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Creamy Butternut Mac and Cheese [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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For many of us, mac and cheese was a dinnertime staple. This recipe for mac and cheese 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.

Creamy Butternut Mac and Cheese [Vegan, Gluten-Free]





Cook Time



  • 1 16-ounce box macaroni noodles of your choice, cooked
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water
  • 4 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large clove minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2-2 1/2 cups reserved pasta water


  1. Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in water overnight, making sure that they are completely submerged in water.
  2. Combine the chopped butternut squash, sweet onions, and olive oil in an oven-safe pan. Coat completely with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook in a 425ºF oven, covered, for 30-35 minutes. The squash is done cooking once tender and falling apart. Add 1 clove of minced garlic to the pan and stir to combine.
  3. While the butternut squash is cooking, cook the macaroni noodles per the box instructions. Remember to reserve some of the pasta water after cooking.
  4. Next, make the butternut cheese sauce. First, drain the cashews and place them into a food processor.
  5. Process until smooth. Add the nutritional yeast, paprika, and nutmeg, and blend into the cashews.
  6. Intermittently add large spoonfuls of the cooked butternut to the food processor and blend. Do this until all the squash is smoothly incorporated. Next, add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the “cheese” sauce until the desired consistency is reached.
  7. Mix the cooked macaroni noodles and butternut “cheese” sauce together. Reheat over the stove top as needed and then serve immediately.





Whole foods recipes that will teach you to make the most of your produce. Rachel is the creator of Simple Seasonal, a whole foods blog about making the most of your local farmer’s market or CSA. She is passionate about sustainable agriculture and has a partnership with a local naturally-grown farm. She enjoys inspiring fellow locavores with (mostly) healthy, seasonal recipes.



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