Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Vegan)
Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a deliciously sweet take on a macaroni and cheese casserole that is so creamy! You’ll love this easy dinner recipe!
Why You’ll Love this Vegan Mac and Cheese
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never met a mac and cheese that I didn’t like. That said, this vegan macaroni and cheese with butternut squash holds a special place in my heart. Here are a few quick reasons why:
- Butternut Squash is Delicious and Easy to Work With: I’m kind of in love with butternut squash. Okay, really in love. They last practically forever (they can last from 1-3 months) and they’re super easy to cut and peel. Plus, they’re sweet, and even creamier than pumpkin. How could I (and you) not get in on that awesomeness?
- It’s Flavorful: Like I mentioned above, you can cure your sweet AND salty cravings with just one meal! The saltiness of the crisped sage blends perfectly with the rich, subtly sweet butternut, and your tastebuds are the benefactors.
- It’s Quick: You can have this dish piping hot and on the table in just 35 minutes, which makes it a great option for busy weeknights! It also saves really well, meaning you get to enjoy fabulous, flavorful leftovers if needed.
- It’s Comfort Food: I’m pretty sure that mac and cheese in any form qualifies as comfort food. This creamy pasta can be made any time of year, but it’s especially comforting in the fall when it starts to get cold outside!
Notes on Ingredients
Okay, we’re almost there. Before we dive into how to start this “cheesy” masterpiece, let’s go over the essential ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to gather up:
- Sage: Make sure to use fresh sage, and remove the stems before starting.
- Butternut Squash: Medium-sized, peeled, and with seeds removed. Chop it into large chunks before you begin.
- Pasta: You can use regular or gluten free, it doesn’t really matter. I like to use penne, cavatappi, etc.
- Butter: As far as vegan butter goes, I like Earth Balance’s spread. Regular oil also works.
- Flour: Use regular all-purpose flour, or coconut flour, if needed.
- Vegan Milk: Any vegan milk works – soy, almond, coconut, etc.
- Nutritional Yeast: Adds extra protein to the dish.
- Breadcrumbs: I like to use panko breadcrumbs. Gluten free breadcrumbs can be used, if needed.
- Seasoning: Combine sea salt with ground black pepper.
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Mixing this butternut squash mac and cheese together is no trouble at all. There are a lot of parts to this recipe (i.e. cooking the butternut, the sage, the pasta, and combining all three components), but the steps aren’t overly complex or difficult, as you can see here:
Preheat the Oven to 425°F: Then, bring two pots of salted water to a boil. Add the butternut squash to one, cook for 10 minutes or until fork soft.
Cook the Pasta: Add the pasta to the other pot (cook pasta according to directions on the box). If it’s finished cooking before you have finished the sauce, remove from heat and drain, keeping 1/2 cup pasta water, and let stand until you’re ready to use it.
Cook the Sage: In a large pan, melt the vegan butter or coconut oil on medium-high. Add the sage leaves and cook for 1 minute, watching carefully so the butter/oil doesn’t burn, until crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, and season with a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Don’t throw out the butter/oil!
Make the Sauce: In the same pan over medium heat with the leftover butter/oil, add the flour and whisk, then cook for about 1 minute until it comes together. Add vegan milk and whisk until it is lump free. Reduce the heat to low and season with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken, then remove from heat.
Mash the Squash: Transfer butternut squash into the sauce and using a fork, mash it into the sauce until combined.
Combine Pasta, Squash, & Sauce: Transfer the drained pasta, reserved pasta water, and nutritional yeast squash and sauce mixture. Stir until well combined.
Bake the Mac and Cheese: Transfer the pasta mixture into a greased baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil to moisten them, then season them with remaining salt and pepper. Sprinkle the moistened crumbs in a single layer over the dish. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Crumble the crispy sage over the top. Enjoy!
Tips for Success
See what I mean? Totally doable, whether you’re looking for a quick mid-week dinner or an indulgent meal that guests will love.
There are, however, a couple of tips on this butternut squash mac and cheese that will make the process even easier:
- How to Mash the Butternut Squash: You can mash it with your wooden spoon, spatula, or fork. It’s that soft. You don’t need any other kind of equipment for this recipe!
- Do I Have to Use Sage? Technically no, but I highly recommend it. The saltiness of the sage and its crispy texture really pull the dish together.
- How to Make this Gluten Free: Simply use gluten free pasta, flour, and panko breadcrumbs, and you’re good to go!
- Peel the Squash: You can use unpeeled butternut squash if you want, but for the creamiest, smoothest results, make sure to peel it!
Wondering what to serve with your butternut mac and cheese? I’ve got a few ideas that might help! This veggie mac and cheese is generally pretty filling, but there are a couple of light sides that I like to include with it sometimes:
- Salad: Usually when I make this meal, a light, leafy green salad on the side is enough to satisfy everybody’s appetites!
- Veggies: Roasted or sautéed vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, and others are great too, because you can mix them in with your creamy pasta!
- Bread: Use slices of crusty bread to soak up some of the creamy butternut sauce – words can’t describe how good!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store your butternut squash mac and cheese leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat, bake in the oven until warmed through at 425 degrees F, or simply microwave. It may not be quite as creamy as it originally was if you microwave it, but it’ll still taste great!
Can I Freeze This?
Sure! Freeze your mac and cheese in an airtight container for 1-2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, make sure to thaw it overnight in the fridge first before reheating!
Enjoy friends! If you make this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Crispy Sage
- 1 bunch fresh sage, stems removed
- 1/2 medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped into large chunks
- 8 ounces pasta, regular or gluten free
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, I like Earth Balance’s spread or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons flour, regular or coconut flour if needed
- 1 to 1 ¼ cups vegan milk, any vegan milk works
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs + 2 teaspoons of olive oil, gluten free if needed
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bring two pots of salted water to a boil. Add the butternut squash to one, cook for 10 minutes or until fork soft.
- Add the pasta to the other (cook pasta according to directions on the box). If it’s finished cooking before you have finished the sauce, removed from heat, drain, keeping 1/2 cup pasta water and let stand until you’re ready to use it.
- In a large pan, melt the vegan butter or coconut oil on medium-high. Add the sage leaves and cook for 1 minute, watching carefully so the butter/oil doesn’t burn, until crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, and season with a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Don’t throw out the butter/oil!
- In the same pan over medium heat with the leftover butter/oil, add the flour and whisk, then cook for about 1 minute until it comes together. Add vegan milk and whisk until it is lump free. Reduce the heat to low and season with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until the sauce starts to thicken, then remove from heat.
- Transfer butternut squash into the sauce and using a fork, mash it into the sauce until combined.
- Transfer the drained pasta, reserved pasta water, and nutritional yeast squash and sauce mixture. Stir until well combined. If the sauce seems a little dry, add in the extra milk a tablespoon at a time until your desired consistency.
- Transfer the pasta mixture into a greased baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil to moisten them, then season them with remaining salt and pepper. Sprinkle the moistened crumbs in a single layer over the dish. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
- Crumble the crispy sage over the top. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.
I love butternut squash mac and cheese- it’s so delicious! Definitely one of my favourite things about having butternut squash back in season 🙂
Ooohhh! What a great healthy version of Mac N Cheese! Love it! Pinned. 🙂
Oh wow…I just made a pumpkin version of this and of course I knew something was missing – I should have fried the sage!!
Butternut squash mac and cheese is like the BEST thing ever! It was always one of my go to meals for fall that’s healthy! This version with the sage leaves looks AWESOME!
Hand me a fork and a bowl because I am totally going after this one! YUM!
love the butternut squash and the sage here. . almost makes up for the fact that there’s no cheese! 🙂 love this!
Oooh. I’m inviting myself for dinner. Which is only a liiiitle wierd. Since we don’t know each other and all.
I agree; I’m starting to hoard squash and just love knowing it will last weeks in the pantry and there’s no pressure but always reassuringly there! : ) Your mac and cheese looks sensational! I always leave here hungry!
I literally just made pretty much this exact same dish last night, haha! Butternut squash mac and cheese is my new favorite meal now! It is so good and you are so right, it doesn’t need cheese at all! Love this dish so much and I will be making it all season long 🙂
Butternut squash mac ‘n cheese sounds delicious, Jessica! I just made a pumpkin kind, so I definitely have to try this version out. So perfect for the fall. Pinned!