June 14, 2021

Spicy Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Macaroni is drenched in silky butternut sauce spiked with spicy cayenne pepper to make this rich and creamy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese!

Bowl of Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Topped with Chives and Tofu Bacon, Wooden Spoon and Red Pot in the Background

I LOVE butternut squash! And this is about the time of year I start scrambling to use as much of it as as I can. After all, fall is over, and winter won’t last forever!

Sometimes I like to make something traditional like butternut squash soup, but I also like to get creative with stuff like butternut hummus, butternut squash stuffed shells, and as you’ll see today….butternut squash mac and cheese!

What Does Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Taste Like?

Pot of Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and Chives with Wooden Spoon

I know this is a burning question…does the sauce actually taste like cheese? Well no. Not really. But also it kind of does. Let me explain.

Butternut squash is pretty sweet, and cheese, you probably realize, is generally not. If you ate a spoonful of the sauce for this dish blindfolded you’d say it tastes like spicy butternut squash. Not cheese.

But, the texture is kind of cheesy, and that’s important! It has that silky richness you probably remember from traditional mac and cheese. Plus, let’s not discount the fact that it’s orange, which does make a difference in how you perceive the taste.

So while butternut squash mac & cheese isn’t fooling anyone, it’s kind of satisfying the same way traditional mac & cheese is.

What You’ll Need

  • Butternut squash.
  • A yellow onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Olive oil. Or your favorite oil for roasting.
  • Non-dairy milk. Just about any variety will do, as long as it’s unflavored and unsweetened.
  • Coconut milk. Use full-fat coconut milk from a can. Feel free to sub some extra of your other non-dairy milk if you hate the taste of coconut.
  • Hot sauce. Use something relatively mild and vinegar-based, like Frank’s.
  • Nutritional yeast flakes.
  • Salt.
  • Elbow macaroni.
  • Chives. I like to sprinkle these on top when serving. Leave them out if they’re not your thing.

How to Make Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make vegan butternut squash mac & cheese. Scroll down if you’d prefer to skip right to the recipe!

  • Start by prepping your veggies: dice the squash, roughly chop the onion, and peel the garlic.
  • Arrange the veggies in an even layer on a baking sheet and drizzle them with oil. Rub the oil in a bit with your hands. Pop the sheet into the oven and roast the veggies until they’re tender.
Roasted Butternut Squash, Garlic and Onions on Parchment Paper
  • Boil your pasta according to the package directions while the veggies roast.
  • When the veggies come out of the oven, place them into a food processor or blender, along with the milk, hot sauce, nutritional yeast, and some salt. Blend everything until the mixture is smooth.
Two Images Showing Ingredients for Butternut Squash Sauce in a Blender Before and After Blending
  • When the pasta is done cooking, drain it, then pour the sauce over it.
  • Stir everything up and season it with some additional salt. You can place the pot on the stove to heat everything back up if it’s cooled down too much.
Two Images Showing (1) Butternut Squash Sauce Being Poured into a Pot of Macaroni, and (2) Sauce Being Stirred into Macaroni
  • For bonus points, cook up some tofu bacon in the oven while your veggies are roasting. It goes great on top of butternut mac.
Tofu Bacon Cubes on Parchment Paper

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Tips & FAQ

  • Can this recipe be made gluten-free? Yup! Just use your favorite vegan gluten-free elbow macaroni.
  • Shelf life & storage: Leftover macaroni will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 4 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months. The sauce may thicken up over time — thin it with some non-dairy milk if needed.
  • Prefer a mild version? Leave out the hot sauce and season the sauce with a bit of vinegar. A tablespoon should probably do it, but add a bit at a time and taste test to make sure you get the flavor right.
Wooden Surface Set with Pot and Spoon, Bowl of Chopped Chives and Bowl of Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Tofu Bacon

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Bowl of Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Topped with Chives and Tofu Bacon, Wooden Spoon and Red Pot in the Background

Spicy Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Macaroni is drenched in silky butternut sauce spiked with spicy cayenne pepper to make this rich and creamy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Servings 4
Calories 447 kcal
Author Alissa Saenz

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 ounces dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk (such as almond or soy)
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (from a can)
  • 2 tablespoons mild vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Frank’s), or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Tofu bacon (optional, made with diced tofu) for serving
  • Chopped fresh chives, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Arrange the squash, onion, and garlic on the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Rub the oil in with your hands to evenly coat everything, then arrange the veggies in an even layer.

  3. Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast everything until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  4. While the veggies roast, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain the macaroni in a colander and return it to the pot when it has finished cooking.

  5. When the veggies come out of the oven let them cool for a few minutes, then place them into a blender or food processor fitted with an s-blade. Add the milk, coconut milk, hot sauce, nutritional yeast, and salt.

  6. Blend everything until smooth.

  7. Season the sauce with additional salt and/or hot sauce to taste.

  8. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir until everything is well mixed.

  9. If the ingredients cooled down too much, heat everything back up for a few minutes on the stove.

  10. Divide onto plates and optionally top with tofu bacon and/or chives. Serve.

Nutrition Facts

Spicy Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Amount Per Serving (1 cup (heaping – 1/4 of recipe))

Calories 447 Calories from Fat 110

% Daily Value*

Fat 12.2g19%

Saturated Fat 7.1g36%

Sodium 309mg13%

Potassium 811mg23%

Carbohydrates 73.9g25%

Fiber 7.1g28%

Sugar 6.6g7%

Protein 13.9g28%

Calcium 91mg9%

Iron 5mg28%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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