Classic American · Healthy Living · Pastas · Recipes · Sauces

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and “Cheese”


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Comfort food = macaroni and cheese. Yes. You can’t deny it. And neither can I. But there’s nothing comfortable what about dairy does to my insides. Oversharing?

I wanted something fairly simple for dinner (and gluten-free as well) after our bike ride this afternoon. Oh, and how about that Tampa Bay Lightning? I donned my blue athletic shirt and matching workout capris to celebrate before we pedaled away. My husband and I are big hockey fans, especially Tampa Bay. I knew we were going to finish off the Islanders today. I’m not sure who I want to see us up against in the next round. I am also a Pittsburgh fan and would like to see them win, for one because I like the team and two, because I believe TBL defeated the Penguins each time we played them this season. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m just hoping it will be a repeat and we can keep moving forward. Alright, no more hockey talk. Let’s get to the food.

I’ll be first to say this does not taste like cheese, but it does taste savory, creamy and slightly sweet with a hint of smokiness from the smoked paprika. What is smoked paprika not good on? Ice cream maybe? Cereal? Chocolate cake?

Ingredients:

3 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (divided)
2 1/2 tsp onion powder (divided)
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (divided)
3/4 tsp sea salt (divided)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp yellow miso paste
1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp vegan butter (like Smart Balance Light with Flax)
2 cups gluten free macaroni noodles (or pasta of your choice like rigatoni or penne)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish

FIRST soak those cashews overnight in enough water to cover them by about an inch. Cover them with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cubed butternut squash in a mixing bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Roast on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes.

While your squash is roasting, cook pasta to directions on box. When pasta is al dente, drain almost all the water out. Reserve a very small amount of liquid in the pot. Return pasta to pot from strainer and stir in the 2 tbsp of vegan butter. Cover and keep warm on the stove top.

When the squash is done, place the chunks in a high speed blender along with the 1 1/2 cups of almond milk, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp onion powder,  1 tsp garlic powder, nutritional yeast, white pepper, yellow miso, and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Drain all water from cashews and add to blender. Add more salt and/or black pepper to taste. Blend on the highest speed until everything is super creamy and there are no lumps.

Pour over the macaroni noodles and mix well. Serve with chopped fresh parsley and a dusting of fresh ground black pepper.

Makes 4-5 servings.

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