Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Healthy Living, Recipes

Creamy mac and cheese doesn’t have to be loaded with fat. This easy mac and cheese gets a hint of sweetness and a creamy texture from healthy butternut squash. It’s a great way to get your family to eat some vegetables with a smile.

Butternut squash is one of those veggies you can easily sneak onto your family’s plate in a variety of ways. Seemingly hidden in this recipe due to it being roasted and then pureed; it resembles a cheese sauce common to more traditional macaroni and cheese. The bonus is that this squash is an excellent source of Vitamin A, and contains half your daily requirement for Vitamin C in just one serving. Easily convert this recipe to vegan by substituting an unsweetened, plain nut milk like almond or coconut for the milk, and use vegan “cheeses”.

Theresa Jackson RD, CSOWM, CDN

Clinical Nutrition Manager, Kenmore Mercy Hospital

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 Tbsp trans fat free margarine
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, arrange butternut squash chunks in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and toss. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender, turning once.

While the butternut squash is roasting, cook macaroni according to package directions and drain well. Set aside.

Add butternut squash to food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of the milk and purée again.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until just browned. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and whisk until mixture is smooth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil while continuing to whisk. After sauce has thickened, reduce heat to low and whisk in butternut squash mixture. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Add the cooked macaroni to the pan and stir until the noodles are well coated. Season with pepper to taste. Transfer the macaroni to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until macaroni and cheese is bubbling. Heat under a broiler for 2 minutes, or until bread crumbs are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

Heart Healthy Recipe

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories: 385

Sodium: 138mg

Fat: 12g

Carbohydrates: 56g

Saturated Fat: 3g

Fiber: 3g

Cholesterol: 15mg

Protein: 13g

* Nutritional information is based on ingredients listed and serving size; any additions or substitutions to ingredients may alter the recipe’s nutritional content

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No information provided in any recipe and/or other product or service is a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be interpreted as treatment recommendations. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION.