Creamy, seasonal, and nutty, this Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a delicious meal to make right now or as a side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of using cheese, this dairy-free recipe calls for cashews and nutritional yeast to achieve the perfect comforting cheese-like taste.

Making this dish is simple: All you need is 15 minutes to prepare and chop your vegetables and blend your cheese-less sauce. The cooking process is also seamless when you roast your veggies and cook your pasta in less than thirty minutes.

If you have leftovers or want to double the batch for lunch and dinner for the week, keep your mac and cheese in an airtight container for up to two days and save some of the cooking water to thin the sauce out as you reheat it again.

Not a fan of butternut squash? Swap it for regular pumpkin, sweet potato, or any other winter squash you love. Instead of cashews, sunflower seeds also create a smooth, creamy, cheese-like texture and taste. Instead of white onion, yellow onion works too!

Treat yourself and your family to a cozy meal and love the taste of indulgent, healthier-for-you, mac and cheese!

attachment-Butternut Squash Pasta 05

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Cost: $9.37 recipe | $1.17 serving

Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Serves 8


  • 1 small butternut squash ($2.01)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided ($0.33)
  • 1 head of garlic, top sliced off ($0.32)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced ($0.24)
  • ⅔ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight ($1.29)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast ($0.75)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped ($0.05)
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped ($0.03)
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes ($0.01)
  • Sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste ($0.02)
  • 1-2 cups of water to blend
  • 16 ounces rotini ($4.32)


For the roasted vegetables

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Add the squash to the prepared baking pan face-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then turn the squash to face down.
  3. Drizzle the garlic head with olive oil, then wrap it in foil. Roast the squash and garlic in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until both are tender.
  4. In the meantime, heat ~1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over low. Caramelize the onions until they are golden brown, then remove them from heat.

To blend

  1. Once the squash and garlic are done, scoop the flesh out of the squash and peel the garlic, then add them to a high-speed blender.
  2. Transfer the onions to the blender along with the cashews, nutritional yeast, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and black pepper. Add 1-2 cups of water (just enough to get the blender moving). Blend on high until smooth and creamy.

For the pasta

  1. Bring a stockpot of water to boil, then salt it generously. Cook the rotini according to package directions, reserving ~1-2 cups of the cooking water.
  2. Drain the pasta (do not rinse it), then add it back to the pot or a large serving dish. Pour in ¾ of the sauce and stir to combine. Add more sauce and pasta water as needed to smooth the sauce out and thoroughly coat the pasta.
  3. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking, then serve immediately with vegan parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, extra pepper flakes, etc. Enjoy!

Nutrition: 1 of 8 servings
Calories 368 | Total Fat 9.3 g | Saturated Fat 1.5 g | Cholesterol 0 mg | Sodium 12.5 mg | Total Carbohydrates 61.2 g | Dietary Fiber 5.3 g | Total Sugars 6.3 g | Protein 12.1 g | Calcium 74 mg | Iron 2.6 mg | Potassium 640 mg |

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