Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze: Two Ways

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 10, 2011

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 425F, flipping once half way through baking. You can do this ahead of time if preferred.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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If baking in the oven, add on your breadcrumbs.

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After, 20-25 minutes you have a fun B’nut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze that will serve 3-4 people for a main course.

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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!

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Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze: Two Ways

Butternut Squash idea from Lou. Cheese sauce adapted from my Mac ‘n Cheeze II.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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.

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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!

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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.

Reno Talk

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:

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Meg-Braff-navy-blue-family-room

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We are also considering leaving the crown molding intact and painting over it + shaving the popcorn. We’ll have to see how it goes!

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Oh, and I fell in love this this colour for our bathroom…it is called Lavender Lace by Para Paint.

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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.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

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Julie February 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I made the vegan Mac and cheese for dinner, very yummy! Next time I think I will roast the garlic with the squash. Mine had a very strong garlic flavor that my kids weren’t crazy about. I loved it though!

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Erin March 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I am slowly transitioning to vegan. I eat 4 out of 7 days vegan. My husband is a good sport with the way I am learning to cook now. This came out awesome!! My hubby went back for seconds!!

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Mary March 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I would like to make this recipe for dinner but I don’t have any cashews on hand. Would it be possible to substitute another nut?

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Jaik April 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I just made this to freeze for camping with our vegan daughter-in-law. It’s very tasty! Thanks for the recipe!

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Jenn May 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

What could I use as a cashew substitute? I didn’t see an option for nut free on this recipe?
Thanks in advance!

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Frances July 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I made this recipe today. I’m not vegan but I must say I would eat this and not miss regar Mac ever again. The butternut squash is genius!

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Fiona August 14, 2014 at 9:47 am

I made this for dinner last night and it was really good. Next time I would save some time and use a jar of organic squash baby food, use less tumeric, add in peas, asparagus or broccoli and definitely add some fresh herbs or maybe even spice it up a bit. Great base sauce to build on and make your own, that’s for sure.

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shana August 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Any other substitute for cashews? I find that most “cheese” sauce use cashews, but my son is allergic. (pistachios too are a no no)….

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Jessie December 28, 2015 at 9:03 pm

I’m allergic to all nuts and have this problem, if you’ve found any alternatives I’d be very grateful to you if you let me know. Thank you :)

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Gloria August 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Is there a way to roast the squash without the tsp of oil?

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john September 22, 2014 at 7:24 am

Awesome stuff! We added a can of green chilies and siriacha sauce. It was so good that our non-vegan friends liked it. This will be a staple at our house.

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Margaret October 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm

This looks delicious and is on my to-do list. I’m so glad your recipe works well eating from the pot rather than the oven. I rarely seem to use my oven except for baking cookies and other desserts. Which reminds me, I hope it’s ok to steam the squash rather than roast it without affecting the flavor adversely. Thanks so much..

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Brian November 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Just made this for dinner tonight and everybody loved.
Some hadn’t with the pasta. I cook a spaghetti squash with mine, very good indeed.

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Megan Noel November 22, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Just made your Mac and Cheese it was awesome, even better then the real thing. This will be a new addition to my veggie diet. Thank you

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Melanie December 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

I love this recipe and was wondering if anyone has tried using this sauce to make a potato casserole?

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Ellesha December 11, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Just made this today. SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Big hit with the fam too.

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Patty February 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

Fantastic recipe! I made both versions, baked and not baked. I prefer the non-baked version as I found it to be less dry and you really taste the sauce, which is absolutely delicious. Thank you for all your incredible recipes! I am so happy I found your website back in October!

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Manal February 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I just want to tell you that I love your site. You make me hopeful that I can live a healthier lifestyle without sacrificing all the foods I love. I worked from home today because of the snow and wanted something comforting, so I give this recipe a go, and I am in HEAVEN. So freaking good. I’m bringing some in for my co-workers to try because they kept hearing about it on our call today lol. Thank you so much for always posting such amazing recipes.

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lindsay March 19, 2015 at 11:56 am

I was interested in making this for my 2 year of son. At 9 months he was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, wheat, soy, dairy and egg. I was told to avoid tree nuts as well. Any advice on how I can make this without cashews?

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Jessie December 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm

I have the exact same problem with nut and dairy allergies in my entire household, every vegan Mac and cheese recipe I’ve found requires cashews. I’m really hoping to find a substitute, if you’ve managed to find one anywhere could you please let me know? Thank you :) x

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Megan June 23, 2015 at 7:52 am

I made this last night and for a non-vegan who LOVES Mac and cheese, it was so good. Even my husband liked it. I even switched out the pasta for quinoa. Thank you!

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minervagirlie September 4, 2015 at 8:25 am

A hit. Everyone loved it. I added a whole bag of peas. Next time I will double up on the cheez just because it was sooo good. Thanks for a great recipe that will be a regular.

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Tigerlilly September 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Hi there!
I am very new to vegan cheeze and just made your recipe for butternut squash mac and cheese the first time. I measured exactly as you directed and found the taste to be a little chemically for lack of a better word. I have never used nutritional yeast before. . .is it possible this is where the taste came from? I am prepared to try again– however the first batch was not a success.
thanks for posting such interesting recipes.

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Lizzie December 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm

A disclaimer that my family is not vegan; I’m newly lactose intolerant, and we’re trying to make some healthier choices.
I just made this dish (from the pot) for the family (minus the turmeric–couldn’t find it in my cupboard; I also roasted the butternut squash w/o peeling first, as others have suggested). I liked it and I think it tasted better the 2nd night. I may cut the nutritional yeast to 6 tablespoons next time–the 5 year old and hubby were so-so on it. He (no word of a lie) ended up melting a slice of processed cheese over top of it. Shudder. My daughter’s first word was “cheese” so you can guess where her allegiances lie. All in all, I enjoyed the dish and will make it again.

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Jessie December 28, 2015 at 8:56 pm

I’ve always been dying to try a vegan Mac and cheese recipe, because it’s the food I miss the most! I especially love the use of butternut squash here. But the problem is, I’m highly allergic to nuts; so is there any way to omit/ replace the cashews but still get the creamy consistency in the cheeze sauce? Thanks :) xx

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Claudia June 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Chickpeas work as a really yummy replacement for cashews, too! :)

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Lindsey October 12, 2016 at 10:22 am

You are a creative vegan genius! I’ve always been weary of vegan cheese- but this! There is currently a wheel of Brie sitting in my fridge, and this still wins for lunch today. I did the casserole bake with broccoli + peas in a cast iron skillet. I loved the creaminess of the cheeze sauce, slightly thick and bursting with flavor. Thanks for another great recipe!

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Angela Liddon October 12, 2016 at 2:04 pm

So glad you enjoyed it, Lindsey!

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Venus November 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm

How would you make the cheese sauce with no cashews? I am allergic. Considering walnuts?

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Angela Liddon December 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Hi Venus, You might want to try this recipe! There’s no cashews in it. :)

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Rosie November 23, 2016 at 11:15 am

Hi Angela!

I am obsessed with this recipe. I work for a residential neighborhood for adults 18+ with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are writing a blog post about Food Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving recipes and I would love to include yours! Let me know!

Thanks so much!

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Angela Liddon November 23, 2016 at 11:49 am

Hi Rosie, I’m so flattered you’d like to include this recipe in your post! Please feel free to include it. :) If you’re not changing the original recipe, I”d prefer that you simply link to the original; if you do change the recipe significantly, though, go ahead and post it along with your changes and a link back to the original recipe. Thanks!

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Rosie November 23, 2016 at 11:51 am

Thanks so much Angela! Our audience is going to love it. Would we be able to use your feature image of the finished product? The picture really sells it! I can send you the link once it goes live, as well!

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Angela Liddon November 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Yep, as long as the photo is credited, that’s totally fine by me! And I’d love it if you’d send the link along–I’m looking forward to checking out the post when it goes live! :)

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Rosie November 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Of course! Would you mind emailing me the photo you would like me to use?

Thanks

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Rachel February 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm

This. Is. EVERYTHING! I used sweet potato because I didn’t have butternut squash on hand and it was decadent. I followed Angela’s suggestions of cutting the cashew amount and lemon amount and it turned out wonderfully. I used her roasted brussel sprouts recipe and added those in as my green veggie. The crisp burnt leaves and overall flavor of the sauce was AMAZING! Highly recommend.

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Tracy August 12, 2017 at 8:03 am

I want to make this for our church potluck. Anyone tried making this the day before, storing in the fridge and cooking the next day? I’m wondering how the sauce hold up. Thanks!

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Angela Liddon September 1, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Hey Tracy. I think you could make the sauce the day before (I can’t see why not!). I hope you enjoy it!

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