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Small bowl with creamy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese.
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5 from 1 vote

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is all about healthy & nourishing comfort food. Creamy & delicious as it should be, this dairy-free pasta is a firm favourite with the kids.
Course Dinner, Pasta
Cuisine American, International
Keyword butternut squash mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 464kcal
Author Jo Allison

Ingredients

  • 500 g pasta of your choice use gluten-free if required
  • 1 butternut squash (approx. 700g-1kg/1.5-2.2lb unpeeled weight) peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to drizzle over squash for roasting
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Sauce ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
  • 75 g raw cashews see notes
  • 30 g nutritional yeast see notes
  • 250 ml oat milk or any other unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic granules
  • ½ tsp onion granules/powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp cornflour see notes
  • 1 tsp Dijon or English mustard
  • 1 tsp miso paste optional, see notes
  • juice of ½ or 1 lemon to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Roasting Butternut Squash

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
  • Prepare butternut squash by peeling it, discarding seeds (or you can roast them) and cutting into small cubes (the smaller the cubes the quicker they will roast).
  • Transfer prepared squash onto baking tray and drizzle over tablespoon or so of olive oil and sprinkle with some fresh or dried thyme.
  • Add two peeled garlic cloves to the tray and roast them together with butternut squash. Optional but definitely adds to the flavour.
  • Pop the tray into preheated oven and roast for approx 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Soaking Cashews

  • When squash is roasting put raw cashews into a bowl and pour over some freshly boiled (not boiling) water and let them soak as you prepare all your other ingredients.
  • After about 10 minutes drain and rinse them well.
  • Cook your pasta according to the package instructions, drain and return to the pot. Make sure to save about 250ml (1 cup) of pasta water before draining.

Making Sauce

  • Once butternut squash is ready, put it into high-speed blender or food processor together with drained cashews and all other sauce ingredients.
  • Blend until silky smooth, taste and adjust seasoning if required.
  • Pour butternut squash sauce over freshly drained pasta adding some saved pasta water to adjust consistency to your liking (you don't have to use all the water). Stir gently over a low heat for a couple of minutes to warm up.
  • Sprinkle over some freshly chopped parsley and serve!

Notes

  • Nutritional information is approximate, per serving based on 6 servings and should be treated as a rough guideline only. 
  • Make sure to use raw cashews (not salted or roasted ones).
  • To make this dish nut-free you can substitute cashews with extra plant milk or same amount of silken tofu.
  • Nutritional yeast adds a lot of flavour but if you don't have it, simply leave it out, your pasta will still be delicious but you might need to add a bit more seasoning. 
  • Cornflour can be substituted with tapioca starch or potato flour. 
  • I highly recommend adding some miso paste to your sauce for that extra umami flavour but it's optional. 
  • This dish works really well baked (see "Can I turn it into baked butternut squash mac and cheese?").
 
Storing, Freezing & Making-Ahead
Mac and cheese will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. It will thicken up as it cools so you will need to add some liquid when reheating it.
Freezer friendly for up to 3 months. For more information see "Storing and Freezing" above.
This Mac and cheese can be easily made ahead. See "Can I make vegan butternut squash mac and cheese ahead?" for my recommendations.
Pro Tips!
  1. Use high-speed blender if you have one for silky smooth sauce.
  2. Soak your cashews for easier digestion. 
  3. Undercook your pasta if making baked macaroni and cheese.
  4. Don't forget to save pasta water for adjusting consistency of your sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 459mg | Potassium: 816mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 12653IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 5mg