Butternut Squash Mac + Cheese

By Jessica Lauren DeBry August 13, 2015

Butternut squash is one of those foods that is the best of both worlds. It is delicious and comforting, yet it is also packed with nutrition. Butternut squash is one of the richest sources of plant-based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene, which are important for a strong immune system to help protect against colds and flu. 

For this recipe, we take the comforting butternut squash and blend it with a creamy, cheesy sauce and gluten-free pasta to make a vegan (and nearly guilt-free) Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.

Hint: the orange-colored hue in the sauce comes from the blending of the squash, but the “cheesy” flavor can be attributed to Nutritional Yeast. Are you a stranger to Nutritional Yeast? Don’t be scared. Nutritional Yeast is packed with benefits, including B-vitamins and protein (9 grams in only 2 tablespoons – that’s more than an egg or a glass of whole milk!). Not to mention, Nutritional Yeast has a nutty or cheesy flavor – perfect for mac and cheese. Find NY at your local health food store.

Butternut Squash Mac + Cheese (Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free)
Makes 4 large main-dish or 8 side-dish servings.

1 medium butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt and pepper
1 lb gluten-free pasta (I used brown-rice penne)

For “Cheese” Sauce:
2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk (organic soy or almond)
2 cups roasted butternut squash
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp miso paste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
Butternut Squash chopping

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash, and cut and dice as shown above.
2. Place on a roasting pan. Sprinkle olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper over diced squash. Using your hands, work the oil, garlic, and salt and pepper through the diced squash. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, follow package directions for pasta. Cook as directed.
4. When squash is finished roasting, remove from oven.
5. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients for the cheese sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt and fresh ground pepper, if desired.
6. After draining the pasta, use the same dish to heat up the cheese sauce, and pour the pasta back in and combine. Add additional roasted squash pieces, if desired. Serve immediately.

*This post was originally published on www.jessicalaurendebry.com. For more from Jessica, be sure to visit her site here.
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