Butternut Squash on table with pumpkins

Looking for a Halloween dinner that will keep the kids fueled up but is still full of good stuff? Last year I came up with this recipe for vegan butternut squash mac ‘n’ cheese that checks both of those boxes! 

It’s a tradition in my family to make mac ‘n’ cheese on Halloween. It started when I was a kid, when my mom would make my grandma’s recipe for the gooiest, cheesiest mac. She knew all our friends would like it, and because it was orange, it was easy to pass off as a festive dish.

Well, last year I was pretty strict on my clean eating plan, but I still wanted to indulge in this nostalgic comfort food! So I started playing around, using butternut squash to make the base of the sauce instead of the traditional flour-based rue and cheese. For the pasta, I used gluten-free (either quinoa or chickpea, I love Banza, it has double the protein and half the carbs of traditional pasta and you can’t taste the difference!), and for the cheese I bought vegan mozzarella. If you are not concerned about dairy, you can use regular cheese and milk for this recipe, I sometimes use both types of cheese. The end result was this vegan butternut squash Mac ‘n’ cheese!

This dish is great for more than just a chilly Halloween night… I will make it on a Sunday night sometimes just to have leftovers to eat that week. Like any mac ‘n’ cheese, it’s actually better the next day!!

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little on this dish with the spices and flavors. Mac ‘n’ cheese is hard to mess up, so make it your own! Just be sure and report back on what you did and how it came out! 

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Here are a few tips on cooking this recipe:

*You can easily make the sauce ahead of time to speed up the process, or even make the whole dish over the weekend and heat and eat on Monday! I usually make a lot so I can put it in different containers and freeze some for lunches. 

**You don’t have to do the vegan cheese. The first time I made this, I mixed both so it wasn’t so much dairy, but the vegan cheese actually cooks up well.

*** Be sure to save any leftover sauce—you can add a little veggie broth to make a soup. It’s like two dishes for the price of one!

Check out this recipe for guilt free fudge to make sure you don’t dive into the candy bowl after dinner ( :

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Stay Clean on Halloween!

Vegan, gluten-free

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz container of Gluten-free pasta either spirals or elbows—something that will hold cheese I love Banza
  • 1 Butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups Almond milk or regular if you are not vegan
  • 8 oz Vegan mozzarella cheese or regular, your call
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 3 Cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 Large sprig of sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper if you like spice, I usually add about 3 shakes
  • Nutmeg again if you like it, I do 2 shakes

Instructions

  1. Steam the butternut squash.

    Cubed squash in top to be steamed
  2. Put it in the blender with about a cup of almond milk, adding more milk if it won’t blend. I use my Vitamix and it works perfect! 

    purred squash in vitamix
  3. Heat a pot with some olive oil and add the garlic, salt and pepper, and a little bit of torn sage. Heat, being careful not to burn the garlic and sage.

    Garlic and Sage on table
  4. Once your squash is a puree, add it to the pot with the oil and add in about a cup of vegan cheese and a little more almond milk, if needed. The mixture should be a little thicker than soup. 

    Butternut Squash Sauce for Mac 'N' Cheese
  5. Use salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg to season. Taste and add as needed, depending on how spicy you like it.

  6. Boil your noodles until done.

    Our Favorite Gluten Free Pasta Banza
  7. Prepare your pan: I use a cast iron pan but you can also use a glass Pyrex baking dish. Ladle some sauce on the bottom so your noodles don’t stick. Then add in pasta, vegan cheese, and sauce, layering until your dish is full. Add some extra cheese to the top. 

    Butternut squash in the bottom of cast iron pan
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes until it’s heated through and bubbly.

    Noodles layered with sauce for Mac 'n' cheese
  9. Heat some olive oil or butter in a small pan and add a few sage leaves. Fry them until crispy and add them to the top of your mac when it comes out of the oven.

    Butternut Squash on table with pumpkins

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