As a kid, I was head over heels for mac & cheese. Who wasn’t, right? I remember my mom making it for me and my brother all the time and we loved it. You know, bright orange and extra cheesy, the kind right out of the box. I’ve finally done it. I made a super thick and creamy vegan & gluten-free butternut squash mac & cheese! No more missing out on one of my childhood favorites. This healthy alternative is out of this world.
You wouldn’t believe how amazing butternut squash is when it’s turned into a creamy cheese sauce. I’d never tried this before, and boy oh boy was I overwhelmed with the result. The butternut squash adds the perfect “cheesy” color and makes the sauce nice and thick. Plus the flavor was just awesome.
I used brown rice fusilli pasta, which is one of the best gluten-free pasta alternatives for this dish in my opinion. If you haven’t tried it, you can get it at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or any health food store. But feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you have and it’ll taste just as fantastic. After all, the key is really the sauce! The entire dish is gluten-free, vegan, and oil-free making it just about the healthiest comfort food you’ll ever have.
Mac & cheese makes a great weeknight meal, potluck dish, or kid-friendly lunch option. You really can’t go wrong. Not only does everyone love mac & cheese, but this version is allergy-friendly and much more nutritious so you can really enjoy it on another level.
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who says they don’t like it. So I’d say this is a pretty full-proof dish for everyone, vegans and non-vegans alike. Trust me, I definitely got the thumbs-up on a taste test from my friends who can be hard to please when it comes to vegan food. They’re some of my toughest critics but also my biggest supporters. This mac & cheese passed with flying colors!
How can mac & cheese be vegan, you might ask? Well, there’s not one bit of dairy or milk or butter used at all. For the sauce, it’s a combination of roasted butternut squash, nutritional yeast, almond milk, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and a little salt. Then you pour the creamy goodness on top of some brown rice pasta, mix it all up, and sprinkle on some hemp seeds. There you have it folks! Warm, delicious, and irresistible comfort food. If you try this mac & cheese, please share with me on Instagram @asunshinemission!
- 2 1/2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 12 oz. brown rice fusilli pasta
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
- Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- Pour in brown rice pasta and cook uncovered for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
- Heat cubed squash in the microwave for 5-7 minutes or until soft (I used the pre-packaged kind from Trader Joe's that's already peeled and cubed).
- Toss all sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Process until smooth and creamy.
- After pasta has cooked fully, transfer to a strainer to get rid of the water.
- Place pasta back in the pot.
- Pour sauce over the pasta and mix until evenly coated.
- Sprinkle with hempseeds and serve!