Fall Squash Mac & Cheese
What a fantastic way to sneak super healthy veggies and whole wheat pasta into the kids! Or veggie-averse adults, for that matter. The creamy nature of the blended squash with just enough cheese to satisfy the craving for gooey goodness will make this healthy alternative a go-to comfort food a stand-by in your house in no time!
Servings Prep Time
12people 45minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
12people 45minutes
Cook Time
  1. Peel the butternut squash. Remove seeds and flesh from inside of squash. Dice squash into 1″ cubes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss with 1 tsp. olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine squash and 2-1/2 cups of the milk. Heat over medium high heat, bringing to a boil. Once the milk begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, approximately 20 minutes.
  4. While squash & milk cook, heat large saute pan over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tsp. bacon fat. Saute onions in pan until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  5. Once squash is fully cooked, remove from heat. Using a stick blender (or blending in batches in a traditional blender), puree milk and squash until a smooth texture is created.
  6. Stir together the flour with the remaining 1/4 cup of milk, creating a thick mixture (also called a “slurry”). Add this mixture to the squash puree and stir to incorporate completely.
  7. Add cheese and stir until a creamy consistency is achieved.
  8. This is where the gooey nature of the cheese comes into play!
  9. Add salt & pepper to taste. Also, add the nutmeg and stir to incorporate.
  10. Add pasta to cheese & squash mixture.
  11. Add sauteed onions to pasta and squash mixture. Stir to incorporate.
  12. Pour pasta mixture into baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top pasta with bread crumbs.
  13. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, or until bread crumbs begin to brown.
  14. Serve as a main course alongside a tossed green salad, or as a side dish to your protein of choice.
Recipe Notes

I realize that this dish seems like it has a ton of steps, but when you have all of your ingredients prepped, it really does come together in no time.  I also love that the orange of the squash could easily be mistaken for the traditional cheese used in so many mac & cheese recipes.  All the easier to trick some folks into trying this delicious alternative!

A note about the squash:  While I use butternut squash here, you could easily use other Fall squashes just as easily.  Acorn, kobocha, or even pumpkin–all of them would be delicious in this comfort food classic.  Same goes for the cheeses.  I used smoked gouda, but any combo of cheeses could be substituted.

Finally, I mention here using 1/2 tsp. of bacon fat to saute the onions.  First of all, I realize that not everyone has a jar of bacon fat in their fridge.  You could fry up some bacon and use the grease from that (or actually add bacon if you wanted to really punch it up).  Barring that, you can simply omit that step and use olive oil or other cooking fat. I will say though that this small amount of bacon fat really adds a depth of flavor that you won’t find in other substitutes.  Consider it your “secret ingredient” to giving this Fall Squash Mac & Cheese the boost it needs!