Treat yourself to this yummy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese ... it's a lighter, super tasty version of your favorite classic recipe!
I love cheese, I love pasta, and I especially love mac and cheese. All those carbs and melty goodness in one dish ... it's just so darn good!
Unfortunately, it's also quite fattening and unhealthy. My favorite recipe has cups upon cups of cheese, whole milk, and lots of butter, and that's not even counting all the pasta.
It's one of those meals that I can only justify making once or twice a year.
Lucky for me, I discovered a way to lighten up my mac and cheese recipe big time: butternut squash. It's my secret healthy ingredient, and you won't believe how good it makes this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!
If you've visited here before, you've probably noticed that I LOVE butternut squash. But even if you're not a fan, you need to give this easy mac and cheese a try.
Butternut Squash may seem like a strange macaroni and cheese ingredient. But this dish really doesn't taste like it's full of squash ... I swear.
Once you try this healthier mac and cheese, you are going to be in love. It's so delish, and even better? It's easy to make!
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This lightened-up meal starts with an easy bechamel sauce made from butter, flour, and low fat milk. After the sauce thickens, you'll stir in a mixture of gruyere and cheddar cheeses ... two of my favorites!
Next comes the secret ingredient. The butternut squash gets cooked in the pasta water and then mashed into the bechamel. Give the sauce a taste at this point. You won't believe how decadent it is!
Once the sauce is ready, you'll stir in the pasta and cover everything with garlicky breadcrumbs. After a quick bake, it's time to dig in!
Wanna know the best thing about this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese? It doesn't taste like it's been lightened-up at all! Every bite is satisfying, cheesy, and delicious!
I wish I could take a bite right now. It's that good ... and I know you're going to love it just as much as I do!
If you enjoyed this recipe, then you'll want to try some of my other macaroni and cheese recipes, too ... like Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, or my Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. Yum!
Craving more butternut recipes? Then, make my Butternut Squash Lasagna, Black Bean and Butternut Enchiladas, Roasted Fall Vegetable Pizza, or Butternut and Gorgonzola Salad next!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- nonstick cooking spray
For Bread Crumbs:
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- ¼ cup parsley, leaves only
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
For Squash and Pasta:
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 pound pasta (shells, twists, macaroni, or similar)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- ½ teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 ounces gruyere, shredded
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
Prepare Bread Crumbs:
- Place garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse until minced.
- Add bread, parsley, and ¼ teaspoon salt to processor. Pulse until bread is turned into crumbs.
- Drizzle breadcrumbs with olive oil and pulse a few times to combine. Set aside.
Prepare Squash and Pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add squash and cook until soft (you should be able to mash it), about 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to bechamel sauce (see below).
- After squash is removed, add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain.
- While squash is cooking, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
- Stir flour into melted butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light golden brown.
- Slowly add milk, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cook sauce until thickened (it should coat the back of a spoon).
- Remove sauce from heat. Whisk in nutmeg and cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add squash to sauce, then use a potato masher to mash until smooth. Taste sauce and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Stir drained pasta into sauce, then transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Bake until pasta is hot and bubbling and crumbs are browned, about 15 minutes.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!
Do you toast the bread slices before sticking them in the food processor?
Hi, Mat! You can if you want, but I didn't. Give it a try:)
I'm going to make this! I adore butternut squash and never thought of putting it in mac & cheese. Thanks!
Holy perfection! This looks delish!
You are such a great cook, Ginnie! This looks delicious (as usual), and I love the addition of gruyere.
Gina - On the Daily Express
Yum that is such a great idea. I am going to have to try it. Butternut pumpkin is so delicious, I love to cook with it all the time
Looks delicious! You could also substitute the cheese for cauliflower "cheese." I swear it makes an awesome mac n cheese! Love the crispy baked breadcrumbs on top. Now I'm hungry. 🙂