This is by far the BEST vegan Mac & Cheese I’ve ever had! It’s so good all your vegan and omnivore friends will be begging you to make it again and again. Best of all, it's very low in fat and much healthier than the classic version.
½ medium butternut squash (1-2/3 cups cooked and mashed)
16 oz. / 454 g package elbow macaroni or spirals
1 large onion, diced
¼ -½ tsp. salt *optional for pasta
½ - ¾ cup/118-177 mL vegetable broth (for cooking)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. miso (Genmai Brown Rice is best, use more if using Shiro/white/yellow miso)
3 cups / 710 mL almond milk (unsweetened original)
2 Tbsp. flour or cornstarch
¾ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼-½ tsp. black pepper
½-1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
½- ¾ tsp. salt *optional for a sauce
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (or Gluten-Free)
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
1. Peel and cube the butternut squash. Boil the squash in a large pot with water until soft. Or cook in a pressure cooker at high pressure for 5-7 minutes. Drain well. Measure out 1-2/3 cup of mashed squash and set aside. TIP: If your squash is hard to peel or cut pop it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften the skin.
2. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil and then add salt. Add pasta and cook 5-7 minutes (about 1-2 minutes less than package instructions), just before it is tender. Drain well in a colander and rinse in cold water. Do not overcook the pasta.
3. Preheat oven to 350° F/ 177° C.
4. Heat vegetable broth in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender, adding broth when needed to prevent burning.
5. Add cooked onions and any remaining broth from the pan into Vitamix or food processor. Add mashed squash and miso and blend until combined. Set aside.
6. When hot, in the same large saucepan, add 1 cup of the almond milk and sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of flour or cornstarch, and whisk together. Add the remaining 2 cups of milk and sprinkle in another Tbsp. of flour. Whisk this together fast. It's ok if a few small bits of flour are left.
7. Cook the sauce for a minute or two until hot and quickly add the squash mixture and whisk in. Heat through another minute or two and then add the nutritional yeast and whisk in. Turn heat off and add remaining seasonings, starting with the lower amounts. Taste and add additional seasonings to your liking.
8. Add drained pasta to saucepot and stir to coat. Spread out in a casserole dish. (If you want to add some vegan cheese like Daiya cheese you could layer some in now and mix it in, but I prefer to skip fake cheese to keep my recipes healthier). Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over top and then sprinkle basil, oregano and paprika to garnish.
9. Bake for 20-30 minutes just until pasta is tender: 20 minutes if you slightly overcooked your pasta, 30 minutes if you didn't.
10. Serve with steamed broccoli or a green salad. (I like to serve my baked mac on top of a circle of steamed broccoli for presentation.)