This rich, cheesy mac and cheese casserole 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!
Butternut Cauliflower Mac and Cheese [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Mac and Cheese:
- 1 pound dry pasta such as macaroni, fusilli, or penne
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 cooking onion, quartered
- 1 garlic clove
- Steak spice, a generous dash
- Dried sage, a few sprinkles
- Extra virgin olive oil, for roasting
- 1 cup vegetable stock (homemade or a bouillon cube combined with boiled water)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 3 cups unsweetened oat milk, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup smoked tofu, grated
- 1 cup vegan cheddar, grated
- Fresh parsley (optional)
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely grated vegan Parmesan cheese
- A dash of steak spice or dried Italian herbs for extra taste
- This part can be made ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a big bowl, add the butternut squash, cauliflower, garlic clove, onion quarters, steak spice, and sage and drizzle some olive oil. Toss ingredients until evenly coated with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. When done transfer to a blender, add the vegetable stock and purée until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook pasta in boiling water just 2 minutes short of the time indicated on the package as the pasta will continue to cook in oven. Drain and transfer into a large and shallow oven-proof dish.
- In a medium-size dipper on low heat, add the 4 tablespoons of olive oil and flour and whisk to make a paste. Add the oat milk and cayenne pepper and whisk well. Increase the heat, keep whisking and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 8 minutes whisking often.
- Remove oat milk mixture from heat and add the Dijon mustard, smoked tofu, and cheese shreds. Whisk well until combined and thick and add the cauliflower/ butternut squash sauce and whisk well again. Pour this onto the pasta. Gently fold and mix the sauce into the pasta until well combined, from top to bottom.
- For the topping, in a bowl, mix all the ingredients with a fork and sprinkle on top of the macaroni and cheese.
- Bake uncovered in preheated oven on middle rack for 25–30 minutes.
- Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle servings with fresh parsley. Keep leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator. Tastes great the next day.