This vegan butternut mac and cheese is so creamy and delicious with absolutely no dairy or oil! It’s perfect fall comfort food the whole family will love!
I’m a big fan of mac and cheese! That creamy cheesy sauce covered pasta is so comforting.
I usually make my Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese recipe. It’s so delicious! But I’m always looking for another vegan mac and cheese recipe. With butternut squash being in season, I thought it would be a great time to make a vegan butternut squash mac and cheese.
This mac and cheese is quick and easy to make on the stove top. It’s completely dairy free and oil free, and can even be made gluten free by using gluten free pasta.
It’s full of delicious fall flavor from the butternut squash, made creamy with some raw cashews, and gets a delicious cheesy taste from nutritional yeast.
The whole family will love it, and it’s a great way to sneak in some healthy vegetables for picky kids!
Ingredients needed for this recipe
- Pasta – you can use macaroni noodles or any other small shaped pasta such as small shells, penne, or rotini. Feel free to use whole grain pasta or gluten free pasta to meet your dietary needs.
- Butternut squash – you can peel and cut fresh butternut squash, or save time and effort by purchasing pre-cut butternut squash. You can even use canned or frozen butternut squash.
- Onion – yellow onion is best in this recipe, but you can also use a white onion.
- Raw cashews – these create the creamy base for this butternut squash cheese sauce.
- Non-dairy milk – I used soy milk, but unsweetened almond milk or oat milk should also work.
- Nutritional yeast – this adds a cheesy flavor to the sauce. Nutritional yeast is not the same as baking yeast.
- Garlic – for flavor.
- Lemon juice – to add a little acidity.
- Turmeric – for that nice yellow color as well as the amazing health benefits.
- Paprika – you can substitute this with smoked paprika if you like a smoky cheese sauce.
- Dijon mustard – this also helps create that cheesy flavor. You can use regular yellow mustard if you don’t have Dijon.
- Salt and Pepper – to round out the flavor.
How to make vegan butternut squash mac and cheese
If you are using a whole butternut squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Then peel and cut it into cubes. To save time, you can use already peeled and cubed butternut squash from the store.
Place it, the onion, and the cashews in a medium pot of water and boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the squash and onions are tender. If you are using cooked butternut squash, measure the amount needed for the recipe and set it aside (do not boil it with the onions and cashews).
While the vegetables are cooking, heat a large pot of water and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and set it aside.
When the onions are tender, drain the vegetables. Add all the ingredients except the pasta to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Pour the butternut squash sauce back into the medium pot and cook it over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens.
Pour the sauce into the pot of pasta and stir to coat all of the noodles. If the pasta has cooled, heat over medium heat until warmed through.
Frequently asked questions about butternut squash mac and cheese:
Yes! This mac and cheese recipe uses whole food ingredients that are nutrient rich. It’s a great way to get more veggies into your diet.
Absolutely! Transfer the mac and cheese into a baking dish, sprinkle with some Panko or breadcrumbs, and bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, or until it is heated through and the topping begins to brown.
The butternut squash sauce is already gluten free, so just use the gluten free pasta of your choice.
If you want to make this recipe in advance, I recommend making the sauce in advance in storing it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Then, when you want to complete the recipe, boil the pasta, heat the sauce, and add it to the pasta.
Want more vegan pasta dishes?
- Vegan Lasagna
- Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
- Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Vegan Ravioli
- Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
- Vegan Pasta Dough
- Vegan Stuffed Shells
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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz macaroni noodles or other small pasta cooked according to package directions
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash peeled and chopped into cubes
- ½ large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup reserved cooking water from the squash or pasta
- 1 ¼ cups soy milk
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add butternut squash and onion to a medium sauce pan and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 15 to 20 minutes).
- While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the pot and set aside.
- When the squash and onions are tender, drain them and add them to a high speed blender along with the reserved cooking liquid, soy milk, nutritional yeast, cashews, lemon juice, cornstarch, turmeric, Dijon mustard, garlic, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Blend until completely smooth.
- Pour the butternut squash sauce back into the medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil and is thickened.
- Pour the sauce into the pot of cooked pasta, and stir to coat all the noodles. Place on the burner and heat until warmed through if needed.