Oh, vegan mac and cheese, how can we best describe how you make us feel inside? If we were to pick our favorite food group, it would likely be vegan mac and cheese. It’s like giving yourself a hug. There’s just nothing that comes close to the warm, cozy feeling you get when you sit down to a plate of paste enveloped in creamy, cheesy sauce — even when that sauce doesn’t contain any dairy. Or, we should say, especially when that sauce has no dairy because when it comes to making vegan mac, there are a lot of ways you can get the job done.

You can go a more traditional route and make a roux with flour, vegan butter, and nutritional yeast, an ingredient that, despite its strange name, is delicious and makes things taste cheesy. You can make vegan cheesy sauce with carrots and potatoes and hit your quota for veggies and comfort food in one go. You could even use cauliflower, zucchini, and sweet potato, too. But when fall weather sets in, we know just what we want in our dairy-free mac and cheese sauce: butternut squash.

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This delicious fall veg is one of the most popular of all winter squashes. You can roast it, put it in curry, spiralize it into noodles and pair it with a creamy sauce, or make a stellar holiday entrée by stuffing it with eggplant, zucchini, and a mushroom stuffing. And oh yeah, you best believe that you can also make a delicious mac and cheese sauce from it. To help you out, we searched the Food Monster App for some tempting vegan mac and cheese recipes made with butternut squash:

1. Creamy Butternut Mac and CheeseButternut Mac and Cheese

This recipe for Creamy Mac and Cheese by Rachel Hanawalt swaps high-fat butter and cheese for more nutrient-dense butternut squash, cashews, and nutritional yeast. With all the ingredients combined into a creamy sauce, the recipe really does taste like mac n’ cheese.

2. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese CasseroleButternut Squash Mac and Cheese Casserole 8

This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Casserole by Gabrielle St. Claire is comfort food heaven. Sweet, creamy butternut squash is paired with decadently cheesy macaroni elbows and sealed with a unique flatbread topping. The finishing touches really put it over the top, from the smoky Shiitake bacon to the red pepper flakes and maple syrup. Normally, we’d say this casserole is perfect to make for a week of easy meals, but we know this one will only last a few days.

3. Cheesy Seasonal Pumpkin (or Butternut) MacCheesy Seasonal Pumpkin Mac [Vegan]

This Seasonal Mac and Cheese by Azucena Noriega is made with pumpkin purée for a boost of nutrition and a rich, orange color that makes you think of autumn leaves and decking yourself out in scarves and sweaters. Instead of using pumpkin purée, try swapping in a can of butternut squash purée!

4. Butternut Cauliflower Mac and Cheese 

This rich, cheesy Butternut Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Casserole by Julie Zimmer is so warm and cheesy, but lower in saturated fat compared to the traditional dish. The secret is replacing the cheese with a sauce made from butternut squash and cauliflower, then folding in dairy-free cheese shreds so you still get that ooey-gooey texture. Yum!

5. Smoky Butternut Mac and CheeseSmoky Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese

This recipe for Smoky Butternut Mac and Cheese by Alena Grahn takes it to the next level with lapsang souchong tea (or a dash of liquid smoke). On top of that, it’s packed with green peas, sun-dried tomatoes, and a sunflower seed crumble topping.

For more tips on how to make dairy-free mac and cheese like a pro, read These Ingredients Will Take Your Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese to the Next Level and then check out our vegan mac and cheese recipes page.

If you’re looking for more delicious and seasonal plant-based recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

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Lead image source: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Casserole