Vegan Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese Recipe

While mac and cheese might be a universally beloved dish, it's not exactly the healthiest dinner option. Most mac and cheese is high in carbohydrates and fat, which leads to an overall high calorie count, and it's also usually high in sodium. Fortunately, thanks to this vegan butternut squash mac and cheese recipe from wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn, you can have mac and cheese that not only tastes good but is good for you.

"My favorite thing about this recipe is that it is a healthy version of something not so healthy," Hahn says. "This one is a real favorite of mine to make in the fall when squash is at its peak season!"

How can you make mac and cheese without using cheese? And does this dish taste like squash or cheese? "The squash flavor is so neutral that it doesn't really stand out in this dish," says Hahn. "It is great, however, in giving the dish a great consistency and texture and the cheese color!"

You only need a few minutes, a pot, a blender, and a handful of ingredients to make this recipe. Let's get started!

Gather your ingredients

For this recipe, you'll need a yellow onion, vegetable broth, salt, garlic granules, pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, a lemon, and Dijon mustard. You'll also need macaroni noodles. The two ingredients that will provide the bulk of the cheese flavor and texture are raw cashews and nutritional yeast. Don't use roasted cashews if you can avoid it. Raw cashews will have a more neutral flavor and creamy texture after soaking than roasted cashews will.

Nutritional yeast is a form of yeast that has been pasteurized to extract its nutrients, rendering the yeast inactive. It has a bright yellow color and is known for having a cheese-like flavor. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein and B vitamins.

Soak the cashews

The first step in this recipe is to soak the raw cashews. Why soak cashews before blending them? This will soften them and give them a creamier texture, which is just what you want for a mac and cheese sauce.

While some recipes call for an overnight soak, this recipe only requires fifteen minutes of soak time. "I have found that soaking for 15 minutes in boiling water is just as effective," Hahn says. "They can sit in the water longer if the timing works out that way, but 15 minutes does the trick!" Soak the cashews in boiling water for fifteen minutes, drain, and set aside.

Cook the vegetables

Add the onion and squash to a medium pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

If you've read this far and are wondering how to get a butternut squash from a hard squash into cubes without drawing blood, you're not alone! "I think everyone struggles with cutting up a butternut squash," Hahn says. "Almost all stores offer it pre-cut, so 90% of the time, that is what I use."

If you do opt to use a whole butternut squash, Hahn recommends washing it, piercing the squash in several places, and roasting it at 350 F for 20 minutes. After this short period of roasting, it should be easy to cut and peel.

Cook the pasta and finish the sauce

Cook the macaroni noodles according to the instructions on the package and drain. Reserve half a cup of pasta water.

Mix the spices and nutritional yeast together in a bowl. Add the soaked cashews, onion, squash, vegetable broth, mixed spices and nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, and reserved cooking water into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Combine the noodles and the sauce and serve, topping with cilantro or parsley if desired.

Hahn recommends serving this dish with a big green salad or with a green vegetable such as broccoli or asparagus.

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese Recipe
4.7 from 7 ratings
You only need a few minutes, a pot, a blender, and a handful of ingredients to make this vegan mac and cheese recipe. Let's get started!
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
6
servings
vegan mac and cheese
Total time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 16 ounces macaroni noodles
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water
Optional Ingredients
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
Directions
  1. Soak the cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain, and set aside.
  2. Add the onion and squash to a medium pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package. Reserve ½ cup cooking water. Drain and set aside.
  4. Mix the spices and nutritional yeast together in a small bowl.
  5. Add the cashews, onion, squash, broth, nutritional yeast and spice mixture, lemon juice, mustard, and reserved cooking water to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth.
  6. Combine the pasta with the sauce. Top with optional chopped cilantro or parsley if desired. Serve and enjoy.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 433
Total Fat 7.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 73.8 g
Dietary Fiber 9.5 g
Total Sugars 5.6 g
Sodium 489.7 mg
Protein 23.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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