Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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It is definitely no secret that I love mac and cheese. So I thought it would only be appropriate to do a mac and cheese inspired by the flavors of fall. I sat down and made my list and came up with a few flavors: butternut squash, apple and sage. I paired it with the savory flavors of vegan cheddar and smoky tofu bacon and we have one amazing dish.

RECIPE VIDEO

I have become completely obsessed with butternut squash this year. It gives the sauce a luscious, silky texture without having to use nuts. The pasta is hearty but also light and relatively healthy! I paired it with chickpea pasta and it was a winner.

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I decided to use tofu as my bacon substitute but feel free to use whatever you like. Coconut bacon, tempeh bacon, eggplant bacon, shiitake bacon. There are tons of bacon substitutes for us to use!

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INGREDIENTS

Cheese Sauce
3 cups butternut squash
1 1/2 – 2 cups non-dairy milk
1/4 cup vegan cheddar shreds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp or more of salt

Bacon Topping
2 oz smoked tofu, finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 apple, cubed
2-3 leaves fresh sage

8 oz pasta
1/2 tbsp vegan parmesan

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. If you are going to bake the mac and cheese in step 15 keep the oven on after butternut squash is done.
  2. Prepare butternut squash by chopping off the end and peeling the skin off. You need about 3 cups which is about the top half of the butternut squash. You can use the bottom bulb for something else. Cut the squash into cubes.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until soft and roasted.
  4. In a high speed blender add butternut squash, vegan cheddar shreds, 1-1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk, salt and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth. You may need to add more non-dairy milk to get it to a thinner, consistency. It should be thick but completely smooth and everything is blended. It should also have some movement to it.
  5. Chop up tofu and onion into small pieces. Place 1/2 tsp of oil into your pan and add the tofu. Add the soy sauce and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat to get tofu a little crispy.
  6. After the tofu has started to cook add in the onions. Cook tofu and onions together for 10 minutes. If you need to add a bit of water in during the cooking process that is totally fine. Let it cook until water is completely gone and the onion and tofu will still get crispy again.
  7. Cook pasta of choice.
  8. 2 minutes before the pasta is done cooking add the apples and fresh sage to the tofu and onion. Cook for 2 more minutes to get all the flavors together.
  9. Save 1/3 cup of pasta water.
  10. Optional: take some of the apple, tofu, onion, sage mixture and set aside to sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  11. Add cooked pasta to pan with apple, tofu, onion and sage.
  12. Then add all your cheese sauce on top and add in the pasta water.
  13. On a low heat mix all together.
  14. You can eat it as is or you can bake it.
  15. Transfer mac and cheese to oven safe dish and top with the apple, tofu, sage, onion mixture. Top with a little vegan parmesan and more cheddar if you like. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes. The top with get crispy and the cheese will melt. The color may change a bit.
  16. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 depending on portion size

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