Don’t let bright orange mac and cheese land on your kids’ plates — that is, unless the color comes from roasted butternut squash instead of a packet of chemical powder! This creamy, comforting homemade version is made with fresh (or canned organic) squash, half and half and soft goat’s cheese — or you can substitute these ingredients for vegan-friendly ones. Make it a complete meal by adding your family’s favorite chopped veggies.
Roasted Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 4 to 6
1 butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2-3 cups)
6 to 8 oz. goat cheese
1 cup half and half
¾ to 1 cup chicken stock
1 (16 oz.) pkg. macaroni noodles (or noodles of choice)
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups breadcrumbs (optional)
Shredded cheese (optional)
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetables (chopped spinach, mushrooms, peas) (optional)
For a vegan variation:
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk (to replace half and half)
3/4 to 1 cup vegetable stock (to replace chicken stock)
Canola oil or olive oil (to replace butter)
Shredded vegan cheese (to replace dairy cheese) (optional)
- Place squash in pan with small amount of water and roast at 350 degrees F until tender (about 40 minutes).
- While squash is roasting, boil macaroni, cooking until soft/firm (so it’s just undercooked). Drain and set aside.
- Place roasted squash in food processor or blender with goat cheese; blend until smooth. Add half and half, chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste; blend well. (Note: For vegan variation, use coconut milk instead of half and half and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.)
- If adding vegetables, stir into blended mixture.
- Pour mixture over macaroni noodles; stir to combine. Pour into 11″x13″ greased (with butter or oil of choice) baking pan.
- If desired, top with breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, parsley and salt and pepper.
- Bake at 375 degrees F until bubbly.
- For creamier consistency, add additional half and half or coconut milk in step 3.
- If you don’t have time to roast squash, use organic canned squash instead.
- You don’t have to use macaroni noodles! Let your kids pick a shape (ever since my twins were little, it’s been a treat for them to pick out the shape of the pasta I cook.).
- Add a sprinkling of crushed nuts to the breadcrumb topping for added protein.
- If you have leftovers, pack them in an airtight container and store in your freezer.