Ask and you shall receive.
A few weeks ago I posted this photo to Instagram and Facebook and, while I originally had no designs of blogging the recipe for my Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese, a bunch of you ended up asking for it. I’m of course always happy to oblige, which brings us to the recipe of the hour, but before we get into that, some mindless chatter (as per usual).
I whipped up the aforementioned bowl of mac ‘n cheese on a night where I was feeling particularly inspired and in the mood for something creamy and, well, cheesey for lack of a better word.
Can I let you guys in on a little secret though? You may not believe me when I say this, but most of the time…I eat really boring food.
I’m serious. As much as I love to cook and experiment with new flavours, most nights after work my energy levels are running close to empty, and I just want a simple and nutritious meal to fill me up without exerting much effort at all. My go-to dinner is usually some combination of leftover grain (like quinoa or millet) 3-4 cups of steamed fresh and frozen vegetables including brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, green beans and mushrooms, 1 cup of chickpeas and a generous dousing of whatever sauce or dressing I have lying around. If I’m feeling especially lazy I’ll just drizzle some Bragg’s liquid aminos with some lemon juice and call it a night.
On this particular night though – the brussels sprouts stayed put in the depths of my freezer, and instead came this fantastically decadent yet nutritious and vegan version of a time honoured classic, the good ol’ Mac ‘n Cheese (which is apparently one of Canada’s national dishes – who knew!).
- 1 cup butternut squash, cubed and steamed until soft
- ¼ cup canellini beans (other white beans will also work)
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
- 1 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter like Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 medium clove of garlic
- 5 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 packet of macaroni pasta of choice (I used a gluten-free corn and rice blend)
- Optional add ins: steamed broccoli, kale or peas
- Cook your macaroni pasta according to packet instructions then drain and set aside. If using GF pasta be wary of overcooking as your noodles will pretty much turn to mush if left unattended.
- In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed - I like to add a touch more lemon and nooch myself at this stage.
- Combine the pasta and sauce in a pot and low heat and stir until well coated. Allow to heat as needed. Stir in add-ins or serve as is.
- If you have the time or energy to spare, oven-roasting your squash will definitely add a deeper flavour profile, but I personally think it tastes just as good using the steamed variety.
- You can use any white bean of choice (even chickpeas) but I find cannelini beans blend easier even without a high-speed blender.
- Feel free to adjust the consistency using more/less liquid as needed. If you wanted a really thick cheese sauce to use as a dip of sorts you could start with a 1/3 cup of almond milk and work your way up.
Truth be told, this dish is a real people pleaser. The creamy butternut “cheese” sauce is perfectly savoury with just the right amount of natural sweetness – frighteningly reminiscent of the real deal. It definitely hits the spot as a staple vegan comfort food and is a great recipe to have in your arsenal.
But I mean, of course I would say that.
Until next time, dear readers!