Butternut squash mac and cheese is a non-dairy delight

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese: A Vegan Delight

Fall brings the familiar sight and tastes of pumpkins and squash, but these colorful fruits are delicious any time of year, especially when they are blended into family favorite comfort foods like soups and mac and cheese.

Like summer squash (think zucchini), winter squashes like butternut squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash are especially good when roasted.

This nutritious vegan butternut squash mac delivers the warm comfort of macaroni and cheese with the nutritional boost of squash in a delicious, plant-based recipe.

What is butternut squash mac and cheese?

Many people love the classic mac-n-cheese, but butternut squash can really kick it up to the next level. To make it, some people simply add a puree of butternut squash to their already delicious macaroni and cheese recipe. The squash increases the fall comfort food factor tenfold. It also adds vitamins and nutrients to the dish in a way that is palatable to most.

In this butternut squash macaroni and cheese recipe, we are swapping out ingredients and making it vegan, which means there are no animal products involved. In fact, there is no cheese or dairy in this recipe. Instead, we make a creamy "cheese sauce" by blending roasted butternut squash with roasted sweet potatoes, unsweetened coconut milk and nutritional yeast. You will be shocked at the creaminess and decadence of this non-dairy sauce. It has a great flavor and texture for everyone from vegans to flexitarians to carnivores.

How to make butternut squash mac and cheese

This easy-to-make recipe serves 6 and can be ready in 60 minutes, making it a good option for meal prep for a weekend dinner or gathering.


  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 oz pasta, cooked according to box directions
  • ¼ cup + 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 13.5 oz unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted


  1. First preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Next add the pre-cubed butternut squash, the sweet potatoes and the garlic cloves to a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes until fork tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot and set aside until the assembly step. You can add a drizzle of olive oil or vegan butter to the drained pasta to prevent sticking while it waits if you like.
  4. To make the vegan cheese sauce, add the roasted butternut, the roasted sweet potato, the roasted garlic cloves, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, unsweetened light coconut milk and ¼ cup nutritional yeast to a blender. Blend it into a smooth and creamy puree.
  5. Next add the cooked pasta and puree to an oven-safe baking dish. Mix until well combined.
  6. To make the crispy crumb topping, melt the vegan butter over medium heat or in the microwave. Pour over the panko breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast and mix well. Spread in the baking dish on top of the pasta mix.
  7. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes until the topping is golden and crispy.
  8. Serve warm.

Nutritional Values

6 servings
Calories: 520
Carbohydrates: 88 g
Protein: 14 g
Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g
Trans Fat: 0.02 g
Sodium: 593 mg
Potassium: 671 mg
Fiber: 7 g
Sugar: 7 g
Vitamin A: 15827 IU
Vitamin C: 12 mg
Calcium: 83 mg
Iron: 2 mg

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes.

Tips for success

This recipe is really easy to make, even for a beginner cook. Nonetheless, here are some tips to make the experience easier and more successful.

  • First, to make butternut squash mac and cheese, select a pasta shape that has some texture. I used farfalle because there is a lot of surface area for the delicious vegan cheese sauce to cling to. Other shapes that do the same are cavatappi, shells and rotini. Or you can stick with traditional macaroni.
  • Be sure to roast the butternut squash and sweet potatoes until they are truly fork tender. Don't rush it! If you want to make a quicker "cheese sauce" then you can boil the cubed butternut and sweet potatoes in a large pot. They will be soft enough in 15-20 minutes, which will shave off about 10 minutes from the total time of this squash and cheese recipe. Alternatively, you can buy frozen butternut squash. It will not be as intensely flavorful but will still taste very good.
  • If you do not like crispy edges on your baked pasta, cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil before baking with the crispy topper. We do it uncovered to get the browning effect on top quickly since we are not actually melting any cheese in this recipe.
  • Store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave with a little water to prevent your butternut squash mac and cheese from drying out.
  • I do not recommend freezing this vegan butternut squash mac. Although the squash puree would freeze well, the pasta can turn mushy after freezing.

Explore Our Best Eye Health Supplements

Shop Now

Is butternut squash mac and cheese healthy?

Butternut squash macaroni and cheese is much healthier than the classic version. This vegan mac and cheese recipe is especially nutritious because of the butternut squash and sweet potatoes. The classic mac and cheese recipe is only carbs and fat with a little dairy-based protein. This version is low in fat and has 14 grams of protein per serving!

Did you know butternut squash has more potassium than a banana? Sweet potatoes are also high in potassium. This essential mineral helps maintain healthy blood pressure and helps regulate muscle contractions, heart health, kidney function and nerve signals in your body.

Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are also among the top food sources of beta-carotene, the antioxidant precursor to vitamin A, and are rich in fiber. This vegan butternut squash mac and cheese has a decent amount of fiber, with 7 grams per serving. Nutritional yeast adds to the fiber and protein content, as well as adding B12 and other B vitamins to the dish.

What to serve with butternut squash mac and cheese

Butternut squash mac and cheese is a very filling and delicious dairy-free recipe. It is one of those foods that is tempting to overeat. That is why I recommend eating it as a side dish with some roasted vegetables or a salad. My favorite roasted veggie to eat with butternut squash mac and cheese is roasted broccoli. It pairs well with the butternut squash puree on the pasta and the texture is a great variation in mouth feel. It is easy to pop on a sheet pan and roast in the oven simultaneously with the squash, potatoes and garlic.

You can also add protein to balance the meal. My favorites are crispy chickpeas or crisped white beans. Try oven-roasting drained canned beans tossed with olive oil, salt and smoked paprika. They get crispy in about 15-20 minutes. Then if you drizzle them with a little pure maple syrup and soy sauce, they taste a little like bacon. A bowl of this mac and cheese, some roasted broccoli and crunchy "bacon" beans is everything a healthy, plant-based, comfort food meal should be.

Does butternut squash mac and cheese give you all the vitamins you need?

Butternut squash mac and cheese is a nutritious recipe with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as protein and fiber. That being said, it can be difficult to get the optimal amount of vitamins and minerals through diet alone, especially if you follow a restricted diet plan, such as a vegan diet.

Dietary supplements, such as a plant-based multivitamin, are a good way to fill any nutritional gaps and make sure you are supporting your best health every day, no matter what is on your table.

Not sure where to start with dietary supplements? Our health needs quiz can help you identify the nutrients that may be right for you!

About the Author: Sara Tercero is the chef behind the popular food blog BetterFoodGuru and the author of the cookbook Plant-Based Diet in 30 Days. Her specialties are veganized Indian-inspired curries, giant rainbow salads, and healthier Mediterranean and Mexican-inspired dishes. It is Sara's mission to prove that plants are delicious and to help others cook and eat their way to health and happiness.

Website: www.BetterFoodGuru.com


Popular Supplement