Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”

I am a total sucker for comfort food and mac and cheese happens to be high on that list. Since shaping up my diet a few years ago, I am always looking for ways to healthify those sinful foods we all know and love. I first made a healthy mac and cheese with a carrot puree (HERE) and thought it was absolutely genius! I couldn’t believe how good it was! So when I saw Angela’s post, from Oh She Glows, for Vegan Mac and Cheese, I had to give it a whirl. Both renditions were equally nutritious, fabulously delicious and still tasted totally different.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 cups raw butternut squash, chopped
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 6-7 tbsp¬†Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp country dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, optional (gives the orangey color)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Paprika + more to season
  • Your choice of whole wheat rotini noodles, quinoa noodles or a gluten free brand ( I went with the quinoa, my fav!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet.  In a bowl, season chopped squash with 1 tsp oil and couple pinches of sea salt and stir. Add to baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.

2. Assemble your cheese sauce ingredients (cashews, non-dairy milk, garlic, lemon, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, mustard, seasonings) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal.

3. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth. Leave the sauce in the processor as you will be adding the squash.

4. Cook your pasta according to package directions. When squash is finished roasting, add it to the food processor and blend it with the cheese sauce until smooth. Adjust to taste. The sauce will thicken up with time. If at any point the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit of milk to thin it out.

Before:

After:

5. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water.

6. Now add the pasta back into the same pot and add your desired amount of cheese sauce on top. Stir well. Add in any desired mix-ins like peas or broccoli. You can either heat this up in the pot, or pour it into a casserole dish, sprinkle on panko + paprika, and bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.

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Random questions of the day

1. What is your favorite comfort food? Have you ever tried to make a healthified version of it?

2. What would you like to see more of on Dishin’ About Nutrition?

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27 responses to “Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”

  1. This is impressive and very very inventive. I want to try it now and experiement with veggies and nutritional yeast!

  2. I’ve never had butternut squash!!! I need to try it though! My favorite comfort food is definitely macaroni and cheese, and lots of pizza haha! I’d love to see more posts on your daily life. Maybe like a day in the life of you? Your blog is fabulous though!!!

  3. Wow, this recipe is awesome and I love the idea of adding roasted butternut squash to the “cheese” sauce.

    What does quinoa pasta taste like? I’ve seen it on store shelves but I’ve yet to get around to trying it.

  4. Whoaaaa, I’m in love with this concept! It’s really good? I can hardly imagine, but I am totally going to try this. Love the concept of healthy comfort food!!!

  5. Oh my goodness this looks amazing! :)

    Whitney

  6. oh mannn this looks good. comfort food …i love ice cream, so whipped frozen bananas will do the trick. to replace french fries, i make sweet potato fries. YUM!

  7. Oh this one is totally bookmarked to try too! I make a squash and cheese casserole every few weeks or so… of course i’ll LOVE this too! =)

  8. I have been eying that recipe for awhile now too but never made it. I will have to try that soon, as well as the one you mentioned with the carrots. Mac and cheese (or anything cheese, lol) is definitely high up on my fav comfort food list. I am also a big pizza lover, it was all I could eat while I was pregnant… no wonder it is my daughter’s favorite now too, lol.

  9. Looks so delicious! Good work :)

  10. Looks delicious! That would be a great dinner to make for the family (:

  11. I LOVE mac n cheese! Probably one of my personal favorite comfort foods. Oh and cornbread and butter. YES PLEASE.

  12. I need nutritional yeast asap. I’ve never thought to make mac and cheese with squash. I love it :D

  13. This is SUCH a good idea! I love mac and cheese- it’s one of my favorite comfort foods :) Too much cheese makes me feel sick, so I definitely appreciate this recipe. Butternut squash is also one of my favorite foods!

  14. I’m in butternut squash HEAVEN with this. Wonderful recipe!

  15. I love cheese so much that I just can’t have a replacement for the real thing. Real cheese is just too good!

  16. That looks yummy! I use nutritional yeast occasionally, but the smell kind of turns me off a bit. It reminds me of that goldfish flake food – I used to have fish way back when and I SWEAR that is what nooch smells like. Haha :) But I haven’t tried it in a recipe like this so maybe I should give it a chance.

    • haha it totally does! Now that’s all I’m going to think of! haha JK It actually is really great (especially because I loooove cheese and I think cutting back might be a good thing since I think I am a tad bit lactose..) Let me know if you experiment with it at all!

  17. Macaroni and cheese is definitely my comfort food of choice. This looks fantastic, and I’ll definitely remember it the next time cravings kick in. :-) I could never give up cheese completely, but love trying alternatives! I think the key for me is not thinking of the “fake cheese” as cheese, rather as something delicious in and of itself!

    Thanks for the recipe, Jessica! xoxo

  18. This looks awesome, I definitely want to try it! Creative and delicious looking for sure!

  19. Pingback: GFCF mac and “cheese” recipes « Raising a Sensitive Child

  20. When I was a teen, I thought that a whole bunch of acne was a common thing. After cutting dairy out of my diet, I noticed that I only got a pimple or two every couple of weeks! So, I really think this recipe is awesome! I have half of a butternut squash in the fridge; now I know what to do with it! My favorite comfort food used to be my mom’s blackberry cobbler… and filet o’ fishes from McDonalds. Yikes!

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