Here’s an alternative to the traditional full fat macaroni and cheese. It’s made with butternut squash, a handful or two of grated sharp cheddar, and greek yogurt(…but keep reading to see how you can also make it dairy free and gluten free)! Butternut squash is creamy and rich and high in vitamins A and C, it has anti-inflammatory benefits and can aid in blood sugar regulation. It’s high in fiber and vitamin B6 as well! It has a sweet and nutty flavour and a velvety texture, a true gem in the winter squash department!
This is how I made the cheese sauce:
- 2 cups diced peeled butternut squash
- 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1-2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp greek yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh lemon juice (about 1 tsp)
Steam the squash until fork tender. Using a hand blender pulse the drained squash until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the cheese is melted. Pour over your cooked pasta of choice and stir on a low heat until the sauce coats the pasta. (It may seem a bit watery at first.)
We served ours over bow-tie pasta (as that was E’s choice for dinner) and I have to admit I left some of the noodles plain as I wasn’t really optimistic that he would love the cheese sauce (since he typically doesn’t like Mac ‘n Cheese!). I was pleasantly surprised as he wolfed the sauced noodles down!
The nutritional yeast amps up the cheesy taste and using a sharp cheddar means that you don’t have to use as much to still get the flavour. If you’re dairy-free I suggest using a cheese alternative like Daiya and you could use an alternative plain yogurt too such as soy yogurt or even try blending up some silken tofu. If you pour it over gluten free pasta it’s also an entirely gluten free dish! It’s reasonably low fat and trust me when I say that the butternut squash brings such a yummy richness to the dish. Feel good scarfing down a bowl knowing it has huge health benefits as well as being the epitome of comfort food!
***As a side note; I roasted the remainder of the squash, put it in 1 cup portions in ziplock bags and threw it in the freezer as a quick add-in to a multitude of dishes…soups, salads, pizzas, stews, chilis etc!***