This vegan honey nut squash mac and cheese is the perfect fall recipe featuring seasonal squash, coconut milk, roasted garlic and broccoli.
Honey Nut Squash Mac and Cheese
If you’re obsessed with squash like I am, then this honey nut squash mac and cheese is for you! Instead of using cashews for the sauce, I roasted squash and pureed it with coconut milk. This makes for a super creamy and rich cheese substitute that doesn’t require too much prep work.
Honey nut is a variety of butternut squash, and in my opinion the best tasting squash. I’m pretty sure that I ate it three times last week! I bought a handful of smaller sized squash, baked them in the oven with garlic and a shallot, then used an immersion blender to puree the squash with the coconut milk. I added nutritional yeast, salt, and cayenne pepper for a little bit of heat. I can’t live without it!
Nutritional yeast was one of the first vegan substitutes that I tried once I stopped eating meat as a teenager. I remember everyone raving about it being a delicious substitute for cheese. I would add a sprinkle to every meal, but I was never one to use it in sauces or dressings. I would usually just add a little bit to my rice bowls or on top of veggies. I remember when I first saw Fred use it in tofu scramble, and I realized that it’s seriously one of the most versatile foods in a plant-based diet. You can add it to almost any savory dish and it adds a ton of flavor and vitamins. I added nutritional yeast to the squash and coconut milk sauce to make it more “cheesy” and less sweet, and it really helps balance it out.
I like to add loads of broccoli to mac and cheese, and my kids expect it now whenever they eat it! If you lightly steam the broccoli it doesn’t lose too much of the crunchy texture, and compliments the creamy pasta. I also like to add a little bit of baby kale or spinach, and top everything with hemp seeds and another sprinkle of cayenne pepper. YUM! Feel free to add even more vegetables to your mac and cheese and use your favorite type of pasta! I’ve made this with gluten-free pasta and whole wheat penne and both worked great!
Honey Nut Squash Mac and Cheese
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 4 people||Total:|
- 8 oz cooked pasta - whatever kind you like!
- 4-5 small honey nut squash or 2 large squash
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1 small shallot
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- Cut off the stems and bottom of each honey nut squash and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves and shallot to the pan.
- Drizzle the olive oil, salt and pepper evenly across the squash and bake for roughly 35 minutes, until the squash is really soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Once the squash has been baking for about 25 minutes, cook the pasta until al dente and put aside.
- Lightly steam the broccoli for 5 minutes - you want the broccoli to still have a little crunch.
- After the squash is fully cooked, you can let it cool off for a couple of minutes before removing the seeds. Use an ice cream scoop or other sturdy spoon to remove the flesh from each squash and place inside a large pot.
- Add the roasted garlic cloves and shallots to the pot of squash and about 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Then add in the nutritional yeast and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to start mixing the squash with the coconut milk and other ingredients, and continue to add coconut milk until you achieve a creamy consistency.
- Add the pasta and broccoli to the pot and mix until the pasta is fully coated with the honey nut squash sauce. You can add more salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, or cayenne pepper to your mac and cheese.
- Top with hemp seeds and enjoy warm.
This works well with any type of pasta. I used gluten-free elbows and also whole wheat penne pasta and both tasted great!