MAC + CHEESE—we all love it.
When I was growing up, I probably would have considered it to have its own food group. Honestly, not much has changed (except maybe the ingredients in the mac + cheese).
This recipe has been in my meal rotation for about 4 years now—so we can stay it has stood the test of time. It was one of the first recipes that I shared on The Local Sprout but since my food styling skills have improved and I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, it seemed worth sharing again.
Before we talk about the food, let me share a little story from my original post:
“I served this Mac + Cheese to Mark for the first time when I was in college. I cooked it up in my little dorm kitchen and nervously served it to him in the little shared lounge outside of my room. See, Mark is hearty-food type of guy and the idea of vegan (dairy free) mac and cheese isn’t necessarily the first thing people think of when they think “hearty”. Anyway, after he downed the bowl and complimented me multiple times, I was convinced that the recipe must be pretty good.”
Probably my favorite thing about this recipe is the ingredients.
Butternut squash makes the creamiest base for the sauce, along with nutritional yeast—which has a deceptively “cheesy” flavor. Runner up on the favorite things though is probably how delicious the leftovers from this recipe are. I love making a huge batch before a trip. We keep a reusable container of it in our cooler and just reheat whatever we want on our camp stove for a hearty and cozy dinner.
You guys are going to love this recipe! Don’t be surprised if you never want “regular” mac + cheese again.
If you try this recipe, be sure to comment, leave a rating, and don’t forget to tag a photo #thelocalsprout on Instagram! I can’t wait to hear what you think!
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp. Sea Salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 8 ounces pasta shells (I used gluten free chickpea pasta)
- 6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- ¼ cup vegetable broth, plus extra for thinning
- 1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes (optional—to taste)
- ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 small head of broccoli, steamed or roasted (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spread cubed butternut squash across one large or two small baking sheets. Drizzle with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and transfer to large bowl.
- If serving with broccoli, prepare your desired way.
- In a high-speed blender or food processor combine the roasted butternut squash, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika.
- Blend on high until thick and creamy, but still pourable. Add extra vegetable broth if sauce is too thick.
- Pour sauce over the pasta and stir until well coated. Gently fold in broccoli if using.
- Enjoy warm. Leftovers will keep in airtight container for up to 5 days or in freezer for up to a month.
The Local Sprout