This is THE BEST vegan butternut squash mac and cheese you will ever try! It is rich, creamy, silky smooth and will leave you feeling cozy and satisfied!
I’ve been ramping up the fall recipes this past week and I am very excited with how everything has turned out so far! I was especially excited with this vegan butternut squash mac and cheese recipe, and from what I sneak peaked on Instagram stories, it seems like everyone else is just as excited as I am.
Back in April before I discovered I had a lactose intolerance, I made a regular butternut squash mac and cheese, made in a very similar fashion but will all the cheeses (4 cups to be exact)! It was delicious, John was very skeptical of the whole idea and ended up liking it a lot. But can I tell you a secret? This VEGAN version is BETTER! I promise. I have never seen such a silky smooth sauce before. Seriously, you could bathe in this stuff.
My favorite part about this recipe is that it does not require a roux. The butternut squash thickens the sauce enough without one. This makes this recipe super easy (making a roux can be a bit tricky) and gluten free! I also love the extra nutrients the butternut squash adds to this dish. Butternut squash is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. This butternut squash mac and cheese dish is a great way to sneak in some vegetables that your kids will not be able to detect!
Do me favor and do not skip the garnishes. Th browned butternut squash, crispy sage and toasty chopped walnuts just bring this dish to a whole other level, and the sage and walnuts compliment the sauce perfectly. It is a bit more effort that is well worth it!
This vegan butternut squash mac & cheese recipe includes:
- Butternut squash
- Garlic and onion
- Non dairy creamer
- Nutritional yeast
- Vegan cheese
- Herbs and spices
What you will need to make vegan butternut squash mac & cheese
- Sheet pan
- Large sauté pan
- Pasta pot
- Rubber spatula
- Cutting board and knife
How to make vegan butternut squash mac & cheese
The first step to making vegan butternut squash mac and cheese is to roast the butternut squash. This is a time consuming process, but I assure you it creates a more flavorful squash vs. microwaving or boiling. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place squash on the baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast the butternut squash for 35-40 minutes, or until very soft (should mash easily with a fork). Remove squash from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before measuring out squash.
Meanwhile, in the large sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp vegan butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until soft, approximately 4-5 minutes. Combine the butter, garlic and onions with roasted butternut squash, dairy free creamer, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt and pepper in a large high speed blender. Blend until sauce is silky smooth.
At this point you can bring the pasta water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water in case it is needed later on to thin the sauce.
Return blended sauce back to the sauté pan and turn to medium heat. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and add in the vegan cheese. Stir sauce constantly, to help the cheese melt into the sauce and to avoid burning. Once cheese has melted completely into the sauce, turn heat to low. Add strained pasta and mix well to combine. Add pasta cooking water, if needed, to thin the sauce (I ended up adding about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water to mine).
To make the garish:
In a small skillet, melt 1 tbsp of vegan butter. Add diced butternut squash and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash starts to brown. Add chopped walnuts and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Lastly, add sage leaves and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until crispy. Remove from heat and add on top of the mac and cheese.
- To get 2 cups of roasted butternut squash, cook one small butternut squash, or half of a large butternut squash.
- Measure butternut squash after it is roasted and soft.
- The sauce is thick, so it may take a minute to start to blend well. I let my blender go for a full minute at least. The end result should be a silky smooth and thick sauce.
- Be patient when melting the cheese into the sauce. It is better to have the sauce at a gentle simmer and slowly melt the cheese in than to have it on high heat and potentially burn the sauce.
- If the sauce is too thick or is quickly absorbed by the pasta, the pasta cooking water can thin out the sauce. I always reserve some pasta cooking water and add anywhere between 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup while mixing the sauce with the pasta.
- Pack in some extra nutrients by adding broccoli, roasted cauliflower, asparagus or spinach!
- Non dairy creamer: Nutpods Original Unsweetened creamer. It is thick and rich and perfect for creating creamy sauces.
- Vegan cheddar: Violife Foods Cheddar Shreds. Best tasting vegan cheddar I have tried and melts well.
- Pasta: Banza chickpea pasta or Trader Joe’s brown rice fusilli pasta
- Nutritional yeast: Can be found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other health food stores.
- Non vegan option: sub vegan butter, cheddar and creamer with regular butter, cheddar and heavy cream or half & half. It may be taboo to give non vegan options on a vegan recipe however, I know not everyone in a household may be vegan. So to satisfy everyone, you can blend the sauce (with non dairy creamer and nutritional yeast), then divide the sauce between two pans, melt vegan cheddar into one pan and regular cheddar into the other and voilà! Everyone is happy.
If you liked this cozy dinner recipe, check out some of my other recipes:
- Roasted Tomato Soup (Vegan)
- Chicken Pot Pie with Buttermilk Biscuits
- Cauliflower Gnocchi and Chicken Sausage Bake
- Ratatouille Gnocchi (Vegan)
If you make this vegan butternut squash mac and cheese, be sure to leave a comment below and rate this recipe! If you snap a pic, be sure to tag me on Instagram @thechowdown! I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb pasta
- 2 cups roasted butternut squash
- 1 cup dairy free creamer
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/4 white or yellow onion chopped
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 cup vegan cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- For the garnish
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 cup butternut squash small dice
- 8-10 fresh sage leaves
- 1/3 cup walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place butternut squash on baking sheet, spray with cooking oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 35-40 minutes, or until it easily mashes with a fork. Allow squash to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp vegan butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Combine butter, garlic and onions with roasted butternut squash, non dairy creamer, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt and pepper in a large high speed blender. Blend on high until your sauce is smooth and silky.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water before straining pasta.
- Add sauce back to sauté pan and turn heat to medium. Add vegan cheddar shreds and melt into sauce, stirring constantly. Once cheese has melted into sauce, adjust seasoning as needed. Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Add pasta cooking water, if needed, to thin the sauce.
- For the garnish: In a small skillet, heat 2 tbsp vegan butter over medium heat. Add diced butternut squash and cook 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped walnuts and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Lastly, add sage leaves and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, or until squash is brown and sage is crispy.