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FOOD52 Vegan | Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese + a Giveaway

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth. Edith Sitwell

It seems there’s always room in the repertoire for another great way to enjoy a perennial favourite. Kids love it, adults love it – because there’s really nothing like pasta to provide humble, sturdy sustenance when the craving hits for some comfort. This recipe is from the beautiful new book Food 52 Vegan by Gena Hamshaw – who graciously sent me a copy this fall to enjoy. Gena is one of my original blog crushes, back when I stumbled into this world by fluke, clumsily discovering in the process this amazing community of talented, supportive souls each on a unique journey of their own to share with those who choose to read, cook, and visit these blog spaces. Gena’s original site, formerly called Choosing Raw, was one I always looked forward to visiting and still do – both for her approachable vegan recipes and for her honest way with words that always purvey thoughtful, reflective intelligence on matters close to my heart. She’s since evolved that space into The Full Helping, and to use her words, exists to help readers create and foster more peaceful, positive, and nourishing relationship with food – with a focus on plant-based eating for good health.

This new book has been created in partnership between Gena and the good folks over at Food52, and it’s packed with the just right amount of recipes you are actually going to want to make. I love that it’s filled with delightful salad combinations, using ingredients that are not uncommon here on my blog. She’s covered a lot of bases on the comfort food end too – with 3 delicious pasta recipes, pizza, pot pie, burgers amongst plenty of veggie forward salads and delicious savory breakfasts. It’s beautifully photographed too – a great one for under the tree or on your cookbook shelf for all to see and read.

Today I’m sharing a recipe from her book that I knew would be a hit at home – with a new twist I couldn’t wait to try. This creative take on classic Mac and Cheese offers everything you need in a complete, nutritionally sound vegan meal. Wildly nutritious butternut squash forms the basis of a creamy sauce, and added green veggies automatically cross out the need for added fuss. Simple one pan meals are always welcome in this house, and today I’m happy to share it with all of you! Read on for the recipe, and for those who’d like to get their hands on this gem, simply head to the end of the post – as I’m also giving away a copy of this beautiful book to one reader!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1.5-2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tsp salt
1 pound elbow or your choice of pasta
2 cups cooked vegetables (such as steamed broccoli florets or peas – I used peas)
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. oil a 7 by 11 inch pan (or close to it). Coat the cubed squash in 1 tsp of olive oil and mix in a large bowl. Spread on a flat baking tray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. Decrease the oven temperature to 350.

While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add the coconut milk and 34 cups of almond milk. Whisk in the nutritional yeast and arrowroot powder. Cook, whisking constantly until nice and thick, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk, the butternut squash, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and the paprika, lemon juice, and miso. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly as best as you can. Transfer the contents of the sauce to a large blender and blend the sauce until smooth and creamy.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.Stir in the pasta and adjust the heat to maintain a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pasta is al dente. Drain well and let cool briefly. Put the pasta in a large bowl and add the cooked peas. Add all of the sauce (if not using the peas use only 2 cups), and stir gently until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over top. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top, is golden. Serve right away.

GIVEAWAY // In addition to the recipe today, I’m giving away a copy too. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your favourite nutritious pasta idea! I’m always on the hunt for easy one-pot weeknight meals, so I’d love to see what you’ve got :). I’ll do a draw and notify the winner on December 14. // THIS GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED // . Thank you for participating everyone!


31 responses to “FOOD52 Vegan | Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese + a Giveaway

  1. One of my tricks is to put a big pile of dreams in the colander so when I strain the pasta, the greens wilt. Such an easy way to boost your vegetable intake!

  2. I like to throw in leftover roasted veggies into the pasta dish at the end – just long enough to heat the veggies throughout. Then serve — a good way to use leftovers.

  3. I like to cook my gluten free pasta with a 1/2 bag of green peas and always sprinkle nutritional yeast on top when I eat it for a cheesy but nutritious taste

  4. I’ve recently stopped eating red meats and it was very difficult for me to enjoy red sauce with pasta until I started loading my homemade sauce with fresh veggies. I puree with my stick blender just enough to make the sauce smooth but still rich & thick. I don’t miss the meat now.

  5. Recently, I have been into pasta dishes with Asian flavors. Especially if you use whole grain noodles and low sodium sauces, you can pack in a ton of veggies and a little healthy fat!

  6. I love mixing spiralized veggie noodles (zucchini, carrot, and beet especially!) with either quinoa or buchwheat noodles tossed with fresh steamed veggies and homemade pesto. In my homemade pesto I like to use chili-garlic flax oil rather than olive oil with walnuts, nutritional yeast, and either basil or cilantro. So delicious!

  7. When I first became vegetarian I found it really hard to make a good tomato basted pasta so I decided to start adding fresh basil and parsley after adding the garlic and tomatoes! Now I can’t get enough! That book looks amazing! Thanks for such a wonderful giveaway!

  8. I love spaghetti with a Spanish tomato based vegetable sauce called pisto. Eggplant and red bell peppers are cooked in a tomato sauce until velvety smooth and sweet …

  9. “Baby pasta” as requested from my boyfriend – I throw together whatever pasta we have on hand (loving quinoa pasta right now), strain with a little liquid left and stir in a frozen ice cube of pesto I made with this summer’s garden harvest. Quick and easy! Ps, I’m making this Mac n cheese tonight, so excited!

  10. I just prepared this recipe and it is fantastic. I’m not vegan– barely vegetarian– but my boyfriend adheres to a plant-based diet, so I thought I’d give a vegan-imitation dish a shot. This is indistinguishable from real mac and cheese. I’m blown away. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. I enjoy a roasted butternut squash(roasted with fresh red chile, garlic) with spaghettini, topped with olive oil, parsley and parmesan.

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