Butternut Squash Mac-N-Cheese
Who loves mac-n-cheese? Or should I be asking, who doesn't?
Cheese + pasta = deliciousness
Unfortunately, there is a growing concern around dairy consumption: for health and environmental reasons. I mean, if you think about it for just a minute, why do humans drink another animal's milk? As humans, we naturally create milk, when the timing is right for our infants. So why have we been drinking another animal's milk? Another thought, as a society we consume so much dairy that the demand has led the production to be inhumane for the cows. Cows are mercilessly bred in unhealthy environments where they are pumped with antibiotics and hormones so they'll produce milk at a fast and unnatural rate. Not only are the cows not benefiting, as humans we experience negative effects as well. There are studies showing dairy does not promote bone health (like we have been led to believe by all the misguided advertising) and dairy may contribute to other health problems (from acne to cancer). It's important to be aware of how the choices we make affect other beings (and ourselves). Just something to ponder. Fortunately, there are ways to recreate traditional dishes using alternative ingredients.
This recipe makes a very yummy and creamy sauce, that you can use for a dairy-free mac-n-cheese! It only requires 4 ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to make. Plus, it's an easy way to sneak some veggies into your kids' food (and yours too ; ).
Whether you're lactose intolerant, avoiding dairy, or simply like trying new things; I think you'll enjoy this recipe (and won't miss the dairy, at least not too much)!
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
2 cups macaroni noodles (uncooked)
3/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
2 cups butternut squash, cubed or spiraled (fresh or frozen)
5 T. nutritional yeast
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
salt to taste (optional, but just a little will enhance the flavor)
1. Cook pasta following package directions.
2. Cook the 2 cups of butternut squash and the 2 garlic cloves. You can microwave (quickest method), steam (my favorite), or bake the squash & garlic:
microwave 5 minutes in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 cup of coconut milk
steam on stove-top: add 1/4 cup coconut milk, bring mixture to a boil, then cover with lid and simmer for 5 minutes, or
bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes (if using this baked squash method, add an additional 1/4 cup of coconut milk in step 3)
3. If using canned coconut milk, shake the can really well before opening the can so the solid and liquid portions blend together. If you forget, or the milk isn't blended very well when you open the can, empty contents into a blender and blend until well combined. If you use the carton of coconut milk, just shake before using it. Measure out 1/2 cup of milk.
4. Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk, nutritional yeast, cooked butternut squash with garlic, and any leftover coconut milk from cooking the squash and garlic to a blender. Blend on the lowest speed then slowly increase speed, stop and stir then blend again until everything is creamy.
5. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and stir until all the pasta is coated. Add salt to your liking. Enjoy!
I buy the squash pre-cut butternut squash because it takes a while to peel the squash and is pretty difficult to cut! Fresh or frozen butternut squash works well.
If you bake the squash in the oven, it will make the sauce darker, if you want the color to be closer to a cheesy color, microwave or steam the squash.
Coconut milk- the canned coconut milk can be found in the Asian food section or you can use the refrigerated coconut milk that comes in cartons at the grocery store.
Nutritional yeast: you'll usually have to go to a health food store to find it or you can order it online.
Garlic: if you don't have fresh garlic cloves, you can replace them with minced or powdered garlic.