This is a meal in and of itself because it has all the food groups in it. This isn't your typical boxed mac n' cheese - or even homemade version. This butternut squash mac and cheese sneaks in a super healthy ingredient - and you won't even know it's there!
Well, at least my kids had no idea the squash was there and gobbled it right up. I, however, noticed that it gave it a sort of fall flavor and contributed to a healthier, creamy sauce that needed less cheese because of the squash puree.
It can be very difficult for children to get the nutrition that they need, so anytime I can get the chance to sneak something healthy in a delicious recipe, is a huge plus. But the best part is that it isn't only benefiting the children, but the rest of us as well. 🙂 This definitely takes a childhood classic to a new, healthier level.Print
Butternut Squash Clean Eating Macaroni & Cheese Recipe - the squash makes it healthier and creamy, but it still has enough cheese to be delicious!
- 12 ounces dried Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni Noodles or regular, white elbow macaroni
- 1 small Butternut Squash
- 2 Tbl Butter
- 2 Tbl Whole Wheat Flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 4 Cups grated Cheddar Cheese (divided)
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Prepared Mustard
- ½ teaspoon Real Salt + more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon White Pepper
- ½ Cup Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (use seasoned, if desired)
- Cut or peel the skin off of the butternut squash, scrap out the seeds, and cut the squash into ½" cubes.
- Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook squash for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain the water and place the squash in a food processor. Process until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot ¾ full with water and season with ½ tablespoon salt.
- Bring to a boil. Add the macaroni noodles to the water.
- Stir once and let cook, stirring occasionally for 9-10 minutes, or until just under al dente. Pasta should be just a little firmer than you would want it to be when eating because it will continue to cook and soften in the oven when baking.
- ?Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium/high heat.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add ½ cup of the milk and whisk until thickened and smooth.
- Add in the butternut squash puree and whisk until smooth and bubbling.
- Add 2 cups of the grated cheese and whisk in until melted and smooth.
- Add the remaining ½ cup milk and whisk until smooth. Add 1 more cup of cheese and whisk until smooth.
- Add the onion powder, mustard, salt, and pepper, and whisk until smooth.
- Drain the cooked pasta and toss it with the cheese sauce.
- Scoop the pasta into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the cheese and bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbling and cheese on top is melted.
Keywords: clean eating, healthy, creamy