This Butternut Squash Mac is an updated version of last year's with some gourmet new elements that take it up a notch! For a simpler, more basic recipe, feel free to use last year's. I highlight the differences below.
New & Improved Butternut Squash Mac n' Cheese
COOK TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 6-8 servings
For the cheese sauce:
2 cups frozen butternut squash
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1 small red onion*
3-4 cloves of garlic*
red chili flakes*
1 tbsp olive oil*
1 tbsp soy sauce/tamari*
For the pasta:
1 box cavatappi pasta
2 vegan sausage links
1-2 cups fresh broccoli
1.5 cups vegan cheddar cheese shreds
1. Boil a large pot of water for pasta and a smaller pot of water for frozen butternut squash.
2. Chop onions, garlic, shallots, broccoli, and vegan sausage links. Keep divided.
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add red onions. Allow onions to begin to caramelize for about 5 minutes, then add shallots and garlic and allow mixture to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Submerge frozen butternut squash in boiling water when ready. Boil per instructions on the bag or until cubes are tender.
5. Boil pasta according to box instructions (about 10-12 minutes.)
6. Once onion mixture is removed from the pan, use the same pan to cook broccoli and vegan sausage. Make sure that both are in bite-sized pieces. Cook until tender.
7. In a blender, combine butternut squash, onion mixture, tahini, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, paprika, and red chili flakes to taste. Blend until smooth. You may have to add a bit of water.
8. Once noodles are cooked, add them to the large pan that your broccoli and sausage are in. Pour oven butternut squash cheese sauce and mix well. Add in vegan cheese shreds and allow mac n' cheese to heat and melt over a low flame, lid covered.
*Some notes: All of the ingredients in the cheese sauce with an asterisk (*) are new to this recipe. I replaced garlic powder with fresh garlic cloves, which is an obvious upgrade, but I think the best part is the addition of the caramelized onions. These onions bring a sweetness and new depth of flavor. By filling the pasta with vegan sausage and broccoli, this dish becomes more of a complete meal. Other ingredients to add would be vegan bacon, tempeh, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, green onions, etc. You could even top it with breadcrumbs or crispy onions!
Savory, Lemony Greens
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: 2-6 servings, depending*
1.5 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
3 cups fresh kale
3-4 cloves of garlic
olive oil and water for cooking
1. Wash and chop Brussels sprouts and kale.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium pan and begin sautéing Brussels sprouts. For that perfectly-brown crispy edge, you want to start with the insides face-down in the pan. Note that the edges will cook quicker than the entire sprout. Allow edges to crisp for several minutes. Once edges are browning, add a bit of water (about 1/4 cup) to the pan to help the Brussels cook-through thoroughly. At this point you can cover the pan with a lid to help steam the Brussels.
3. Meanwhile, chop shallots and garlic. Add them to the pan as Brussels begin to soften.
4. Once the shallots and garlic begin to brown, finally add kale. If all of your water is cooked out of the pan, add another 1/4 cup of water and cover with a lid allow kale to steam on top of Brussels, shallots, and garlic. Add sea salt to taste.
5. Remove veggies from heat and squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of them. Serve warm.
*A note about the yield - since we just ate the mac n' cheese with the greens, my boyfriend and I ate all of the greens split between the two of us since they became the main part of our meal. If serving alongside lots of other things, you should have plenty to serve a larger group.