Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

This Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese is made with a velvety butternut squash cashew cheese sauce and topped with crispy sage panko breadcrumbs- it’s crazy good!

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and CheeseOh..hello, super rich, insanely creamy, incredibly comforting macaroni and cheese that does not actually contain any cheese or dairy WHATSOEVER. You are officially my new best friend.

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and CheeseThat’s right folks, this Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese is completely dairy free, and it doesn’t rely on a processed alternative cheese product either. Instead, this is a cashew/almond milk bechamel and butternut squash based sauce that achieves dreamy, Velveeta-like proportions (and that I would literally bathe in if it was deemed socially acceptable).

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and CheeseThis is actually a recipe that I’ve posted on the blog before. And it happens to be one of the most popular recipes ever on LPE ever (currently sitting pretty at #2, thankyouverymuch). You can check out that recipe here– it’s great! But because it’s been so well-received I wanted to revisit it, update it with some prettier photos and see where I could make some minor improvements to an already awesome recipe. Here’s what I did differently this time:

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and CheeseI soaked the cashews for about an hour to help them blend up a bit easier, and I also strained the cashews after blending to remove any solid particles that remained. These two tiny tweaks allow for maximum smoothness factor in the sauce.

I also upped the quantity of nutritional yeast to a whopping three tablespoons. The previous recipe calls for two to three tablespoons, but this time, no wishy-washy-ing. I’m standing firm at three for ultimate cheesy flavor. Trust me, more is better in this case.

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and CheeseOh, and let us not forget about the epic-ness of the crispy sage breadcrumb topping, because butternut squash and sage are like two peas in a pod. So are mac and cheese and panko. I didn’t touch this part of the recipe because it’s perfect just the way it is. Adding a little contrast of crunch to soft noodles enrobed in a lusciously silky sauce is ALWAYS a good idea. I advise you never to skip this step lest the quality of your mac and cheese suffer!

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and CheeseIf you make this Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese, share a pic with the hashtag #LePetitEats on Instagram, so we can be vegan mac and cheese buddies forever!


 

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

This Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese is made with a velvety butternut squash cashew cheese sauce and topped with crispy sage panko breadcrumbs- it’s crazy good!

Servings 4
Author Denisse

Ingredients

  • For the macaroni:
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • ¼ cup cashews soaked for 1 hour
  • cups plain almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or other vegan butter substitute
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • For the panko-sage crust:
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or other vegan butter substitute
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 8-10 sage leaves
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place squash in a steamer basket set over boiling water and cover. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a high speed blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. If any lumps remain, pass through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside.

  3. Blend cashews and ½ cup of almond milk in a food processor or high speed blender until completely smooth. Pass mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any solids. Melt 2 tablespoons Earth Balance in a medium saucepan and add flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until flour is cooked through and mixture has turned golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the remaining cup of almond milk to saucepan, along with salt, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, ground mustard and cayenne. Stir to combine and cook until mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Fold in reserved butternut squash puree and stir until incorporated. Add pasta to pot and combine with sauce. Spoon into greased individual ramekins or a 9x9 inch baking dish.
  5. To make the panko sage breadcrumbs, melt 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add sage and smashed garlic, cooking until sage is crisp on both sides, about 1-2 minutes. Remove sage leaves and drain on paper towels. Add panko to skillet and stir to combine. Cook until breadcrumbs are golden and toasted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and crumble sage leaves back into pan. Discard garlic and sprinkle over macaroni. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

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