Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

MAC AND CHEESE NOSTALGIA

Growing up, I always enjoyed eating a big bowl of mac and cheese! Its creaminess and cheesiness would always have me going for seconds. Recently, I’ve stumbled upon a new version of mac and cheese, and you know what? I’m hooked! This HEALTHY Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe is super easy, and SO cozy and nostalgic!

To celebrate mid November, I figured that it is only appropriate to celebrate with a warm pot of healthy, seasonal, cozy comfort food!

What is so unique about this recipe, is that you don’t necessarily have to use Butternut Squash!  You can use Sweet potatoes or even Pumpkin Puree! I know my husband prefers a  little bit meat in his, so I love to mix in some bacon! It adds so much flavor and color, that you wouldn’t want to go back to the traditional mac and cheese from the store!

HOW DO YOU COOK BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

There are three way you could cook this butternut squash.

  • Boil frozen butternut squash with milk and/or broth and blend.
  • Roast fresh butternut squash in the oven, and then blend with milk and/or broth.
  • Saute fresh butternut squash with onions and olive oil like I have, and then blend it with milk and/or broth in the pot or skillet.

To me, I find that the third option is by far the easiest and faster way of doing things. But if you prefer trying one of the other options, feel free to do so! Once blended, you can add in some cheese to make it rich with cheesiness!

TIPS FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE

  • Don’t cook the pasta all the way through. Or just two minutes shy of the recommended cooking time. You will want the pasta just slightly under cooked, because once you toss it in the warm sauce, the pasta will continue to cook.
  • Try to grate your own cheese. Store bought shredded cheese has anti-caking agents which may prevent the cheese from melting efficiently in the sauce. Since the recipe doesn’t call for a lot of cheese, I do recommend buying a small block of cheese, like cheddar cheese, parmesan, or mozzarella.
  • Use pre-cut squash, frozen, or fresh. Since the squash will be pureed, you are more than welcome to use frozen or pre-cut squash. It’ll save some extra time if you don’t want to cut the difficult squash. Just a nice little hack, you can buy already pureed butternut squash from the store! Just make sure to read the ingredients if you want a natural flavor.
  • Broth or Milk. I like the combination of broth and milk for a mix of salty and creamy texture. But if you’d like, you can use just the milk, which will make it lighter in color and more creamy, or Broth for a rich orange color and a nice saltiness. But, you can use both, like I did.

STORING AND SERVING

You can freeze it in a casserole dish and covering it with foil or place it in a freezer safe container for up to three months. Thaw it in the fridge before reheating it in the oven.

Serve it in a casserole dish or individual plates with a side of oven roasted carrots, or sautéed spinach. You can prep some toppings for this delicious mac and cheese as well!

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Prep time:
20 minutes
Cook time:
20 minutes
Chill time:
Total time:
40 minutes
Yield:
4 Servings
Cuisine:

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 3-4 cups Butternut Squash, peeled, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cup Vegetable Broth or Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  • 3/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese, or any cheese of your choice
  • Chopped parsley for serving

Directions

1. Gather all of your ingredients together before getting started.

2. Bring a large pot of slated water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook. Making sure to not cook it all the way through.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Then add in the butternut squash, minced garlic and dijon mustard. Cook for a few minutes.

4. Add the broth and milk to the skillet, bring to a boil and cook until the butternut squash is fork tender. It’ll take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how ripe the squash is.

5. Check for salt. I had to add another pinch of salt. Blend all the ingredients using a hand immersion blender until sauce is smooth and creamy. Since I didn’t have an immersion blender, (I have yet to get one!) I used the food processor which also worked quite well!

6. Gently pour the pureed butternut squash over the pasta and add the shredded cheese. Stir to combine. Stir in extra milk if you’d like to adjust the consistency.

7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired and serve warm!

Recipe notes

*** After measuring 4 cups of squash, I actually had about half a squash left over. There are so many ways to use that butternut squash up! You can wait to use it for a second batch of butternut squash mac and cheese (because this stuff will go quick!) or you can roast it in the oven the same day! And there goes your dinner idea!

*** You can top the mac and cheese not just with parsley, but also with bacon or even sausage. It’ll give this beautiful dish an extra wonderful flavor! Feel free to make this into a casserole as well!

Did You Make This Recipe?

Snap a photo of it and tag me on Instagram @emily_kovalev or use the hashtag #emily_kovalev so I can see it and feature it!