All the deliciousness of mac and cheese, but without the dairy! Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheese” is a quick, healthy and veggie-loaded twist on my personal favorite comfort food.
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You know…veggies are pretty stinking amazing. They can take on many forms, flavors and consistencies. They nourish our bodies with the most vital of nutrients and can easily be wiggled into to many delicious recipes.
Trust me. I know. I do it on a daily basis.
In case you are new around these parts or simply haven’t noticed, I tend to add veggies to everything and anything that I can. I’ve been doing it for years. Long before The Natural Nurturer came about, I was pureeing butternut squash and adding to conventional mac & cheese. Even when we were still eating the box kind, I would whip up some butternut squash puree and stir it into the cheese sauce so that I could dose my family with some veggie-goodness….that they might otherwise protest.
A few years back, my family and I started greatly reducing our dairy intake. We had noticed that it was messing with (then toddler) Alice’s digestive track (a constipated baby = grumpy and irrational baby) and that it wasn’t really doing mine or my husband’s any favors either.
So we started buying almond milk instead of cow’s milk and (much to all of our disappointment) started treating traditional cheese like a treat….something that was rare and special.
While we have mostly adjusted to are now-mostly-dairy-free life, our family really does love a good bowl of mac & cheese now and then. I have been on a mission to find/create a dairy-free version of that classic cozy comfort food that also brings some veggie-goodness to the table.
And guys, I think I have nailed it!
Creamy, slightly tangy and full of all sorts of good-for-you ingredients, this almost-as-good-as-the-real-deal Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheese” is surprisingly easy and fast to make. Loaded with protein from the cashew-based “cheese” sauce and fiber and potassium from the slightly sweet butternut squash, you’ll be amazed at how much you enjoy this dish and will find yourself making it again and again.
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup gluten free nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons oil (coconut, avocado, or olive)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- to taste black pepper
- 3/4 pound gluten free pasta
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings
Sometimes at night, I have dremt of a tangy orange meal! I awoke to the soft pitter-patter of rain pelting the roof of my little shanty cabin. The subtle smell of squishy squash poured through the vents leading to my chamber. I stood up, hoisting my soft felt night pants up to my waist. I made my way to the door, slipping my little toesies into my little bunny walker slippers. Bunny walker was one of my favorite anime shows on the old tellie. Anyways, back to my squash story. I stumbled down the stairs, mayhaps because of one too many fruit danimal cups the prior night. I was near the end of my journey down the treacherous steps, when I heard a creak from below my slippers. Alas! The stairs, they were old and damp from the downpour. I didn’t know what to do! I looked to the right of the staircase at my hanging poster of Tony the Tiger. He ushered me on! I continued through the darkness the the end of the hall. I flipped the switch, and the lights burst to life! “OH NO!” I exclaimed, noticing the squash had overflown in the midst of my absence. Mayhaps I shouldn’t have traversed the steps prior to my slumber, but how was one such as myself to know the squash would overflow! Anyways, to make a long story short, it’s good.
Ha. I enjoyed your little story. And I’m glad the mac & cheese was enjoyed!
This is just delicious!! After gorging on holiday indulgences for many days (weeks?) I NEEDED a real food meal. It’s Sunday and I’m pooped, I didn’t want to cook. This came together effortlessly. I served it with some roasted broccoli and sausage, dinner was perfect.
PS – I’m gonna pour the leftover sauce over the leftover broccoli for lunch tomorrow.
Very excited to try this but just wanted to make sure that I’m cooking 1 cup of squash and 1 cup of cashews with ONLY half a cup of water? It doesn’t seem like there would be enough water…
Is there a way to make this recipe nut free as well?
does this freeze well? if so, how long would you recommend to freeze it for?
The sauce would, I believe. But I would cook the pasta fresh.
Curious if there is a cashew alternative
Some people have mentioned that they used chickpeas, though I haven’t tried it myself!
Any sub for lemon juice … I’m out at the moment??
This was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Does this reheat well? I’d like to make it for a new mom, but would need to make it one evening and deliver it the next… Any advice appreciated.
I think most pasta recipes are better fresh, but I do personally enjoy it reheated!
Do you really only use 1/2 cup of water to cook the squash and cashews?
I used to but when retesting it, upped it to one cup. Just updated the recipe
My 2 year old daughter loves this butternut squash mac n cheese and I love that I can add in peas and chopped spinach easily. Highly recommend! You won’t even realize it’s not made with cheese. Even my hubby loves this recipe and he is opposed to anything suggestive of healthy. That tells you how good this recipe is!
Yay! I am so happy to hear that!
This recipe is BEYOND GOOD! The 15 yr old and I fight for it and I put it on EVERYTHING. So frickin tasty!!
What a wonderful reason to fight with your teen! 🤣 So glad you enjoy it so much, Candace! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.