Recipe of the Month – Cheesy Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

I recently switched to a vegetarian diet and I feel great. However, just because I gave up steak and bacon does not mean I gave up comfort food. Mac and cheese will always be a personal fave. This recipe offers both vegetables and comfort.

I have to credit my mom because the original version of this is hers. I’ve posted her recipe below, but I did make a couple of substitutions. Also, this is a really easy recipe to make vegan because you can get vegan cheese. Did you know they make soy Gouda? I didn’t and I am super excited by this.

Ok, so let’s get to the cheesy goodness already.

Ingredients:

3 cups peeled & cubed butternut squash (fresh not frozen-there is a difference in taste)
8 oz. elbow mac or spiral pasta
1 Tablesoon butter
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
3 green onions (scallions) sliced
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
6 oz smoked Gouda cheese = 1 ½ c (a must)
2 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)

Here are my substitutions

1/2 c regular chopped onion (I didn’t have scallions)

1 Tablespoon Ghee butter

8oz. spiral rice pasta

1 c unsweetened almond milk

2 Tablespoons of arrowroot flour

6 oz smoked vegan Gouda cheese (I used regular gouda this time, but I’ve made this dish both ways. It tastes great with either cheese).

Alright, let’s do this!

Preheat the oven to 350℉ and coat a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Set that aside.

Chop the squash (the cubes don’t have to be perfect but try to make them all about the same size). Microwave the squash with 2 tablespoons of water in microwave safe bowl covered with a vented plastic lid or a paper towel for 4 minutes on high. Uncover and stir, then microwave for an additional 4 min or until squash is tender. Mash the squash and set that aside. (Another thanks to mom for my immersion blender).

While the squash is heating, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box. I used a non wheat pasta, so I kept an eye on it because the cook time is different than regular pasta.

In a large saucepan or skillet melt the butter and add the sliced mushrooms and green onions. Cook over medium heat for about a minute, then add the flour. Cook the mix, stirring another minute, then add the milk and salt and pepper (this is just for taste, so it’s optional). Stir this until thickened slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the squash. Then add the pasta and stir to incorporate.

Transfer ½ of the pasta mixture to baking dish. Top with half of the cheese. Add the other half of the pasta mixture. Top it off with the remaining cheese and stick the dish in the oven.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until cheese is melted & edges begin to bubble. I took my dish out at 30 minutes. Let the mac and cheese cool before cutting into it.

This will serve 6 (if you decide to share). Enjoy!

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