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Bangin’ Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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For years, we’ve struggled with this recipe. Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite dishes, and despite our best efforts, one that is very difficult to pull off without actual cheese. We’ve tried lots of different variations to replicate the cheesy goodness of a hot bowl of mac and cheese, from using various vegetable purées, and cashew-nut cheeses, to using copious amounts of nutritional yeast, but have always found the result somewhat lacking; always good, but never quite perfect.

That is, until we discovered the magic ingredient that is butternut squash. When roasted and combined with the right combination of spices (including the chipotle, which gives it the appropriate kick) and gluten-free breadcrumbs, the butternut squash does its thing, turning this macaroni casserole into a bonafide comfort food rivaling any true-cheese mac dish you can throw at it.

Bangin' Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Serves 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
For the Pasta and Sauce
  1. 1/2 medium Butternut Squash, cubed
  2. 1 tsp Olive Oil
  3. 8 oz Quinoa Pasta Noodles (either Elbow Macaroni or Fusilli work great)
  4. 3/4 cup Roasted Cashews
  5. 1 cup Almond Milk, unsweetened
  6. 3 cloves Garlic
  7. 1 chipotle in Adobo Sauce
  8. 1/2 teaspoon Mustard, whole ground
  9. 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  10. 6 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  11. 1/4 cup Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
  12. 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  13. 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  14. 1/4 tsp Basil
  15. 1/4 tsp Oregano
  16. 1/4 tsp Thyme
  17. Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Mix-Ins
  1. 1/2 cup Red Onion
  2. 1 cup Broccoli, chopped
  3. 1 cup Crimini Mushrooms, chopped
  4. 1 tbsp Olive Oil
For the Pasta and Sauce
  1. Cook your chosen pasta noodles according to the package, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F
  3. Toss your cubed Butternut Squash with 1 tsp Olive Oil, salt and pepper. Lay out evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast Butternut Squash for about 40 minutes, tossing midway through cooking.
  5. While the Butternut Squash is roasting, create your cheese sauce. Process the cashews in a blender or food-processor until chopped into a fine crumble.
  6. Add Almond Milk, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Nutritional Yeast, Mustard, Chipotle in Adobo, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Turmeric and 1/2 tsp of Paprika. Blend until smooth. Leave this mixture in the blender or food-processor to combine later with the squash.
  7. Once the squash is roasted, combine with the cheese sauce in the blender, blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the Mix-Ins
  1. While the squash is still cooking, after you've blended the ingredients for the cheese sauce, prepare your Mix-Ins. Over medium heat, sauté the onion in 1 tbsp Olive Oil, until caramelized, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms, sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add broccoli, cook until bright green and tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and additional Italian seasonings if desired.
Putting Everything Together
  1. Once the pasta, cheese sauce, and Mix-Ins are complete, mix well in a large bowl or pot.
  2. Transfer to a well-oiled casserole dish, dust with Gluten Free Breadcrumbs and Paprika.
  3. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until the top begins to brown.
  4. Once baked, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Cucina Cultura http://cucinacultura.com/

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