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Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”

Posted May 10 2011 12:00am

I am a total sucker for comfort food and mac and cheese happens to be high on that list. Since shaping up my diet a few years ago, I am always looking for ways to healthify those sinful foods we all know and love. I first made a healthy mac and cheese with a carrot puree ( HERE ) and thought it was absolutely genius! I couldn’t believe how good it was! So when I saw Angela’s post, from Oh She Glows , for Vegan Mac and Cheese, I had to give it a whirl. Both renditions were equally nutritious, fabulously delicious and still tasted totally different.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 cups raw butternut squash, chopped
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 6-7 tbsp Nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp country dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp or a bit more of dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Tumeric powder, optional (gives the orangey color)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Paprika + more to season
  • Your choice of whole wheat rotini noodles, quinoa noodles or a gluten free brand ( I went with the quinoa, my fav!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet.  In a bowl, season chopped squash with 1 tsp oil and couple pinches of sea salt and stir. Add to baking sheet and roast in oven for 40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking.

2. Assemble your cheese 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.

3. 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.

Before:

After:

5. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water.

6. Now add the pasta back into the same pot and add your desired amount of cheese 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, sprinkle on panko + paprika, and bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.

Random questions of the day

1. What is your favorite comfort food? Have you ever tried to make a healthified version of it?

2. What would you like to see more of on Dishin’ About Nutrition?

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