What if I told you you can eat ALL the mac and cheese you want? Like all of it. This is where you jump up and down and scream for joy.
I love healthy alternatives to creamy, delicious foods. Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but brings with it a hearty dose of fat and calories. I think it’s perfectly fine to indulge from time to time into a bowl of cheesy noodles, but what if you want the comfort without the inevitable weight gain? Well this butternut squash mac & cheese recipe packs vitamin rich butternut squash into a cheesy sauce you will love without the heavy cream and mounds of butter. So eat it! Eat it all!
I craved macaroni and cheese during my first trimester, but not the healthy kind. Although I felt nauseous 100% of the time, having food in my stomach at all times seemed to help, but not just any kind of food. I needed carbs. In any form. At any time. Did I feel healthy? No. Did I care? As long as I wasn’t nauseous, no. I didn’t care. However, now that I’m cruising along, creeping up on my third trimester and the nausea has disappeared, all I want is healthy food to make sure this baby doesn’t come out looking like a macaroni noodle. So cramming veggies into anything I can has become my new mantra.
You moms and dads with picky eaters might appreciate this butternut squash mac & cheese recipe too! I know kids struggle eating vegetables and it can be hard to find tricky ways to get them to eat a whole bowl full. With this recipe up your sleeve your kids won’t know what him them! All they’ll see is a bowl of cheese covered noodles…maybe just distract them while you make it
This recipe calls for the use of a blender or food processor to make the sauce super creamy and velvety. If you are on the fence about investing in a good blender/food processor I say jump over that fence because you won’t regret it for a second!
I bought a Vitamix three years ago and although I gulped as I swiped my credit card, it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made. It won’t be like that overpriced blouse you bought and now hangs in your closet with the tags still on mocking you for even thinking about buying it. You will use your blender! Dreams of sauces and soups and smoothies and dips should be dancing through your head right now.
Give in! Go buy one. I love mine so much it’s #1 on my Top 10 Kitchen Gadget Must-Haves list.
Did I mention this is a stovetop recipe? No baking required! However you can always throw it in a casserole dish, top it with some breadcrumbs and give it a good 20 minute bake on 350 to get a crispy, crunchy texture. Ball’s in your court!
What to Bring to the Store
In order to reduce your packaging waste, bring the following reusables with you to the store:
- 1-2 reusable produce bags
- 1-2 reusable spice bags for whatever spices you might not have on hand
Be sure to bring your reusable grocery bags!
Waste Meter – 3!
This is a great butternut squash mac & cheese recipe, but some of the items you’ll need to toss which makes this a 3 out of 5 on the good ol’ Waste Meter. Here’s what to do with your packaging:
Recycle: Broth Carton, Pasta Packaging (if a cardboard box)
Compost: Squash, Onion and Garlic Scraps
Trash: Pasta Packaging (if plastic), Cheese Wrapping, Butter Wrapper (once used)
- 1 package of organic pasta noodles (your favorite shape)
- 2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed (frozen works too)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes (or according to package instructions). Drain and place noodles back into the pot.
- If not using frozen or pre-cut squash, peel and cube the squash into 1/2" cubes. Using a steamer basket, steam the squash in a shallow pan with water until softened; about 5-7 minutes.
- Drain the squash and set aside. Using the same pan over medium heat, add the butter, garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes until onions turn translucent.
- Add the squash, broth, milk, salt, paprika, cumin and black pepper to the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Pour into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, about a minute.
- Pour the puree back into the medium saucepan and slowly stir in the shredded cheese until melted.
- Pour over noodles, stir well and serve.
- Other cheese options: Aged white cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella