This comforting butternut squash mac and cheese has earthy butternut squash that melts into golden cheesy goodness. Pair it with a crisp salad, and you have a warm, wholesome dinner.
If you love mac and cheese, I’ve got a winner for you today. This tasty mac and cheese is combined with butternut squash for a rich flavor blast and a dose of veggies in every bite. This rich, cheesy dish has been a staple in my rotation for a while, now. I love it because it’s a fun twist on traditional mac and cheese, and it helps me get some vegetables into my grandchildren. We all know how kids can be when it comes to veggies, after all! This is one of my favorite dishes for dinner or potlucks. I’ve even been known to bring it to Thanksgiving dinners!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This delicious mac and cheese recipe combines a rich, homemade cheese sauce with pureed butternut squash to create an earthy flavor that is so perfect for the season. Some Slap Ya Mama seasoning gives it a little bit of kick, and when it’s all combined with perfectly cooked pasta shells, you end up with a macaroni and cheese recipe that is so easy and so amazingly delicious. While making this dish might be simple, the flavor profile is rich and complex. It’s a delicious fall side that everyone always comes back for again and again.
A Healthy Twist to the Classic Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
Now before anyone starts furiously typing about how this recipe isn’t healthy, pause for a second. This for sure is not healthy. It’s mac and cheese! It’s simple carbs, butter, and cheese. However, it has a healthy twist with the addition of the butternut squash. I know the squash doesn’t magically make this dish a superfood or anything, but at least it adds some health benefit. Frankly, I’m not thinking about health when I’m eating mac and cheese, so the addition of a vegetable is a bonus.
Why You Should Make This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
First of all, it’s delicious! Secondly, if you have picky eaters at home, mac and cheese is always a welcome dish. If you can sneak in some veggie goodness into the mix, all the better! This recipe is pure comfort food with a healthy twist of butternut squash for added vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The added flavor is amazing, too. It’s a win all the way around!
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you scroll down to the recipe, take a second to look over this FAQ. It answers all the most commonly asked questions about this delicious side dish, so it’s worth a look.
What Does Butternut Squash Taste Like?
Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty flavor. it’s similar to sweet potatoes – some even say it tastes a bit like butterscotch.
What Flavors Go Well with Butternut Squash?
For sweet dishes, try cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. For savory dishes, thyme, sage, and oregano are great.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese?
Beef, pork, and chicken all work very well with mac and cheese. For vegetable options, think of things like green beans, peas, asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower. Honestly, any of your favorite veggies will work.
How to Store Leftover Mac and Cheese?
Store your leftover mac and cheese in the refrigerator in shallow, air-tight containers for 3 – 5 days.
Can You Freeze Leftover Mac and Cheese?
Mac and cheese freezes very well. Simply let the mac and cheese chill completely in the refrigerator. Then, cut it into individual portions and double wrap them in cling wrap and then a singe layer of aluminum foil. Finally, place them in an air-tight, freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Variations
The great thing about macaroni and cheese of any kind is how versatile it is, and this recipe is no different. You can easily make this recipe exactly as you want it by simply changing a few things to fit your tastes.
I used shells in this recipe, but you can use any short noodle you like. Elbow macaroni, ziti, penne, and the like are all excellent choices.
I used sharp cheddar because it’s the classic mac and cheese combo. However, you can use any of your favorite cheese. Gouda is particularly good with the butternut squash.
To turn this side into a complete meal, try adding meat to it. Beef, pork, and chicken all work well. Use your favorite cuts to make it exactly the way you want it. I particularly like diced ham in it.
Speaking of making this dish a complete meal, try adding veggies to it, as well. Broccoli is a great choice, but you can feel free to experiment with any of your favorite veggies.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Ingredients
The ingredients for this recipe are very basic. You’ll most likely have most of them in your kitchen already. Any that you don’t have are easily found at your local grocery store.
- Shell pasta
- All purpose flour
- Butternut squash
- Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Slap Ya Mama
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
How to Make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Making this dish is as easy as shopping for it. Even though you’ll be roasting and pureeing the squash, it’s still an incredibly straightforward recipe. It only takes a few steps, and you’ll be all done!
Step 1: Cook the Squash
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and brush both sides with olive oil. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Scoop out flesh and place into a large bowl. Puree with a blender or mash with a hand masher until smooth.
Step 2: Cook the Pasta
In a large pot over high heat, boil water, add pasta, and cook per package directions. Drain and set aside.
Step 3: Cook the Sauce
In a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt butter, add flour, and whisk until combined. Pour half of the milk into the skillet, whisk until smooth. Next, add the remaining milk. Stir to combine. Add butternut squash puree, stir, then add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with Slap Ya Mama, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir.
Step 4: Put it Together
Add the pasta to the mixture, stir, and serve it immediately. Enjoy!
Try This Delicious Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Today
This butternut squash mac and cheese is rich, creamy, and cheesy, with an added sweet earthiness that you can only get with the addition of butternut squash. It’s the perfect side for almost any main dish, especially during the fall when the squash is the freshest. It’s a flavor combo that everyone loves, and I think you will, too. Give this recipe a try. I know you’ll love it.
Looking For More Delicious Pasta Recipes?
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta – This delicious pasta recipe is loaded with perfectly seasoned chicken, crispy bacon, onion, garlic and ranch all in a creamy sauce. A hearty recipe the whole family will enjoy.
Easy One-Pot Goulash – If you love a quick and easy dinner recipe, then this one-pot beef goulash is for you. Delicious, easy to make and full of flavor, this goulash will fast become a family favorite.
Italian Sausage Pasta – Here’s a simple pasta dinner recipe made with Italian sausage, a delicious sauce, cheese and pasta and can be on the table in about 45 minutes. Hearty and delicious.
If you are looking for more delicious butternut squash recipes, make sure to check of Ahead of Thyme’s blog. She has lots of delicious recipes you might enjoy as well.
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the Butternut Squash Puree
- Cut squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and brush both sides with olive oil. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Scoop out flesh and place into large bowl. Puree or mash with a hand masher until smooth.
For the Mac and Cheese
- In a large pot over high heat, boil water, add pasta, and cook per package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over high heat, melt butter, add flour, and whisk until combine. Pour half of the milk into the skillet, whisk until smooth. Next, add the remaining milk. Stir to combine.
- Add butternut squash puree, stir, then add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with Slap Ya Mama, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir.
- Add pasta, stir and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.