Butternut Squash Sage Macaroni and “Cheese”

Sharon Palmer, RD Plant based macaroni & cheese Plant based macaroni & cheese

A delicious, plant-based macaroni and "cheese" that is astonishingly rich and creamy, from Sharon Palmer, RD, the Plant-Powered Dietician

A Delicious & Healthy Mac & Cheese

This plant-based macaroni and “cheese” is astonishingly rich and creamy. The butternut squash lends it a lovely golden color, as well as a sweet, earthy taste. One of my all-time favorite recipes, this scrumptious dish is perfect to tote along to your next potluck. You’ll end up winning the whole crowd over. 


Makes 6 servings


8 ounces (2-1/4 cup) dry whole grain elbow macaroni

12 ounces butternut squash, chopped (about 2-1/2 cups) (see Note)

1-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon dried sage

1-1/2 cups unsweetened plain plant-based milk (i.e. Daiya)

1 cup shredded plant-based cheese

3 tablespoons bread crumbs

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook the macaroni in boiling water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Put the squash, broth, nutmeg, black pepper, paprika, mustard, and sage into a medium pot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  4. Lightly mash the squash mixture in the pot with a potato masher. Stir in the cooked macaroni, plant-based milk, and plant-based cheese.
  5. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture into the dish.
  6. Mix together the bread crumbs and olive oil in a small dish. Sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese. 
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
***Note:  To prepare cubed squash, slice the fresh butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, peel the outer skin, and slice the flesh into cubes. You can also purchase pre-cubed, fresh butternut squash at many supermarkets. Choose a subtle plant-based milk, such as almond, rice or hemp milk, for this dish. 

Nutrition Information:

Per serving (about 1-1/4 cups):

Calories: 238

Carbohydrate: 39 g

Fiber: 5 g

Protein: 10 g

Total fat: 7 g

Saturated fat: 1 g

Sodium: 183 mg

Star nutrients: Vitamin A (91% DV), vitamin C (20% DV)

Sharon Palmer, R.D.

Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ is a writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, including Prevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Today’s Dietitian. She is also the editor of the award-winning publication Environmental Nutrition and writes for her blog, The Plant-Powered Blog. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including Mediterranean, vegetarian and vegan diets. Her second book, Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, will be in stores spring of 2014.

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