the cashews aren’t necessary though. Next time I may not add them at all.
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 teaspoons olive/coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 box/package of pasta; your choice (450 grams)
- 1.5 cups unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or your milk of choice)
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (for added color!)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- tiny dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
- Sprinkle of breadcrumbs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Peel and chop the butternut squash. Be very careful during this step, it can be tricky! Don’t cut your finger off. Transfer chopped squash to a bowl and add the oil and salt. Mix around until combined and all squash is covered. Transfer to the lined baking sheet. Spread out evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until soft.
- Meanwhile, start to boil water for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to directions. Once cooked, drain and add the pasta back into the pot.
For the cheese sauce
- In a blender, combine almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, garlic, sea salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika and cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Add half of the roasted butternut squash to the blender and blend again until smooth.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta in the pot and turn on the heat to medium just to warm it up. Mix until well combined. Add the spinach and the remaining half of the butternut squash (optional) and mix again. (You can save the remaining half of the butternut squash for a different recipe or add it to the pasta).
- Sprinkle bread crumbs over top and serve.
- Serving Size: 4
I have Thanksgiving recipes on my mind now and I think this one is definitely a contender!