Vegan Mac and Cheese - a lightened up version using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours #veganrecipes #veganmeal #meatfree #pastarecipes | Recipe on thecookandhim.com

Posted in Recipes on 29.01.2019

Vegan Mac and Cheese

prep: 20 mins / cook: 60 mins / inactive: 0 mins / total: 1 hour 20 mins / quantity: 2-4 servings (depends how hungry you are!!) Print recipe?

Vegan Mac and Cheese - a lightened up version using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours #veganrecipes #veganmeal #meatfree #pastarecipes | Recipe on thecookandhim.com

This is a lightened up version of vegan mac and cheese, using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours!

Can a non-cheese version of mac and cheese still taste like mac and cheese?  Welllll, yes and no.  Something without cheese is never going to taste like cheese.  And I’m talking literally without cheese, not a cheese substitute.  And this vegan mac and cheese is completely without cheese.

Why?

Vegan Mac and Cheese - a lightened up version using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours #veganrecipes #veganmeal #meatfree #pastarecipes | Recipe on thecookandhim.com

Because we used to love mac and cheese a bit too much.  Like would eat a serving for 4 people between just the two of us.  And then roll around with full bellies complaining how bloated we felt!  We’re the same with most pasta dishes to be honest.  We’re not very good at portion control so even though we’ve not had mac and cheese since I became vegan, I miss those comfort food flavours.  And now that Phil is embracing all things Veganuary (it’s a thing – look it up!  Even better, sign up!) there’s no more cheese in the house.  And while there are some great vegan cheese companies out there I wanted to make a lighter version of this classic.  That way we can still enjoy this steadfast favourite without feeling like I’d eaten enough pasta to feed a village.

Vegan Mac and Cheese - a lightened up version using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours #veganrecipes #veganmeal #meatfree #pastarecipes | Recipe on thecookandhim.com

I’ve roasted the squash for this vegan mac and cheese because I think it gives a richer flavour.  Plus you can roast the onions, garlic and herbs right along with it.  And if you’ve not heard of Nutritional Yeast before now – THIS is the thing that gives it a gorgeous slightly cheesy, slightly nutty flavour without all the calories of actual cheese.

Top the whole lot off with some whizzed up breadcrumbs and bake in the oven to bubbly, crispy perfection!

Vegan Mac and Cheese - a lightened up version using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours #veganrecipes #veganmeal #meatfree #pastarecipes | Recipe on thecookandhim.com

Meg is also a fan of a crusty dish.  And is often confused why sometimes the food on the floor is for her and sometimes she gets screamed at to leave it alone.

Vegan Mac and Cheese - a lightened up version using butternut squash as the base for the sauce with herbs, spices and a crispy breadcrumb topping for full on comfort food flavours #veganrecipes #veganmeal #meatfree #pastarecipes | Recipe on thecookandhim.com

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Vegan Mac and Cheese

prep: 20 mins / cook: 60 mins / inactive: 0 mins / total: 1 hour 20 mins / quantity: 2-4 servings (depends how hungry you are!!)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 sprigs rosemary – needles only, stalks discarded
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 3 cups (425g) dried macaroni
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 heaped tsp mustard (English, Dijon, wholegrain all work with this)
  • 4 tblsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup (50g) fresh breadcrumbs (roughly 2 slices of bread whizzed to crumbs)
  • Food processor – I used this Magimix

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 Fan / 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6 and line a large tray with parchment or a silicon mat
  2. Carefully peel the butternut squash and cut into bite sized cubes. Put onto the prepared tray
  3. Peel the onion and cut into chunks or segments. Peel the garlic and add the whole cloves to the tray with the onion
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes until the squash is very tender
  5. While they're roasting, cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta then return it to the saucepan. Set aside
  6. If you're making your own breadcrumbs whizz those up and scrape into a small bowl. Don't wash the processor bowl up yet!
  7. When the veg is cooked, remove from the oven and carefully spoon it all into the food processor bowl
  8. Add the almond milk, mustard, nutritional yeast and paprika and whizz everything to a smooth sauce. Taste and quickly whizz in salt and pepper as needed
  9. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the saucepan and stir together
  10. Pour into a large heatproof dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes (at the same temp as you roasted the veg) until golden and bubbling
  11. Serve immediately

Notes

  • This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until needed - bake for 35-40 minutes from fridge cold, checking to make sure the centre is piping hot
  • Leftovers can also be chilled and reheated as above
Vegan Mac and Cheese

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Hello and welcome to The Cook & Him.

We are Sam (The Cook), Phil (Him) and our little dog Meg. What started with a plan to shed a few pounds back in 2016, soon became obvious that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland and boring.

So, combining Sam’s 15 years of experience working within Michelin starred restaurants and our love for deliciously healthy food, we’re creating recipes for you to make and enjoy. We’ve added our own unique spin on traditional and contemporary vegetarian and vegan recipes that keep you (and your pets!) healthy and full.  And we make sure they just work.

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