Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

This creamy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese is also gluten free, super easy to make, soy free and oil free. Ready in under the 30 minutes, made with whole food ingredients and perfect for an autumn weeknight dinner or to grace your Thanksgiving holiday table.

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The ultimate, healthy vegan mac and cheese recipe made from butternut squash, no processed store bought cheese or dairy products. Healthy, entirely from scratch using clean nutritious whole foods ingredients, kid friendly, tasty and oh so comforting. Brimming with incredibly delicious fall flavor, this is what healthy comfort food is all about and it belongs on the festive Thanksgiving table.

To make a hearty meal of things serve it alongside some roasted sweet potato cubes, vegan chicken, crispy roasted broccoli, vegan ribs, fried oyster mushrooms, tofu nuggets or smoky tempeh bits.

butternut squash cheese sauce

Butternut Squash Cheese Sauce

A lusciously silky and cheesy blender sauce made with cashews, nutty butternut and umami spices. It can be made with fresh or frozen butternut squash, just know that cutting up and cleaning a fresh one is a little labour intensive so plan in advance.

The recipe calls for boiling the squash until tender, however you can opt for roasting it instead to get some caramelizations and concentrate the natural sugars. Toss the cubes with a light drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and roast for about 30 minutes at 400″F until golden brown around the edges. (omit oil for WFPB compliance).

butternut squash mac ingredients

The Pasta

Any short shape pasta with ridges will work great with this sauce. I used chickpea gluten free lumache to capture as much of the sauce as possible in each bite. The lentil elbows from Bentillia are a great healthy choice as well,  just keep in mind that is a pasta that will need to be rinsed after boiling. Penne, orecchiette and classic elbow macaroni are all great with my absolute favorite being “lumachine rigate” made from Italian durum wheat semolina. It’s a smaller version of the lumache which is incredible fun to eat and popular with kids as well.

Regardless of which pasta you are using, the important thing is to not overcook it. You want that perfect “al dente“ texture / to the tooth, so make sure to check a couple of minutes before you expect it to be done.

butternut squash mac and cheese vegan

Recipe Tips + FAQ

  • Can i make the sauce nut – free? Yes, simply replace the cashews in the recipe with a handful of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or 1/4 cup of tahini. Cannellini beans are a nice creamy alternative as well.
  • Can I skip the nutritional yeast? Sure, you can leave it out altogether or replace it with 1 tablespoon of white miso paste. It’s really delicious though and I recommend using it.
  • Do I need to peel the butternut squash? Although the skin is edible, you should definitely peel it to achieve the creamiest sauce. That being said, the Vitamix does an amazing job at pulverizing everything so you really could use it all if you wanted to.
  • Can I use coconut milk to make the sauce instead of water? Of course, just keep in mind the coconut flavor will come through and alter the final flavor profile.
  • Do I have to soak the cashews? Not if you are using a high powered blender like the Vitamix. Otherwise make sure to soak them in hot water for 20 minutes before making the sauce.
  • Make ahead – the butternut sauce is fantastic even when made ahead and reheated, but hold off from cooking your pasta and combining your mac and cheese until ready to serve.
  • Butternut Substitutions – If you simply don’t fancy butternut squash, feel free to replace it with equal parts sweet potato or your favorite pumpkin instead.
  • Tip – Sprinkle with crispy fried onions or toasted panko bread crumbs for a nice salty crunch.

vegan butternut squash mac and cheese

 

how to make vegan butternut squash mac and cheese

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Easy creamy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese that is also gluten free, soy free and oil free. Ready in under the 30 minutes, made with whole food ingredients, perfect for a weeknight dinner or to grace your Thanksgiving holiday table.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Total Time:20 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Soak the raw cashews in hot water for 20 minutes before making the sauce. (If you have a powerful blender like a Vitamin you can skip the soaking process).
    3/4 cup raw cashews
  • Bring a medium stock pot filled with water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the cubed butternut squash. Cook until tender about 10 minutes or so. Reserve one cup of the water then using a slotted spoon transfer the cooked butternut pieces to the blender. ( I like to save this water and cook the pasta in it).
    1 lb butternut squash
  • Preheat a skillet over medium heat and sautee the onion in a light drizzle of olive oil (or water for WFPB) until softened and it begins to get some color. Transfer to the bowl of the blender together with the cooked butternut, cashews, mustard, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powder, turmeric, sea salt, miso paste and 1 cup pf the reserved water. Blend on the hot liquid setting until silky smooth and creamy.
    1 lb butternut squash, 1 yellow onion, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 1.5 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tbsp chickpea or white miso paste, 1 cup water
  • Meanwhile in the same water you cooked the butternut boil the pasta according to the instructions on the box until al dente. Drain and toss with the butternut squash cheese sauce until coated all over. Serve hot with freshly chopped parsley or onion chives and a pinch of red chili flakes for heat.
    1 lb macaroni pasta
  • Plantricious Friendly Recipe

Video

Notes

  • How can I thin out the sauce? Use a splash of veggie stock or plain plant-based milk of your choosing if desired.
  • How do I make this nut - free ? Simply replace the cashews in the recipe with a handful of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or 1/4 cup of tahini.
  • Can I skip the nutritional yeast? Sure, you can leave it out altogether or replace it with 1 tablespoon of miso paste.
  • Can I use coconut milk to make the sauce instead of water? Yes if you like the flavor go for it but  keep in mind the coconut flavor will surely come through in the final dish and alter the profile.
  • Do I have to soak the cashews? Not if you are using a high powered blender like the Vitamix. Otherwise make sure to soak them in hot water for 20 minutes before making the sauce. 
  • Butternut Substitutions - If you simply don't fancy butternut squash, feel free to replace it with equal parts sweet potato or your favorite pumpkin instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 636kcal | Carbohydrates: 111g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 919mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 12057IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: plant based, Vegan Mac and Cheese, wfpb
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 636kcal
Author: Florentina

Similar Posts

6 Comments

  1. My new favorite thing to make with butternut squash. Color me impressed on how cheesy and delicious this Mac and cheese is, the kids had no idea they were eating butternut squash and they all came back for seconds. Will be stocking up my freezer with cut up butternut just for this recipe. Thanks for sharing ❤️

  2. This looks super yummy, but I have a question. You describe this dish as “Gluten Free,” but you don’t specify in your list of ingredients “Gluten Free” elbow macaroni. Does your recipe call for gluten free macaroni? I will be trying this recipe soon.

    1. The butternut squash cheese sauce recipe is gluten free, it’s all up to you what pasta you are going to use when recreating the recipe. I love the chickpea pasta I used here but if you are looking for GF elbow macaroni I suggest the lentil elbows from Bentilia, absolutely love them. Enjoy 🙂

  3. This cheese sauce is amazing! I made it for a family birthday dinner as a side and I would say it was a hit. I am wondering about the nutritional information. Does that also include the pasta? Or just the cheese sauce?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating