Macaroni ‘Un’ Cheese

4 Feb

This is not the post I had planned for tonight, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you about it!!

As I was sitting in traffic on the way home today, my mind drifted off to dinner and I argued back and forth with myself. “Cook something exciting! No, no, just eat leftovers. Noooo, leftovers are boring! Okay, I’ll cook something.” I always win my arguments.

I’ve been on a little bit of a vegan kick lately (I blame Oprah), and I wanted to stick with that theme tonight. I remembered a recipe from this month’s issue of Runner’s World for macaroni and cheese that slyly incorporated cauliflower as a way to greatly reduce the amount of cheese while still maintaining the richness.

I thought to myself, “Hey, I could probably do something like that but omit the cheese completely!” And then I remembered that I still had a butternut squash from my first CSA box. Butternut squash is yellow. Cheese is yellow. [insert “Aha” moment here]

I am in love with this Mac ‘Un’ Cheese. I hope you like it, too.

Macaroni ‘Un’ Cheese

  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 8 ounces whole wheat rotini or other short pasta
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Earth Balance spread, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta. In a steamer basket, steam butternut squash until tender, about 20 minutes. Warm vegetable stock and bay leaves on stovetop for 5 minutes.
  2. Add pasta to water. While pasta is cooking, transfer the squash, stock (remove bay leaves), nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, dijon mustard, and spices to the bowl of a food processor. Process 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Use more or less stock to reach desired “cheese” sauce consistency.
  3. Once pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and return to pot. Pour sauce overtop and stir until all noodles are well coated. Pour into four small ramekins or one 8″ square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with breadcrumbs and drizzle with Earth Balance.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until breadcrumbs are browned and crisp. Serve hot!

Chop! Chop!

I love the sound that butternut squash makes when you drop it into a pot or onto a baking sheet. Is that just me? Does anyone else know what I’m talking about?

While the noodles boil, prepare your sauce.


Wow! Cheesy!


After it’s all mixed together, pour it into ramekins or a baking dish.

I like that everyone gets their own little dish with the ramekins.

Now sprinkle on the breadcrumbs!

Ready to be baked!

I enjoyed mine with butternut squash fries that I tossed with a tablespoon of roasted almond butter and then baked until crisp. I also had a salad that I topped with a leftover garbanzo veggie burger spread with tomato paste and hummus. Ohhhhhh Myyyyy. It was all so good!

The macaroni ‘un’ cheese was browned and crisp on top, but moist and creamy and throughout. It tasted so rich and cheesy without containing any eggs, cheese, milk, or butter! Oh goodness! I will be making this a lot from now on!

If you are not familiar with nutritional yeast, it is a bright yellow yeast flake with a cheesy/nutty odor and flavor. It’s great in sauces or sprinkled on popcorn and is super high in B-vitamins!

Here are the stats for nutritional yeast:

Inactive dry yeast, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12

Nutrients Per 1 heaping tablespoon
Calories 60
Total Fat 1 gram
Carbohydrate 7 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 8 grams
Sodium 5 milligrams
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 640% Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 560% DV
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 280% DV
Vitamin B6 480% DV
Folic Acid 60% DV
Vitamin B12 130% DV
Selenium 30% DV
Zinc 20% DV


Check out the fiber and protein in just 1 TABLESPOON! Not to mention all those B Vitamins to get your energy up!

The Mac ‘un’ cheese got the nod of approval from all the family members! My youngest sister didn’t even guess it was vegan. Mission accomplished.

Guess what?? IT’S THE WEEKEND!

Have fun!!!!


15 Responses to “Macaroni ‘Un’ Cheese”

  1. Mom and Dad February 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    Your macaroni un cheese was SOOOOOO delicious. We really liked it and so healthy for old Pop.

    • Zestful Lou February 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      Thanks Mom and Dad! You two are so cute! Love you!

  2. Brenna February 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    this looks absolutely delicious! My bf and I have been trying to go vegan once per week (already vegetarian), and this will have to be added to the list of recipes to try! Love your space here!

    • Zestful Lou February 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

      Thank you, Brenna! My bf and I are going vegetarian for lent. I’m going to try to sneak in a few vegan meals each week. I don’t think he will have a clue if they taste as yummy as this mac n cheese! Come back soon!

  3. Angela (Oh She Glows) March 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    ahhh my tummy just growled!!!

  4. Jess@HealthyExposures March 5, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Ohhh this looks so good! A great, unique twist on a classic. I dig it 😉

  5. Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 25, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    This looks divine! What do the sesame seeds serve — flavor, texture, nutritional profile? Just wondering 🙂 Can’t wait to try this!

    • Zestful Lou March 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

      I added the sesame seeds for the nutty flavor, but then I realized I really didn’t need it because I added nutritional yeast. I would leave them out next time because they didn’t add anything. I would, however, double the sauce recipe to make the pasta more ooey gooey! hope you like it

  6. KeithUnsed June 9, 2018 at 10:44 pm #


  7. Richardaccus August 8, 2020 at 5:41 pm #

    Full Article


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