It was National Noodle Day yesterday. I was hoping to have this post ready for that, but after a super fun high school reunion this weekend, it just didn’t happen. So here ya go…why not celebrate noodles two days in a row?! Especially with this delicious dairy free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!
My kids (who are not vegan) love Mac N Cheese…you know, the Kraft kind of Mac N Cheese. They don’t even like the Velveeta Shells stuff. It has to be the small elbow macaroni noodles with a thin golden yellow-orange color. I switched to Annie’s a long time ago, but let’s face it, it’s still processed and not healthy.
Every time I try to make a homemade vegan mac n cheese, the kids groan. And to be quite honest, I haven’t liked them either.
A year ago, I finally made a plant based version that I thought was absolutely delicious. The kids liked it a lot too. Well, I’ve made several tweaks to that recipe to make it quicker and easier and I’m telling you it looks just like the Kraft stuff. I actually told my kids the other day that it was Mac N Cheese. M said, “the one I like”? “Yup!” I said, holding my breath as he tried it. He asked for seconds…and thirds! The girls both had seconds as well. Fyi, I use that little trick all the time to get them to try things. A little white lie never hurt anyone, right? Right?
This Butternut Mac is super healthy. Butternut Squash is high in Vitamin A, C, several B’s, K and fiber. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may help regulate blood sugar.
- 1½ cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
- ½ large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 16 oz package small macaroni noodles, cooked according to package directions (use gluten free noodles, if desired)
- ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid (from the squash/onion or the noodles...either one will work)
- ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
- ⅛ tsp turmeric
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- Add butternut squash and onions to a pot and cover with water by at least an inch or two. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender.
- Meanwhile, cook macaroni noodles according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup cooking liquid once noodles are done cooking and before draining. Place noodles back in pot and set aside.
- When squash and onions are tender, drain (reserving ¼ cup liquid - unless you are reserving the liquid from the noodles), and add them to a high speed blender with the cashews, lemon juice, salt, dijon, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, nutmeg and reserved cooking liquid from either the noodles or the squash. Blend until completely smooth. Use a tamper if necessary to push ingredients to the bottom of the blender.
- Add butternut squash sauce to the macaroni noodles and stir, making sure every noodle is covered in sauce. Warm through if needed.
- Dig in!