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Indulge in creamy, ‘cheesy’, comforting vegan butternut squash mac and cheese free from dairy, nuts, and soy, in under an hour! An easy, crowd-pleasing fall comfort food!

completed Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese plated
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Why You’ll Love Butternut Mac and Cheese

This butternut squash mac and cheese provides all the creamy, ‘cheesy’ comfort of my traditional vegan mac and cheese, but made healthier (and somehow even more magical!) with the sweet and savory flavor and extra dose of nutrients (including several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!) of vibrant butternut squash.

Unlike many vegan butternut squash mac and cheese recipes, this one is entirely free from soy and nuts, too. Instead, it’s made with inexpensive pantry staples, combining a simple flour roux with creamy plant milk, nutritional yeast (check out this nutritional yeast guide), Dijon mustard, onion, garlic, chili flakes, and plenty of nutritious butternut squash for a subtly sweet, savory, ‘cheesy’, super creamy butternut squash pasta sauce.

Better yet, this entire recipe comes together in about 45 minutes and is cozy, delicious, and satisfying – perfect as a crowd-pleasing meatless meal this fall and as part of your vegan Thanksgiving recipe menu. Plus, it makes wonderful leftovers!

 You may also enjoy butternut squash and roasted veggie pasta, vegan baked mac and cheese, and baked potato mac n’ cheese.

The Ingredients

Please refer to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and quantities.

ingredients for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese measured out on a white surface

Recipe Variations and Add-Ins

  • Lemon juice: A squeeze of lemon (or white wine vinegar/ apple cider vinegar) adds slight tang (found in dairy-based cheese).
  • Soaked cashews: For extra creamy butternut squash cheese sauce, boil, then blend ½-1 cup of raw unsalted cashews with the squash.
  • Seasonings: To add depth to this butternut squash macaroni cheese recipe, try
    • Smoked paprika
    • Nutmeg (just a pinch for more complex depth- HIGHLY recommended)
    • Fresh/dried herbs (like pan-fried crispy sage, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
  • Other veg (for the sauce): Cooked carrot, potato, or parsnip (about ½ cup) add flavor depth and nutrients for more of a hidden veggie mac and cheese.
  • Vegetables (to mix in): Peas, corn, spinach, kale, leek, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc., increase texture, color, and nutrients.
  • Protein: I.e., air fryer chickpeas, crispy pan-fried tofu, or mock meat (like vegan sausage, bacon, etc.).
  • Breadcrumbs: Regular, panko, or gluten-free to top the butternut squash mac n cheese and broil. Alternatively, sprinkle with toasted nuts (like walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pepitas, etc.) for added healthy fats and protein.

How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

process shot showing adding butternut squash to pot
process shot showing ingredients in food processor

Step 1: First, bring a large pot of water (or broth for more flavor) to a boil and simmer the butternut squash until tender (10-15 minutes), then drain.

Step 2: Transfer the cooked squash to a food processor with the broth, nutritional yeast, onion, and mustard. Blend/process until smooth and creamy.

process shot showing adding flour to pan
process shot showing adding butternut squash mixture to pan

Step 3: Next, cook the pasta according to package instructions – minus 1-2 minutes for al dente results. Meanwhile, melt the vegan butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Step 4: Gradually whisk in the non-dairy milk, butternut squash mixture, and seasonings. Cook until the sauce thickens (usually 1-2 minutes). Then, remove from the heat, taste, and adjust the seasonings.

process shot showing adding pasta to pan

Step 5: Finally, fold in the pasta and enjoy warm!

Baked butternut squash pasta bake: Transfer to oven-proof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and/or vegan cheese, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350F/175C OR broil until crisp and golden on top.

FAQs

How else can I use the butternut squash cheese sauce?

This delicious butternut squash cheese sauce is great with roasted vegetables, fries (like these sesame fries), nachos, baked potatoes, and more.

Can I prepare it in advance?

You could cook the squash 2-3 days ahead (fridge) or 3-4 months (freezer). The entire sauce could also be made 4-5 days ahead (fridge), ready to combine with pasta before serving.

What does butternut squash mac and cheese taste like?

Like traditional vegan mac and cheese with the addition of creamy, subtly sweet, earthy, and a little nutty butternut squash. It’s delicious!

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Cooking time varies: Based on the squash size and cooking method.  
  • Cut down prep: Use fresh/frozen pre-chopped squash or canned puree.
  • Cook pasta al dente: It continues to soften in the sauce. If you plan to store leftovers, cook pasta 75%; it will finish cooking when reheated.
  • Adjust consistency: For thinner sauce, add more broth/pasta water/plant-based milk. For a thicker one, try blending in soaked cashews or white beans.
completed Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese plated

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy this hearty butternut mac and cheese as part of your vegan Thanksgiving dinner or as a hearty dinner either alone or alongside:

Storage Instructions

Once cooked, store vegan butternut squash mac and cheese in an airtight container, in the fridge for 3-5 days (it tastes even better on day two!). Note that the sauce will thicken, and the pasta will soften.

It also freezes for up to 3 months. Then, thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheat in a microwave (30-second increments, stirring between) or on the stovetop, adding extra broth or plant-based milk to adjust the consistency.

completed Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese in storage container

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

5 from 33 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Indulge in creamy, 'cheesy', comforting vegan butternut squash mac and cheese free from dairy, nuts, and soy, in under an hour! An easy, crowd-pleasing fall comfort food!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 large butternut squash)

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups of nutritional yeast
  • ½ of a large white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of vegan butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup of plant-based milk
  • Pinches of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic (optional)

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add butternut squash. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the squash has softened and then drain out the water.
  • Place the cooked butternut squash in your food processor with broth, nutritional yeast, onion, mustard, and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium pan, heat vegan butter over medium-low heat until melted. Whisk in flour and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the plant-based milk, butternut squash mixture, salt, and any optional seasonings. Continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken (about 1 to 2 minutes). If it's too thick, add in a splash of more plant-based milk. Once thickened, remove it from the burner. Stir in the pasta and serve warm.

Notes

To roast the butternut squash instead of boiling, heat the oven to 400 degrees F, slice the butternut in half, and place the squash face down on a cooking sheet for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Cooking time varies: Based on the squash size and cooking method.  
  • Cut down prep: Use fresh/frozen pre-chopped squash or canned puree.
  • Cook pasta al dente: It continues to soften in the sauce. If you plan to store leftovers, cook pasta 75%; it will finish cooking when reheated.
  • Adjust consistency: For thinner sauce, add more broth/pasta water/plant-based milk. For a thicker one, try blending in soaked cashews or white beans.

Nutrition

Calories: 589kcalCarbohydrates: 104gProtein: 25gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 188mgPotassium: 859mgFiber: 10gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 7.46IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Margaret Chapman
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

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Comments

  1. Hi! I have not made this yet but it looks delicious. I have a question though. Could I use frozen butternut squash? If so how would you suggest I prepare it? Thanks for any help you can provide!

    1. Hi! We at Plant-Based on a Budget haven’t tried that yet! Let us know how it turns out if you do 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this sauce twice this month. The first time with an acorn squash, cuz thats what I had. Made a baked Mac n cheeze casserole with broccoli and it was great!! Went to make it again with a butternut squash last week and did the same. Had some sauce leftover and warmed on the stove tonite to dunk crispy pan fried potato wedges in. INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!! Had to share. Thanks for this one and try it sometime!! Really good!!