Vegan Butternut Squash Mac n "Cheese"
Apologies in advance for my poorly lit pictures. This recipe was too good not to post. As many of you know, my sister Jac and I used to have our old blog, jacnlex, which was much more nutrition and recipe based. With the start of lexsentials I wanted to make it a priority to post well lit pictures that fit nicely into my blog and instagram grid. The problem with that is that most of the cooking I do (and best meals I make) are when I get home from work and it's already dark out. Especially now that winter is coming and it looks like its the middle of the night at 3:30 PM (wtf...hello seasonal affective disorder!).
This dilemma has caused me to circle back with the reason I started blogging in the first place which was to help people live a healthier life (through recipes, workouts, wellness etc.)...not to be a "photographer." I need to figure out a way to create more natural lighting for my meals prepared at night but in the meantime I want to still be able to share the recipes that I'm cooking and loving. So I decided to F it. I'll do my best to throw a VSCO filter onto these pics to make them look a bit more "faded-artsy-foodie" appetizing while I pretend they aren't overly saturated...but the priority here is to give you the recipe...so here it is!
Last Sunday was so rainy and gross. I wanted to hibernate in the kitchen all day and cook something comfort-cozy-festive. I came across Candice Kumai's recipe and used that as my base with modifications. Overall the recipe was delicious, filling and flavorful BUT I do want to note that it's more of a "pasta with butternut squash sauce and cheesy flavoring" than an actual "mac 'n" cheese." If you're looking for more of a melting gooey cheese dish then I would suggest swapping the nutritional yeast for vegan cheese (make sure it's one that melts...not all of them do!). The nutritional yeast-panko crumbs topping is what gives it the mac 'n' cheese flavoring. That was my favorite part but I'm also obsessed with nutritional yeast :) The red pep gives it a little kick. This serving size lasted the two of us for 3 days with large servings.
- 1.5 pound butternut squash (I used the ones that are already peeled and chopped at Trader Joe's...you can also use a medium-large butternut squash and make sure to peel, seed and chop into quarters)
- 1 1/3 cup (10.66 oz) unsweetened coconut milk (the cans are usually thicker than the cartons - I used a can from Trader Joe's)
- 1 1/3 cup (10.66 oz) veggie stock
- 4 cloves smashed fresh garlic
- 5 cups pasta (I used brown brice penne as a Gluten free option...you can use any pasta here...I want to try chick pea pasta next time)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
- Add squash, coconut milk, broth, and garlic to a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook until the butternut squash is tender (you can stick a fork through it)
- Pour squash mixture into vitamix or blender and puree until smooth (make sure to taste this - it's basically butternut squash soup and delicious!)
- Cook pasta (try to undercook according to the instructions so the pasta is al dente. It will cook more and soften while it is baking). Rinse with cold water after cooking.
- Pour macaroni into 13x9 baking dish. Pour squash puree over the pasta. Mix the noodles into the puree to cover them if needed.
- Mix panko, salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Spread evenly over the top of the macaroni.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil from the baking dish and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Happy Fall! Enjoy :)