This vegan mac and cheese recipe is packed with vegetables and flavor. The delicious cheesy flavor made with butternut squash makes this the ultimate comfort food dish for every night of the week.
A few weeks ago I got a massive butternut squash from the farmer’s market. It made sixteen (16!!!) cups of squash. So obviously I pulled out all the stops and used butternut squash in the most creative ways I could think of. I made butternut squash hummus, wild rice pilaf with butternut squash and now this vegan macaroni and cheese with a creamy butternut squash sauce.
Before you head for the hills because you’re a cheese lover, hear me out! As a fellow cheese lover, I put this vegan mac and cheese to the test and it held up! It’s so creamy and packed with tons of really great flavor. No, it’s not cheese and in my opinion, nothing can compare to the real deal but it’s delicious so I don’t even miss the “real” cheese!
A lot of homemade, vegan cheese sauces are made with nuts but this version uses butternut squash as the base… The combination of the blended vegetables, spices and nutritional yeast give this dish the cheesy flavor we all know and love. Besides boiling the noodles and chopping the broccoli, the main part of this recipe is creating the cheese sauce so I thought I’d walk you through it step by step.
How to Make Vegan Cheese Sauce
Step 1: Roast the butternut squash. Spread chopped butternut squash and onion in a casserole dish and coat with olive oil, paprika and salt. Roast at 350º for 20 minutes.
Step 2: Add the butternut squash and onions to a food processor and blend until relatively smooth.
Step 3: Add the hemp or cashew milk, apple cider vinegar, garlic, dijon and nutritional yeast to the food processor. Blend until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. There shouldn’t be any clumps so keep blending until it’s smooth!
Step 4: Add cooked noodles and chopped broccoli to the baking dish and top with the butternut squash cheese sauce. Stir to combine everything. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top for some extra protein.
Step 5: Bake! At 350º for 20 minutes.
Optional step 6: If you prefer a crispy top on your mac and cheese, turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes. Just make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
I mean if that doesn’t make you salivate, I don’t know what will!
Side note: if you’ve never tried nutritional yeast, I encourage you to give it a try in this recipe! Not only is it a great source of b12 (plant-based b12 that is!), it also adds that cheesy flavor without adding actual cheese. So whether you’re vegan, plant-based, dairy-free or just looking to change things up, you can get the best cheesy flavor with an added dose of veggies! Let’s dig in…Print
Vegan Mac and Cheese [with Butternut Squash!]
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- 3 cups of peeled and chopped butternut squash
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt (divided)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles (gluten-free, if necessary)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (hemp milk or cashew milk work best)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- optional: 1 small head broccoli, chopped into small florets
- optional: 1/2 cup hemp hearts or breadcrumbs for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add butternut squash and onion to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (casserole dish) and top with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook macaroni according package instructions (mine takes about 7-8 minutes).
- Strain noodles and set aside.
- When butternut squash is done, remove from oven and place in a food processor or blender.
- Add in hemp/cashew milk, apple cider vinegar, garlic, dijon and nutritional yeast. Blend until all comes together into a smooth mixture. There should be no clumps.
- Combine macaroni and broccoli (if using) in your casserole dish and top with butternut squash mixture until macaroni and broccoli are well coated and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle hemp seeds on top for added protein or bread crumbs, if desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the top rack of oven.
- For a crispy top turn oven up to broil and broil for 3-5 mins to get a crispy top (watch carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Serve warm.
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