Vegan, Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese
We’re only ten days into 2014, so hopefully most of you are still sticking to your resolutions, drinking plenty of juices to fuel your body with nutrients, and making an effort to move your body more. I myself am right there with you. I’m just about finished with a 5 Day Reboot, have been enjoying a few low intensity workout classes like yoga and pilates this week, and have only hit snooze on my alarm once every morning (one of my goals for this year)!
While I’m doing well so far in 2014, I know myself, and I know I need to prepare for those times when I just really want to indulge in a decadent, rich, warm, satisfying meal. One that makes you think you’re really being bad and cheating on your resolutions, when actually you’re still keeping your health in check.
As with most of my wintertime meals (Coconut Thai Butternut Squash Soup, Butternut Squash Pomegranate & Pistachio Quinoa Salad, etc.) butternut squash is on the brain. It’s just too good to not enjoy it to its fullest capacity during the season.
That’s why I decided too cook up a vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free Butternut Squash Mac N’ Cheese. The next time you feel like “cheating”, do it with this, because the good news is, it’s good for you.
1 fresh butternut squash (peeled and chopped)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
3/4 cup/180 ml. unsweetened/unflavored almond milk
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (gives it that cheesy flavor – you can find this in most health food stores or large grocery stores)
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
4 servings of quinoa pasta, or whole grain pasta of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. Cut squash in half, clean out the inside, and chop squash into cube-sized bites.
2. Mix chopped squash with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered until tender.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the “cheese”sauce in a small pot on the stove. Add coconut oil over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together almond milk and arrowroot powder (you can also use your flour of choice) until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, dijon, garlic, salt and pepper) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so). Dip your finger in because it tastes like a little piece of heaven. This picture doesn’t do it justice but you can see how creamy it is.
4. Cook your pasta according to package directions.
5. In a blender, add the sauce from the pot with 1 cup of roasted squash.
6. Combine cooked (and don’t forget to drain it!) pasta with “cheese” sauce, leftover butternut squash and anything else that tickles your fancy. I added steamed kale at the end, but that’s optional. I like the added crunch and of course added nutrients it provided.