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]
- 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
- Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in water overnight, making sure that they are completely submerged in water.
- 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.
- While the butternut squash is cooking, cook the macaroni noodles per the box instructions. Remember to reserve some of the pasta water after cooking.
- Next, make the butternut cheese sauce. First, drain the cashews and place them into a food processor.
- Process until smooth. Add the nutritional yeast, paprika, and nutmeg, and blend into the cashews.
- 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.
- Mix the cooked macaroni noodles and butternut “cheese” sauce together. Reheat over the stove top as needed and then serve immediately.