notes: I made the nut free version, and it was bland. For the adults, I added 1/2tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/2tsp oregano, and some more salt to liven it up. My husband (an omnivore) gave it two thumbs up and said it tasted great. My kids did not like either version hot. HOWEVER, they loved it cold, ate two servings each this morning, and requested it for lunch.
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze (Vegan with Gluten-free & Nut-Free options)
Yield: 4 servings or 1.5 cups of cheeze sauce
1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped) or 1 cup canned butternut squash
Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
1 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacer)
1 cup unsweetened & unflavoured almond milk (or use rice or hemp milk if nut-free)
1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
5 tbsp nutritional yeast, or more to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
4 servings brown rice macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup cooked
Mix-ins of choice (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, pumpkin seeds, etc)
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped squash with EVOO, S & P. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth balance over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch or flour) until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, S & P) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so).
3. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to cover 4 servings of pasta.
4. In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash (or if using canned, simply stir 1 cup into the pot).
5. Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce & mix-ins. Heat and serve.
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze: Two Ways
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped (yields: 3.5 cups raw)
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened + unflavoured soy milk), or more to thin out
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
1/4-1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, optional (gives the orangey colour)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp Paprika + more to season
Your pasta of choice (I used ~450 grams/4.5 cups dry penne for the casserole) + mix-ins
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet. In a bowl, season chopped squash with some oil (~1 tsp) and kosher salt (couple pinches) and stir. Add to baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.
2. If making the baked casserole: Process 1 slice of bread + 1 tbsp Earth balance until crumbs form in a food processor. Set aside. If you plan on enjoying it straight from the pot you can skip this step.
3. Assemble your cheeze sauce ingredients (cashews, non-dairy milk, garlic, lemon, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, mustard, seasonings) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth. Leave the sauce in the processor as you will be adding the squash.
4. Cook your pasta according to package directions. When squash is finished roasting, add it to the food processor and blend it with the cheese sauce until smooth. Adjust to taste. The sauce will thicken up with time. If at any point the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit of milk to thin it out.
5. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Now add the pasta back into the same pot and add your desired amount of cheeze sauce on top. Stir well. Add in any desired mix-ins like peas or broccoli. You can either heat this up in the pot, or pour it into a casserole dish (I used a 4 cup dish), sprinkle on breadcrumbs + paprika, and bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. The casserole will serve about 4 people if you use 450 grams dry macaroni or penne. Store any leftover sauce in the fridge and use within a few days.