Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

By Katie, 5:59 pm

A healthy-but-still-delicious version of Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Yes, please! :-)

One that incorporates the creamy sweetness of Butternut squash? Even better! :-D

This dish has all of the necessary components of a classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese: creamy texture, cheesy flavor, the comforting feel of baked pasta, and the somewhat disturbing bright orange/yellow color. ;-)

And yet it is, without a doubt, GOOD FOR YOU!

It’s simple to make too! First you cook your butternut squash (either by roasting or steaming it), then puree it using your preferred method (blender, food processor, potato masher, fork, whatever!). Then you make a simple sauce by mixing the squash with a little bit of butter or oil (I used Earth Balance), flour, water, and some salt to taste.

Then you add your cheese – a little bit of shredded mozzarella and a little bit of cream cheese. You will be SHOCKED by how cheesy this tastes for how little cheese you actually use! 8-O

Then you just stir together your cheesy squash mixture, some frozen peas, and cooked whole wheat pasta. Bake for 25 minutes, and you’re ready to dig in!

So creamy and cheesy!!!

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Adapted from Branny Boils Over

Serves 4

Ingredients
1.5 cups whole wheat penne pasta (dry – about 150 grams)
1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 cup frozen peas (could also substitute frozen chopped broccoli)
1 tbsp butter or oil (I used Earth Balance)
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup water
salt to taste

1. Peel butternut squash. Roast or steam until very tender, then puree. (I used a blender, but you could use a food processor, potato masher, or just a fork!)

2. Cook the whole wheat penne until al dente. Reserve.

3. Meanwhile, melt your choice of butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water and salt to taste, and stir until a pale sauce forms. Add pureed squash and stir well.

4. Add shredded mozzarella and cream cheese; heat until cheese is melted.

5. Add the cooked pasta and the frozen peas to the cheese/squash mixture. Stir well, then spread into an 8 x 8″ baking dish.

6. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy! :-)

What’s your favorite kind of Mac ‘n’ Cheese? The baked, homemade kind? From a box?

15 Responses to “Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese”

  1. This sounds amazing! I love the butternut squash addition :)

    I’m definitely a homemade mac&cheese kind of girl

  2. I second that!
    Sounds like an awesome recipe!
    Now to hunt down some butternut squash!

  3. Lisa says:

    wow, this sounds really interesting! I love mac ‘n cheese but haven’t had it in such a long time! Well, actually two of my friends and I split an appetizer not too long ago. SOOO good! When I was little I’d mix in peas like you did here! Too funny.

  4. Mmmm Katie this sounds so so good! I love butternut squash so I’ve just got to make this!
    And I love a nice baked mac and cheese with crumb topping. But I grew up with Kraft, super nostalgic and delish!
    Have a great night!

  5. Sarah says:

    I love butternut squash as a substitute for cheese with pasta. I sometimes use toasted almonds to garnish the top of the mac and cheese. It adds another layer of flavor. I love how you used peas in your dish.

  6. Jessie says:

    I love how your mac’n'cheese the same color as the Kraft stuff that I used to inhale, but much healthier and much tastier-looking! I’ve gotta try this one – bookmarked! :)

  7. I took butternut squash mac n cheese to Thanksgiving once and no one knew the difference :D

  8. Ashley says:

    What an interesting take on Mac ‘n Cheese! Thanks for sharing!

  9. That mac and cheese sounds and looks delish!!!! Great idea!

  10. Nicole, RD says:

    That looks delicious! I’m on a huge butternut squash kick lately!

  11. WOW!! What a great idea! Even ommiting the cheese all together would be WONDERFUL! :) Thanks for the great idea!

  12. Rhonda says:

    Katie I modified the receipe,I used milk instead of cream cheese,butter,flour and water. Used broccoli instead of peas,topped it with Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs to make it nice and crunchy on top!! DELICIOUS(made a double batch to have 2x’s this week)

    • Katie says:

      Rhonda, those adaptations sound delicious! I’ll definitely try topping it with Panko next time…I’d love a little crunch on top! Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. Becky says:

    I made this last night – it was great!! A bit of work for a weekday night with the squash, but absolutely delicious. Even my carnivore/hates-new-things of a husband had seconds!

    • Katie says:

      That’s awesome! You’re right that it’s a lot of work…I should have mentioned in the post that often I will roast the squash over the weekend, then just keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to puree it. I’m so glad you (and your husband!) enjoyed it! :)

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