I have been dying to add butternut squash into my Mac ‘n Cheeze recipe ever since I featured Lou’s Macaroni Un-Cheese recipe in my Recipe Link Love last week. Butternut squash pureed into macaroni and cheese just sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? It is also a fun way to sneak in another veggie.
I also happen to love Butternut Squash, but I always forget to buy it at the grocery store, so this was a great reminder to buy one.
I ended up playing around with my original cheese sauce recipe and I made two versions, the second one I will be sharing with you today.
The first thing you do is peel and chop half of a Butternut Squash. Place it into a bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil and some salt ‘n pepa!
Roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 425F, flipping once half way through baking. You can do this ahead of time if preferred.
Buttery squashy deliciousness!
While the squash is roasting, make your ‘cheeze sauce’ in the food processor. I adapted my original recipe quite a bit and I was really happy with the result. This cheeze sauce is also easier to make than the other version which is always nice.
Now, add the roasted squash into the cheeze sauce and process until smooth. It makes about 3.5 cups of sauce.
Cook your desired pasta. I used a full bag (~450 grams or 4.5 cups dry pasta) of Brown Rice Penne for the casserole option.
Drain the pasta and add in the cheese sauce. Depending on how much sauce you want, you might not use it all. I also added some peas and you can get creative with any kinds of mix-ins you want. Broccoli is also fantastic. You can also add a bit of non-dairy milk if the sauce thickens up too much.
At this point you can enjoy your pasta a couple ways:
1) Heat the mixture in the pot and serve immediately.
2) Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
For my first trial, I baked it in the oven and for the second trial I enjoyed it heated up straight from the pot without baking. I think I like it straight from the pot because it isn’t as thick and heavy as the casserole.
If baking in the oven, add on your breadcrumbs.
After, 20-25 minutes you have a fun B’nut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze that will serve 3-4 people for a main course.
If you serve it straight from the pot, the great thing is that you can make only as much as you want. If you only want 1 serving of pasta, you can add as much sauce as you need and then store the rest in the fridge. I’m not sure how long the sauce keeps in the fridge (3-4 days would be my guess), but I’m sure the sauce recipe can also be halved too!
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze: Two Ways
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped (yields: 3.5 cups raw)
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened + unflavoured soy milk), or more to thin out
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, optional (gives the orangey colour)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Paprika + more to season
- Your pasta of choice (I used ~450 grams/4.5 cups dry penne for the casserole) + mix-ins
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet. In a bowl, season chopped squash with some oil (~1 tsp) and kosher salt (couple pinches) and stir. Add to baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.
2. If making the baked casserole: Process 1 slice of bread + 1 tbsp Earth balance until crumbs form in a food processor. Set aside. If you plan on enjoying it straight from the pot you can skip this step.
3. Assemble your cheeze 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. 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.
5. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Now add the pasta back into the same pot and add your desired amount of cheeze 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 (I used a 4 cup dish), sprinkle on breadcrumbs + paprika, and bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. The casserole will serve about 4 people if you use 450 grams dry macaroni or penne. Store any leftover sauce in the fridge and use within a few days.
The first trial I made came out just OK (I think I used too much lemon juice and cashews), but Eric and I both enjoyed the second trial! You can’t really detect the butternut squash, but it does provide a nice flavour overall and I love getting in another vegetable. For the second trial, I reduced the lemon, cut the cashews in half, and adjusted the rest of my cheeze sauce ingredients.
I encourage you to adjust the sauce to your own taste buds because I find that vegan cheeze sauces are such a ‘personal preference’ kinda thing!
The casserole is fun, but I think for simplicity sake, I prefer heating it up in a pot and enjoying it immediately. I’m an instant gratification kinda gal when it comes to pasta.
Thank you for your nice comments and suggestions on my home reno before and after post. :) A couple readers suggested that the living room would look great with Navy paint and I think that is a lovely idea! Navy and orange go together really nicely. I talked to Eric about it and he loved the idea too. I think we might use Navy walls with white trim for the living room. I have a feeling it might be tough to pick a shade of navy though. If anyone out there has a shade of navy paint they enjoy, I would love your suggestions!
Here are a few pictures I found for inspiration:
We are also considering leaving the crown molding intact and painting over it + shaving the popcorn. We’ll have to see how it goes!
Oh, and I fell in love this this colour for our bathroom…it is called Lavender Lace by Para Paint.
I love girly looking bathrooms. I haven’t mentioned this paint idea to Eric yet…It might have to be one of those ‘Surprise! Look what I did while you were at work today!’ kinda jobs. ;)
PS- I am going through cupcake withdrawal today.