During these busy weeknights, satisfy your mac and cheese cravings with a healthier and delicious Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. It contains 2 kinds of cheeses and one pound of butternut squash. The butternut squash in this mac and cheese is melted and blended smoothly, making it a healthier option for the whole family.
Our Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese…
- This is a delicious dish!
- Loaded with nutrients for the whole family.
- The flavors in this mac and cheese recipe are what make it so worth going the extra effort to make it!
- It freezes well and reheats beautifully too!
Butternut Squash vs. Other Squashes…
- Butternut squash is a fall and winter squash.
- It is considered part of the pumpkin family, with a similar sweet and nutty taste to it.
- Only this squash has a very light-colored skin, almost pinkish or tan color, but with a deep orange pulp and flesh inside.
- Loaded with nutrients and vitamins, like all other squashes.
We have created several delicious recipes using it, including our creamy butternut squash soup, butternut squash risotto, and healthy butternut sweet potato casserole, just to name a few.
When Looking For Butternut Squash…
It’s a good idea to look for butternut squash in containers “already chopped and cubed.” That will save a tremendous amount of time in prep work!
Plus, if you don’t see them on the shelves, ask someone in the produce section if they have any in the back.
If not available, then you will have to do the chopping.
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese?
For our recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
Ingredients Overview for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese…
1. BUTTERNUT SQUASH: 1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound, or 4 cups of diced or cubed.
2. SAGE: use only fresh sage, about 8 leaves to flavor the sauce. Fresh sage gives a lovely, subtle flavor to this mac and cheese. If you don’t like sage, you may use different herbs like basil, rosemary, or thyme for flavoring.
3. CHEESES: choose 2 kinds of cheese. I used 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (grated) and 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. I prefer to grate a block of cheddar, at least 75% of it, and then I finely chop the rest. Freshly grated cheddar melts instantly and tastes better than the already grated and packaged cheese.
4. VEGETABLES: one small onion and 2 garlic cloves are sauteed with the butternut squash.
5. OLIVE OIL: just enough extra virgin olive oil to saute the vegetables.
6. BROTH: water, vegetable broth, and milk to make the sauce. Don’t worry, if you don’t have any vegetable broth, you can use more water in its place when simmering the butternut squash.
7. SEASONINGS: salt, black pepper, and a dash of nutmeg (or more to taste) are all you need.
8. PASTA: I used semolina “mini” fusilli pasta, but you can use any small pasta.
Directions To Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese: (*full recipe card below).
- First, use a large pot to make the sauce. Heat olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until softened.
- Toss in sage leaves and simmer on low heat sauteing for about 2 minutes. With a fork, fish and remove the sage leaves, discard them.
3. NEXT, toss in butternut squash and saute for one minute. Pour in the water along with vegetable broth and add the salt. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Butternut squash will be softened. Turn off the heat.
4. Pour in the milk, and use an immersion hand-held blender to puree the mixture. Or you can puree the mixture in your blender, doing it only in small batches and with a kitchen towel held on top of the blender while you pulse a few times.
5. Add both kinds of cheese to the pureed mixture, and stir until the cheese completely melts. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper, if needed.
6. Meanwhile, in a second large pot filled with water, add 2 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil, and toss in the fusilli pasta. Cook the pasta until al-dente. The pasta must be tender to the bite.
7. Use a large slotted spoon to scoop up the pasta and transfer it to the creamy cheese sauce. Continue until all the pasta has been transferred.
8. Stir the pasta, until it slowly absorbs the sauce. The sauce will appear to be on the watery side, but will slowly thicken as the pasta absorbs and the mixture cools down a little.
9. Serve immediately.
Cheddar Cheese vs. American Cheese…
Cheddar cheese is aged naturally rather than being artificially processed as in American cheese. Cheddar is also more flavorful and healthier.
What kind of pasta can we use for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese?
Our butternut squash mac and cheese is made with “mini” Italian semolina fusilli pasta (aka rotini pasta).
Small curly pasta like fusilli cooks up quickly, and it absorbs and holds this luscious creamy sauce very nicely.
With that said, keep in mind you can use a variety of small kinds of pasta with this recipe, such as mini shells, mezzi rigatoni, elbows, and even mini penne.
Notes and Tips…
- It is best to serve this mac and cheese as soon as it is ready.
- *Make sure the pasta is “al-dente” (a little undercooked) since it will continue to cook as it mixes with the sauce.
- Also...do not use egg noodles. They will not work and will be too mushy and not hold up very well with the sauce.
- Keep in mind, the longer this mac and cheese sits in the pot, the more the pasta will continue to absorb the sauce, therefore, reducing the creaminess.
- It’s best to shred your own cheese, rather than using the pre-shredded packages that are loaded with cellulose and preservatives.
Your family will love our butternut squash mac and cheese.
This easy stove-top recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes!
Loaded with a vegetable, this mac and cheese is a great meal and a healthier version; hey…what’s not to LOVE! …right?! 😉
…Thanks for Pinning!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves - minced (approx. 1 Tbsp.)
- 1 small onion - diced (approx. 2/3 cup, or 37.4grams))
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 4 cups (592grams) diced butternut squash ( about 1 pound)- diced into small pieces
- 1 cup (235grams) vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup (118grams) water
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 + 1/3 cups (321.3grams) of low-fat or skim milk
- 8-ounces ( 235grams) sharp cheddar cheese - grated
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- dash of ground nutmeg
- fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 pound (340.19grams) uncooked small pasta ( I used mini fusilli )
- Bring a large pot filled with water, add 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a second large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and add the diced onion and garlic. Stir and saute for 1 minute to soften.
- Toss in the sage leaves and saute for 2 to 3 minutes to flavor the mixture. Use a fork to fish out and remove the sage leaves. Discard them.
- Toss in butternut squash, vegetable broth, and water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Butternut must be softened.
- Turn off the heat, and pour in the milk. Use an immersion hand-held blender to blend the butternut squash into a creamy mixture. Or use a blender, only doing it in small batches, and with a kitchen, towel held on top while pulsing a few times to puree the mixture.
- Stir in both grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, and a dash of nutmeg. Stir until the cheeses completely melt into the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt, to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al-dente, tender to the bite. Mini fusilli pasta cooks up quickly, about 4 to 5 minutes, but you will need to keep an eye on it. When the pasta is ready, turn off the heat.
- Take a large slotted spoon and in small batches, transfer the pasta into the pot with the cheese mixture. Stir until well combined. The sauce will thicken as it starts to cool down. Season with fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
- Serve warm with some grated Parmesan cheese, at the table.
- Serves 4 to 6
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Total Fat: 17.6gCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2.2gSugar: 4.9gProtein: 12.7g
Hey everyone! If you make our butternut squash mac and cheese, let us know and leave a comment and a star rating below. Sharing your experience and insights will not only help those who read them but will help us too!
Additional Comfort Dinner Ideas…
Also, our Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower, it too is a stove-top dish made quickly and easily. Best of all, the cauliflower is completely melted and hidden in this dish.
And, of course, our Easy Pimento Mac and Cheese!
Plus, our Butternut Squash Ravioli with an Italian cheese sauce made with 4 ingredients!
Here is another easy dish for dinner, our Tortellini Mac and Cheese. It too is ready in minutes!
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Happy and Healthy Cooking! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
xo Anna and Liz
Nutrition FactsServing size: 1 cup Servings: 6 … Calories263, Total Fat 17.6g23%Saturated Fat 8.8g44%Cholesterol 41mg14%Sodium 468mg20%Total Carbohydrate 15g5%Dietary Fiber 2.2g8%Total Sugars 4.9g Protein 12.7g Vitamin D 5mcg24%Calcium 376mg29%Iron 1mg6%Potassium 485mg10%