I love macaroni and cheese. It is hearty. It is comforting. It is down right delicious! I would probably eat mac and cheese every week if it was…well, a bit healthier! My cravings for comfort foods, like mac and cheese, are always in full swing around this time of year, and lucky for me (and you!) squash season is at its prime. Using Ashlee’s recipe as inspiration, I cooked up a healthier version of one of my favorite dishes.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
*This dish can be made vegan (my version was) or not. The non-vegan version ingredients will be in italics.
EVOO cooking spray
1 small butternut squash
1/2 tsp salt
3 servings of whole wheat pasta (I used rotini pasta)
1 cup of chopped broccoli, optional
2 cups of unsweetened almond milk or dairy milk
3 TB of nutritional yeast, optional (if not using nutritional yeast, add additional dairy or dairy-free cheese)
1/2 tsp of sage
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of Daiya dairy-free cheese (I used the Mozzarella version because it was all that was available at my grocery store, but I would recommend using the Cheddar version) or shredded part-skim cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with EVOO cooking spray.
2. Cut the top and bottom off of the butternut squash. Carefully cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and membranes.
3. Place the butternut squash cut side down onto the baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Allow the squash to cool.
4. Once the squash has cooled, remove the squash from the peel, place into a bowl, and set aside.
5. Boil salted water in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions. If using, add chopped broccoli during the last 2 minutes of the pasta’s cooking time. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
6. While the pasta is cooking, combine almond milk and squash in a large pan and cook over medium heat until the squash is very soft. Using a potato masher, mash the squash as much as possible.
7. At this point, add nutritional yeast, sage, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, and black pepper. Stir until combined. Add Daiya cheese or dairy cheese and stir until melted. At this point, the sauce should be rather thick. Add additional cheese, if necessary.
8. Combine the pasta, broccoli, and “cheese” sauce and stir until well-mixed.
Serve the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with your favorite side dish. I chose cooked frozen peas….cuz….I love ‘em! ;)
Talk about getting most of your vegetables servings for the day in in just one meal: butternut squash, broccoli, and peas! Who knew a classic comfort food could be so healthy?
Disclaimer: If you are expecting this to taste EXACTLY like mac and cheese, you might be disappointed. However, this vegan, healthified version is GOOD! Give it a try :) .