Craving something creamy and cozy, but don’t want to break your New Year’s resolutions? This vegan butternut squash mac & cheese fits the bill. Even without an ounce of dairy, it tastes velvety, decadent, and all around delicious. If you have any extra cheesy sauce leftover, you can use it to make over-the-top yummy vegan nachos!
By Elizabeth Palmer Califano
Total Time: 1 hour (20 minutes active time)
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 cups hemp milk (or the non-dairy milk of your choice)
- 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon agave
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 package shell pasta (use gluten free if desired)
- Panko flakes and vegan butter for topping (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375. On a baking sheet, toss the squash together with the olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer, and roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender.
- While the squash roasts, put the cashews in a large bowl and cover with hot water to soak and soften. Drain when ready to use.
- When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and set aside. In a high speed blender, combine the drained cashews and 1 cup hemp milk until smooth and creamy, adding more milk as needed for a silky puree. Add the cooked squash, nutritional yeast, agave, and cayenne if using, and blend well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
- Cook the pasta per package instructions. Save ½ cup of the pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce if needed. Drain the pasta, and transfer to a baking dish. Toss the pasta with your prepared sauce, making sure to coat each shell (you might have some sauce left over).
- For a topping, dot the vegan butter evenly over the pasta, and sprinkle with a light layer of panko.
- Turn your oven down to 350, and bake the pasta for 15 minutes, until the topping is golden and crisped. Serve immediately, and enjoy!