Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Feature Recipe | Butternut Mac n Cheese  

Never in a million years did I guess that when the kids saw a butternut squash it would trigger “PLEASE MOM, CAN WE HAVE MACARONI & CHEESE TONIGHT?” 😝  Until we decided to go plant-based, butternut squash was my prized vegetable for winter soups — and its culinary promise ended there. I was never intrigued enough to experiment with this gorgeous winter squash variety until I started to see butternut squash praised as the ultimate ingredient for creamy, rich plant-based cheese sauces.

After more than a dozen different ways of making plant-based mac n cheese I would say this is THE ONE for two reasons:
1/Simplicity: Begin with a basic roux sauce (vegan butter, soy milk and flour) and layer on the flavour.
2/Cashew-parmesan cheese, sage and Dijon mustard are a dynamite trio that harmonizes with the sweet, slightly nutty taste of the butternut squash.

If kid-friendly isn’t in your wheelhouse don’t be put off by this recipe…add a layer of sophistication by garnishing with finely chopped scallions, crispy Panko Topping and/or sea salt flakes. In the spirit of ultimate comfort food here are a few of our favourite cheesy pasta dishes:

Creamy Alfredo Sauce
Cauliflower Mac n Cheese Bake
Creamy Deep Dish Mac n Cheese

Enjoy~

Ingredients

This & That

  • 1 lb dry pasta
  • 1 large butternut squash (1.5-2lb)

Savoury Parmesan Cheese (yields approx. 1 cup)

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tsp hemp seeds (shelled)
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups soy milk
  • Butternut squash, steamed
  • Pinch dried sage
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup savoury parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup reserved (pasta) cooking water

Garnish

  • 1/4 cup savoury parmesan cheese
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (Optional)
  • Crispy Panko Topping (Optional)

Method

Prep It (see Recipe Notes)
1/Prepare one batch of Savoury Parmesan Cheese; set aside
2/Prepare one batch of Crispy Panko Topping; set aside (Optional)
3/Steam 1.5-2lbs butternut squash (peeled, deseeded & cut into coarse chunks0
4/Cook 1lb pasta as directed; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water

Make It
1/Add vegan butter to a pot on medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add minced garlic and chopped green onion to the skillet. Sauté for a few minutes until onions start to become tender.
2/Reduce heat to low. Add flour and soy milk to the pot. Whisk until you have a roux mixture for your sauce base.
3/Adjust to medium-high heat. Add steamed butternut squash, dried sage, Dijon mustard and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese to the skillet. Combine well. Cook (lid covered) for 10 minutes.
4/Transfer mixture to a food processor or high-powered blender. Process until the mixture is puréed into a smooth mixture.
5/Add reserved (pasta) cooking water. Process for 30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Your sauce is ready!

Serve It
Pour sauce over plated pasta and garnish with reserved 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely chopped scallions and Crispy Panko Topping (optional).

Recipe Notes

*How to prep Savoury Parmesan Cheese:
Add dry ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until well combined.  Add lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture just starts to combine.
Important! Don’t pulse too much– the cheese should be granular and not a paste.

*How to prepare Panko Topping:

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method
In a small prep bowl combine olive oil, panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt until the mixture has a coarse/crumbly texture.

2 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

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