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Creamy macaroni and cheese in a white bowl.
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4.56 from 500 votes

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This is the BEST vegan butternut squash mac and cheese you'll ever have! Made from all whole food plant based ingredients, it's healthy for you too! Kid approved!
Inspired by Veg News Baked Mac and Cheese.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Entrées
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 383kcal

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces package small macaroni noodles cooked according to package directions (use gluten free noodles, if desired)
  • ½ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid or from the squash/onion...either one will work)
  • 1 ½ cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
  • ½ large sweet onion peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  • Add butternut squash, onions and cashews to a pot and cover with water by at least an inch or two. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes or so).
  • Meanwhile, cook macaroni noodles according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid once noodles are done cooking and before draining. Place noodles back in pot and set aside.
  • When squash and onions are tender, drain and add them to a high speed blender with the cashews, lemon juice, salt, dijon, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, nutmeg and reserved cooking liquid from the noodles. Blend until completely smooth. Use a tamper if necessary to push ingredients to the bottom of the blender.
  • Add butternut squash sauce to the macaroni noodles and stir, making sure every noodle is covered in sauce. Warm through if needed.

Video

Notes

*Use raw cashews. They blend up super creamy and have a mild sweet flavor that complements the other flavors of the butternut squash mac and cheese. Roasted salted cashews will be too strong.
*Although the peel of butternut squash is edible, peel it! The end result will be much creamier without the peel.
*To save time, feel free to use pre-chopped butternut squash found in the produce section of the grocery store. Frozen chopped squash can also be used.
*Don't forget to save ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid before draining the noodles! The starch in the water helps create the silky creamy texture.
*Use a high speed blender to ensure the sauce blends up silky smooth.
*If you are making this sauce on it's own without the noodles, you can use water, unsweetened plain non-dairy milk, or the cooking liquid from the squash/onions in place of the pasta cooking water.
*For an extra "cheesy" flavor, try adding 1 tablespoon of mellow white miso (note: contains soy) or 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Blend into the sauce until smooth.
*To make this nut free, use white beans (cannelllini or Great Northern) instead of cashews.
*This sauce is already gluten free. To make the final dish gluten free, choose gluten free noodles.
*This dreamy butternut squash mac and cheese sauce is so versatile. Try serving it over baked potatoes or steamed broccoli, use it as a dip for tortilla chips or french fries, or stir it into soups or chilis.

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 392mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g