This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is cheesy comfort food heaven! Macaroni pasta is baked in a silky cheese sauce that's infused with garlic and sage, and has butternut squash mixed in too. I love mac and cheese but I like to add a vegetable to the mix to make it a bit more nutritious. Butternut squash is the perfect addition to this tasty dish! It's great for feeding a crowd or a hungry family, add a side of steamed green broccoli for an extra veg hit!
What's great about this recipe
- It's a great way to hide veg in a tasty meal
- It will feed a hungry family
- Cheesy pasta is a guaranteed crowd pleaser
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and re-heated
- It's ultimate comfort food!
What you will need
- Butternut squash - This glorious orange veg adds a beautiful hue to this recipe, it's also mild in flavour and it compliments the cheese perfectly
- Macaroni pasta - The 'mac' of mac and cheese, however feel free to use another pasta shape like penne if it's all you have
- Butter - I use unsalted butter for the cheese sauce, this is already quite a salty recipe because of all the cheese.
- Garlic - This is optional, but it adds amazing flavour so I do recommend using it. You can use fresh, frozen or a puree
- Plain flour - also known as all purpose flour, this helps to thicken the cheese sauce
- Milk - I like to use semi skimmed milk or a plant milk like whole oat milk, but you can use any milk you prefer
- Single cream - This makes the cheese sauce extra creamy, you can replace it with the same amount of milk or swap for double cream for extra luxury
- Cheese - The star of this dish! I like to use mature or extra mature cheddar as it has the best flavour, but red leicester or a vegetarian alternative to parmesan would be yummy too, or even a mix of cheeses
- Sage - This fragrant herb is a perfect partner to squash and cheese, thyme would also be really yummy too
- Breadcrumbs - I like to use panko breadcrumbs, but you can swap for regular, golden or even homemade
- Salt - This recipe is already quite salty because of the cheese, but you can add a little extra to taste if you want to
How to make Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Microwave the butternut squash in a bowl with water. Cover it in cling film and pierce a hole in the middle. Microwave on high for 15 minutes or until soft, then mash it up roughly.
To make the cheese sauce, melt butter and garlic together on a low heat. Add the plain flour and whisk it in well. Slowly add the milk bit by bit, whisking well between each addition. Then stir in the cream. Heat for a few minutes until it thickens. Then add the cheese and stir until it melts. Next, add in the sage, the butternut squash, and salt or pepper to taste.
Add cooked macaroni pasta to a baking dish, then pour in the sauce and stir until the pasta is evenly coated. Add extra cheese on top, plus some breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Can this recipe be made vegan?
Yes, you can replace the milk, cream and cheese with dairy free versions to make this recipe vegan. Please make sure to check the labels of everything you use if serving to anyone with an allergy in case of cross contamination.
How long does the mac and cheese last and can it be frozen?
Once fully cool, cover any leftovers with cling film, or put them in tupperware containers. Store in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave, I like to add a splash of water before microwaving as it moistens up the pasta. You can also freeze it, in freezer bags or tupperware containers for up to 3 months.
What can you serve with this recipe?
- Most steamed or boiled vegetables like carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, leeks, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.
- Garlic bread
- Salad leaves, fresh tomatoes and cucumber
- Veggie or vegan sausages
- Roasted brussel sprouts
- Sautéed mushrooms
More tips for making Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese:
- I always place a baking tray underneath my baking dish as pies like this can often bubble over the sides. Putting the dish on a baking tray, or placing a baking tray on the shelf underneath, saves you from having to clean spills from your oven
- The ceramic dish I used to make this recipe was from Tesco and it measures 21cm in width, 31cm in length and 6cm in depth
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
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If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 500 g Macaroni pasta
- 450 g Butternut squash peeled, chopped into squares
- 150 ml Water
For the cheese sauce
- 75 g Butter unsalted
- 2-3 cloves Fresh garlic
- 6 tbsp Plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 625 ml Milk
- 100 ml Single cream
- 300 g Mature cheddar
- 2 tsp Dried sage
- ½ tsp Salt optional
For the topping
- 50 g Mature cheddar
- 15 g Panko breadcrumbs
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C
- Place the cubes of chopped butternut squash into a microwavable bowl and add the water. Cover the bowl with cling film and pierce a hole in the top with a knife
- Microwave the squash for 15 minutes on high, or until soft. You can check it via the hole in the cling film
- When it is done, drain off the water and use a fork to roughly mash the squash. If you want a smoother puree, use a blender instead
- Meanwhile, set some water to boil and add the pasta. Boil according to the packet instructions, usually 10 minutes, then drain and add to your baking dish
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat. Add the garlic into the melted butter and let it cook for a couple of minutes
- Add the plain flour and whisk it into the butter, let it cook for 1 minute
- Then start adding the milk slowly, bit by bit, with each addition whisk the milk well into the flour to avoid a lumpy sauce
- When all the milk is added, add the cream and stir it in
- Turn up the sauce to a medium heat, stir it constantly with a silicone spatula making sure to scrap along the bottom and sides of the pan as you stir (this is stop the sauce from catching) keep doing this until the sauce thickens, around 3-5 minutes
- Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stir until it has melted into the sauce. Add the sage and salt, if using
- Add the mashed up squash to the cheese sauce and mix it in
- Pour the sauce over the pasta, stir the mixture gently so that the sauce evenly coats the pasta
- Top with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbling
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