Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Like most kids, my daughters love pasta so much that they could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not exactly something a dietitian mom wants to admit. This homemade butternut squash mac and cheese is a winner for both parents and kids. Made with real ingredients, packed with vegetables and flavour, and its easy to make.  Even the pickiest eaters will love this butternut squash mac & cheese and won’t even know they are eating a healthy pasta. It’s that good I promise.

mac and cheese

There are some foods that I absolutely refuse to buy. One of them is macaroni and cheese.  Store bought pastas can be high in sodium, artificial flavours and colours. Don’t get fooled by companies that state they have added vegetables, the amount added is insignificant.  As a dietitian, I like our meals to include seasonal vegetables, hence the addition of butternut squash. This pasta is a great way to add vegetables to your child’s diet, just don’t hide it from them. Sweet potatoes could be an easy substitute for those who don’t like squash as much as our family. Another favorite squash dinner is this spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs. Both recipes make a regular appearance on our menu plans during the fall and winter months.

mac and cheese 2

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Yields 8

20 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups of dried pasta
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock ( low sodium)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Bring a medium size pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente ( 10 mins)
  3. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water
  4. Meanwhile, cook onion for a couple of minutes, add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes over medium heat
  5. Add squash and broth and bring to a boil. Turn down and dimer for approximately 30 minutes or until soften. Transfer to large bowl and blend with immersion blender until smooth.
  6. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour,stir, and make a roux.
  7. Add milk slowly, whisking constantly and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.
  8. Add cheddar and parmesan cheese, squash mixture,nutmeg, and reserved pasta water.
  9. Add cooked pasta and combine.
  10. Transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish
  11. Bake for 30 minutes
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http://www.zestnutrition.ca/butternut-squash-mac-cheese/

Butternut squash belongs to the winter squash family and is an excellent source of beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Beta carotene, an antioxidant, that may protect us from certain cancers and heart disease.  Squash is also a good source of folate, potassium, and vitamin C.

Enjoy!

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