Mac and cheese that has zero butter and flour but instead is loaded with a bunch of pureed butternut squash…GET YOU SOME. You guys…so many good things to say about this recipe. This takes a regular mac and cheese and adds such an awesome element of earthiness with a smooth, velvety texture from that butternut squash.
The way you make this is similar to how you would make a regular mac and cheese with the added step of roasting up your butternut squash, and then instead of adding roux and milk to your pan to make the sauce, you add the pureed roasted squash and milk. This forms a SUPER luxurious, rich sauce that is thickened with no help of butter and flour – much healthier!
Except…let’s not go tooooo far with the “health” thing since we add four cups of cheese to the sauce later…hey – it’s comfort food 😉. You can totally add less cheese if you want to lighten this up a bit, but the reason we add so much is because the butternut squash here is a pretty prevalent flavor, and we want to taste a lot of that cheese or else this wouldn’t even resemble a mac and cheese, nahmean??
This makes a HUGE amount of pasta, so those four cups of cheese space out…that’s how you can justify it…you’re welcome 😏.
One of the most delicious parts of this recipe are those roasted squash seeds. We don’t throw any part of that yummy squash away – the seeds are SO GOOD when you bake ’em up! They are this nutty, salty, crunchy topping for your mac and cheese that just complete this dish so well. That creamy, saucy, rich pasta topped with a few crunchy roasted squash seeds = what dreams are made of ❤️.
The actual butternut squash in this recipe could seriously not be easier. In fact, I fell so in love with the simple deliciousness that comes with just roasting it with olive oil, salt, and pepper that I decided to do a whole post on just that part of the recipe (coming soon). It’s basically the easiest veggie prep EVER and it is so dang delicious. Anyway, for this recipe, you roast it, scoop it out, puree it so that it’s a thick mash, and it brings such amazing flavor to the sauce. Not to mention a deep orange color, which is very appetizing when eating mac and cheese.
We eat with our eyes first, right?!
One of the coolest parts of this recipe, in my opinion, is the ability it gives you to sneak some veggies into your kids. They will have zero idea that a massive butternut squash is hiding in these cheesy noodles. MUAHAHAH suckaaasssssssss 😉. It will definitely be kid approved and a perfect way to secretly shove some veggies into those picky eaters of yours!
Overall, this recipe is fantastic for several reasons – let’s discuss:
- It’s a fun fall twist on mac and cheese, giving you that earthy flavor that is so characteristic of this season
- It’s a little healthier than regular mac and cheese since you don’t need any flour or butter to thicken the sauce
- It’s a WONDERFUL way to sneak some veggies into your dinner
- It has a delicious flavor and texture thang goin’ on with those roasted seeds on top of the creamy pasta
- It’s fun to make because…fall…comfort…4 cups of cheese…need I say more??
You know what I have to do AGAINNNNN today? Another dental appointment. The first time I was sedated (because I have a dentist phobia 😳), so they didn’t get my bite right and some of my fillings ended up being too high. So my teeth were extremely sensitive to the point where I could barely eat…for like a month.
So finally I took my stubborn butt back in and they drilled down some of the fillings…worst thing I’ve ever done, BT-dubs, because they didn’t use Novocain.
And it still didn’t fix it. So here I am again, another month later, dragging my even more stubborn butt back in. This time they’re lightly sedating me so it’s not quite as traumatizing as the last visit. I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO EAT FOODS THAT AREN’T EXCLUSIVELY SUPER SOFT. Is this too much to ask in life?? I miss bacon.
Luckily I am able to stuff my face with exorbitant amounts of this mac and cheese…so maybe it’s not the worst thing 😀.
Anyway…wish me luck that it FINALLY gets fixed today once and for all!
This recipe is 14 smart points per serving!Print
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 9 servings 1x
for the butternut squash
- 1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds scooped out (save the seeds)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
for the pasta
- 1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 cups 2% milk, plus more for adding at the end
For the roasted seeds
- Seeds from squash, rinsed, patted dry, and left out to dry completely
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
for the squash
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Rub each half of your de-seeded squash with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper
- Place both halves on a baking sheet cut side down and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the squash is very tender when pierced with a fork (time will vary based on the size of your squash)
- Let the squash cool for a few minutes when it comes out of the oven
- Once it has cooled a bit, scoop all the squash out from the skin with a spoon and puree in a food processor until it’s totally smooth. You can also mash it by hand with a fork if you don’t have a food processor
For the seeds
- Lower your oven to 300 degrees
- Separate the seeds from the pulp of the squash, rinse them very well, and pat them dry with paper towels. You’ll also ideally want to let them sit out and dry for a bit so they get even crispier (I do this step before I even roast the squash, so they have that 45 mins – 1 hour to dry out)
- Add the seeds to a baking sheet, toss with your 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, and season them with salt and pepper
- Roast for 15 minutes
for the pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted (it should taste like the ocean) water to a boil. When boiling, add your pasta and cook according to your box’s instructions. Drain in a colander when it is done
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add your butternut squash puree and milk, whisk until it has formed into one smooth, uniform sauce. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook for just a few minutes
- Remove it from the heat and add your cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Stir in your pasta until it is all evenly coated in the sauce. If it is too thick, add extra milk 1/4 cup at a time until it has reached the consistency you want
- Top each bowl with the roasted seeds when serving!
If you stir the seeds in, you will still get the yummy flavor, but they will lose their crispiness, so I recommend topping each bowl with them when serving rather than stirring them all into the finished pot
You can lighten this up even more by adding reduced fat cheddar cheese instead of regular
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 378
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 362 mg
- Fat: 15 g
- Carbohydrates: 46 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 19 g
- Cholesterol: 41 mg
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
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