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.
Like this recipe? Here are others you might enjoy:
Zucchini Mac and Cheese
Savory Galette with Goat Cheese
Macro Veggie Bowls
Pesto Spaghetti Squash
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RonnaMarch 5, 2021 at 7:12 pm
Can frozen butternut squash be used in this recipe?
JillFebruary 24, 2021 at 10:09 am
Hi is there a nutritional breakdown for this recipe?
AdrianFebruary 8, 2021 at 8:16 pm
Made this tonight for my best friend and I. It was delicious. I used smoked paprika and a little extra cashew milk. It was very flavorful. Used the hemp hearts. It was slightly sweet and garlicky. I loved it! Not like dairy Mac and cheese, but so good and so much better for you. Will make again.
juliebrownieMarch 31, 2020 at 12:40 pm
This Seems so Tasty I will Sure Cook This for my children
ibDecember 1, 2019 at 5:27 pm
I made this last night and I’m sorry but it wasn’t very good ?
StephanieMarch 4, 2018 at 7:32 pm
I’m making this for dinner tonight! I’m a devout vegan (but have been missin’ macaroni) and have been looking for a healthier substitute for boxed vegan mac. I like this recipe because it doesn’t require soaking/blending cashews, which I don’t buy. I always have butternut squash and a ton of other veggies in my kitchen so this is perfect!
I used chickpea elbow pasta for protein and panko bread crumbs instead of hemp seeds. So ready to try it.
jillianMarch 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm
Could I make the sauce ahead of time? If so, how long do you think it would last in the fridge? This looks AMAZING.
Nicole SamuelFebruary 10, 2017 at 7:39 pm
This looks AMAZING! Do you think it’s possible to use canned butternut squash or pumpkin instead of going through the cubing and roasting process? If so, about how much would you say is needed?
MollySeptember 1, 2016 at 4:08 pm
Do you think I could use frozen broccoli?!!
MarthaOctober 18, 2015 at 7:34 pm
Is this a vegan dish? My vegan niece is coming to dinner. (I am new to this.)
Davida KugelmassOctober 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm
yes it is! Enjoy 🙂
MarthaOctober 18, 2015 at 11:27 pm
Kelly @ Eat the GainsOctober 16, 2015 at 9:43 am
Love this post! I used to be a vegetarian (but ate safood on occasion) for 5 years but then got really into CrossFit which then lead to paleo. I got way too into it and my veggie consumption went way down. I haven’t been paleo for a while now and feel a lot more balanced in my eating and life. I have recently been trying to ditch a lot of meat though and focus on the veggies. I feel great and am happy I am getting back to the way I used to eat. I agree with you though about your boyfriend. Mine grew up with the standard meat and potatoes diet so it is sometimes like “wait wtf are we having for dinner” lol. Anyways, now that I wrote a book haha, excited to see some more recipes like this!
Davida KugelmassOctober 18, 2015 at 3:47 pm
ha yeah that’s pretty much his reaction to every meal LOL. I think our diets will be ever-changing. It makes sense though, we change, our circumstances change, our knowledge changes, seasons change! We’re always changing. I think we should all be as open-minded as you about allowing our diets to evolve!