a lightened up version of everyone’s favorite comfort food ♡
Cheesy Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese
It’s still August but the summer days are getting numbered and it’s about time for this heat to go away! Our dietetic internship is in full swing with graduate classes every day until our rotations start in a few weeks. For one of our nutrition projects, we had to create a recipe featuring a local, seasonal ingredient and standardize it to implement it into a local school meal plan. Of course since fall is coming up, we thought this recipe would be a great way to sneak in a serving of vegetables in a familiar dish that kids may not be familiar with, or even tried before. The blend of butternut squash into the cheese makes this mac n cheese extra savory and creamy, and helps you welcome fall with so much flavor and nutrition!
Use low-fat cheese to cut back on saturated fat, and for all the vegans out there, it is simple to make this dish vegan! Simply swap out the cheese for ~1/2 cup nutritional yeast, swap out the yogurt for a vegan yogurt, and swap the milk out with coconut milk. I used Certified gluten free brown rice macaroni elbows to make it gluten-free which you can find here.
(For all you lucky devils that can eat gluten, use 100% whole grain macaroni instead of white macaroni for extra nutrition!)
I love the starchy vegetables in season during fall. Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, you name it, I LOVE them and always try to incorporate them in various dishes. Ever since I learned that you can have a baked sweet potato in just 5 mins in the microwave, it’s been my go-to dinner side dish for when I’m swamped for time.
is full of omega-3s to keep your heart healthy.
1 cup contains about 59% of your daily value of Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene)…so important for eye health and maintaining strong vision!
low in fat and high in fiber which is great for maintaining a healthy weight!
the orange color comes from the carotenoids , which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help prevent against heart disease and protect against some forms of cancer.
Need a quick visual for how to cut up a butternut squash? Refer to this easy slideshow here.
- 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1¼ cup low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 TBSP plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 box (1 lb) brown rice gluten free pasta
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ TBSP sage
- dash sea salt
- dash black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 TBSP fresh parsley
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add butternut squash, chicken stock, milk, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the squash is tender (about 20 or so minutes).
- Next, remove from heat and add mixture to a blender. Add in greek yogurt and salt and pepper and blend starting on low, slowly increasing speed until well-blended.
- Add in cheese and continue blending until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Once pasta is done cooking, drain and add it to the squash and cheese mixture.
- Combine well, then add in seasonings (fresh parsley, onion powder, sage, nutmeg). Add in any additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Here’s to the arrival of fall soon! Look forward to making this dish next time you crave mac n cheese…
I’m already hooked! ♥
Head to your local farmer’s market this fall and pick out a butternut squash! Save money, support your local farmers, and eat fresh.
(ps. how cute is this butternut squash illustration by Elizabeth Connelly???)