Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is the ultimate in cozy comfort food. It’s the perfect dinner for chilly fall evenings. This easy recipe is from Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease. It’s vegan and oil-free with a gluten-free option.
Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Autumn starts next week, which means that comfort food is on the menu. As soon as the temperatures dip, I start dipping into bowls of vegan mac and cheese, which as comforting as it gets.
We vegans like to get creative when it comes to making cheese sauce for our pasta. Who needs dairy when we have cashews, cauliflower, and carrots and potatoes? This creamy, dreamy sauce is made with butternut squash, making it the ultimate autumnal meal.
How to Make Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Making this Mac and Peas with Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce is easy-peasy!
- First you steam your squash and garlic. Give them a little time to cool.
- While they’re steaming, you can soak your cashews.
- Next you cook your pasta and add the peas to the water just at the end.
- While the pasta is cooking you can make the sauce by blending together the cooked squash and garlic, cashews, and seasonings.
- Now you heat the sauce and toss it with the pasta and peas. Dinner is served!
I like to add a little nutritional yeast to my sauce to give a little extra cheesy bump.
On days when I’ve feeling lazy, I’ll buy pre-chopped butternut squash, which can sometimes be found in the produce aisle. Frozen squash can sometimes be available in the freezer section of the grocery store, too. I’ve found that if you thaw frozen squash, you can skip the steaming step, as it’s soft enough to blend.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure you use gluten-free pasta. I like to use chickpea-based pasta.
Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease
This yummy vegan butternut squash mac and cheese recipe is from Laura Theodore’s Vegan Ease. The hardcover edition came out in 2015, and I shared Laura’s recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Cutlets almost exactly 5 years ago. The softcover edition of the book is now available, and I’m thankful that Laura has given me another recipe to share. Her Mac and Peas with Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce is one of my favorites from the book, and I make it often in the fall.
Over the past few years, I’ve purchased copies of Vegan-Ease for non-vegan family members across the country, and they’ve all loved it. All of the recipes are omnivore friendly, and the inexpensive ingredients can be found in any grocery store. So long gone are the myths that vegan food is weird and it’s made with pricy exotic components. I mean, who can resist such recipes as Hungry Guy Burgers, Rich Black Bean Soup, and Peanut-Butter Chocolate Mousse?
Some of the highlights of Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease include:
- Ease-Factor ranking for each recipe.
- Recipes range from lighter fare to hearty and satisfying meals.
- Many recipes with five ingredients or fewer.
- Helpful cooking and lifestyle tips sprinkled throughout the book.
- Expert nutritional guidance from Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CP.
- Basic shopping lists to help cut down your time at the grocery store.
- A full chapter devoted to stress-free holiday recipes.
- TWO chapters devoted to healthy, easy-to-prepare desserts and sweet treats.
- Twelve full menu plans for any occasion.
- Comprehensive nutritional information for each recipe.
- Why a Plant-Based Diet
- Making Vegan Easy
- Ease-y Essentials
- Fast Appetizers and Fun Beverages
- Good Morning Eye Openers
- Muffins, Quick Breads, and Baked Delights
- Simple Soups
- Speedy Salads, Dressings, and Sandwiches
- Pastas and Pizzas, Pronto!
- The Main Dish Made Ease-y
- Sunny Sides
- Desserts. Ever.
- Fancy Finishes
- Stress-Free Holiday Recipes
- Menu Planning Basics
- Menus for Every Occasion
This cookbook is perfect for newbie vegans as well as those who are not-yet-vegan but want to eat healthier. It’s also a great book for seasoned vegans who want to add more recipes to their repertoires.
Mac ’n Peas with Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce
- 3¾ cups peeled seeded and coarsely chopped butternut squash
- 2 small cloves garlic chopped
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup plus 1½ tablespoons filtered or spring water plus more as needed
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt plus more as needed
- 1 pound whole-wheat or whole-grain fusilli elbow or chiocciole pasta
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fit a steamer basket into a medium-sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 to 3 inches of cold water to the pot and then add the butternut squash and garlic. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam the butternut squash and garlic until very tender, about 20 minutes. Let the butternut squash and garlic cool for about 20 minutes (see note).
Meanwhile, put the cashews and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Let soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Drain the soaking water from the cashews and thoroughly rinse the cashews under clean, cold running water.
Once the butternut squash and garlic have cooled, bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon salt (optional). Stir in the pasta. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is almost tender. Add the peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender but firm and the peas are heated through, about 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and peas.
While the pasta and peas cook, put the cooled butternut squash and garlic, cashews, 11⁄2 tablespoons of cold water, mustard powder, smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper and turmeric into a blender and process until the consistency of a thick, smooth sauce. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, to achieve the desired consistency. Transfer the sauce to a medium-sized pan and cook over medium-low heat, just until heated through, stirring often and adding more water as needed if the sauce is too thick.
Put the pasta and peas in a large bowl. Immediately pour the warm sauce over the pasta and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot.
Chef’s Note: The butternut squash and garlic may be steamed in advance of preparing this recipe. After steaming, cool and store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Recipe from Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore (Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC 2020), reprinted by permission.
More butternut squash recipes include:
- Butternut Squash Lasagna with Kale
- Baked Butternut Squash Steaks
- Coconut Curry Noodles with Butternut Squash
- Garlicky Mashed Butternut Squash
- Creamy Baked Fusilli with Butternut Squash
More vegan mac and cheese recipes include: