Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu and kale! This flavourful whole food plant based recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes and is perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner. Nut-free, oil-free and gluten-free. 

Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu

You know those recipes that the internet just can’t get enough of? Well, vegan mac n cheese is definitely one of them, probably because the concept in itself is so fascinating. It seems like the least vegan dish possible, but it’s actually so easy to recreate without even using vegan cheese alternatives.

 

I love making vegan cheeses out of vegetables. If you’ve never tried it before, I won’t blame you at all for being skeptical. But, it’s always fun to try new things, especially when they’re as delicious as this!

Bowl with vegan mac and cheese and kale

Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese

This recipe gets that tricky balance between wholesomeness and taste just right. It isn’t your traditional mac and cheese recipe and tastes more ‘healthy’, but I wanted to use simple ingredients, with no pricey substitutes. And as a lot of recipes use cashews, this butternut squash mac and cheese recipe is nut-free and therefore more allergy-friendly.

Closeup of vegan mac and cheese with kale in a small bowl

If you or some of your family members don’t like vegetables, I would definitely recommend this recipe because the ‘cheese’ sauce is made out of butternut squash, carrots and onions, aka a great way to eat more vegetables even if you’re not a fan of salad.

Closeup of vegan mac and cheese in a grey bowl

I also added tofu for some plantbased protein. Once again, if tofu isn’t your favourite food, this is a great way to add it to your diet. Given the fact that it’s blended into the sauce, you won’t be able to taste it at all! But, the addition of tofu gives the sauce a distinctive silkiness that’s otherwise hard to achieve without cashews/vegan cheese substitutes.

Vegan pasta dish with a butternut squash cheese sauce

Reasons to love this butternut squash mac n cheese

It’s…

Closeup of a veggie-based mac and cheese in a frying pan

  • Super flavourful. This definitely isn’t a boring meal! The flavours are rich and deep, with hints of umami.
  • Comforting and cosy. I always go back for seconds with this one!
  • Perfect for a weeknight dinner. Or any meal, to be honest. How about leftovers for breakfast?!
  • Gluten-free, as long as you use gluten-free pasta.
  • Oil-free.
  • Made with lots of vegetables. The vegetables are also hidden, making this great for picky eaters.
  • Easy.
  • Ready in under 25 minutes.

What you’ll need

Ingredients for vegan butternut squash mac and cheese

  • Gluten-free pasta of choice. Any pasta shape works for this recipe!
  • Butternut squash.
  • Carrot.
  • Garlic.
  • Extra-firm tofu. If you don’t have extra firm, use normal firm tofu but just make sure to press it beforehand by placing paper towels and a heavy object on top of it for around 10 minutes.
  • Tamari, which is a gluten-free soy sauce alternative. You can also use coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
  • Nutritional yeast.
  • Turmeric.
  • Cumin.
  • Curry powder.
  • Good-quality sea salt.
  • Cornstarch.
  • Red onion.
  • Plant based milk of your choice.
  • Kale, or another leafy green variety like spinach.

Macaroni pasta with kale in a large frying pan

How to make vegan butternut squash mac and cheese

Start by cooking your pasta according to instructions on packaging. This usually takes 10-15 minutes. At the same time, cook the butternut squash and carrots in a different saucepan, until softened, for around 15 minutes. When they are ready, drain and rinse everything.

Meanwhile, add a clove of garlic to a non-stick frying pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then add the crumbled tofu and tamari. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the tofu is starting to dry out and the tamari is absorbed.

Vegan cheese sauce in a blender

Add the cooked vegetables, tofu, nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, salt, cornstarch, onion, and plant based milk to a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth.

Pour the sauce into a non-stick frying pan. Heat it through for a couple of minutes before stirring in the kale and cooking for 2-3 minutes until it wilts down. Finally, add the pasta and stir through really well before serving.

Storing and freezing vegan mac and cheese

You can keep this meal in the fridge for 2-3 days, reheating as needed on the stove. This recipe is also freezer-friendly, so you can freeze it for up to 2 months. You can also freeze the sauce by itself in ice cube trays and use it across a whole range of different recipes!

Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu

Other amazing vegan pasta recipes

Let me know in the comments – what’s your favourite easy recipe? If you give this vegan butternut squash mac and cheese a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below!

Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu

Get the Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese

Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu and spinach! This flavourful whole food plant based recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes and is perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner. Nut-free, oil-free and gluten-free. 
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free macaroni pasta
  • 10 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 oz tofu, extra firm
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for cooking the tofu
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, (cornflour) or arrowroot
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 cups kale

Instructions 

  • Start by cooking your pasta according to instructions on packaging. This usually takes 10-15 minutes. At the same time, cook the butternut squash and carrots in a different saucepan, until softened, for around 15 minutes. When they are ready, drain and rinse everything. 
    Ingredients for vegan butternut squash mac and cheese
  • Meanwhile, add a clove of garlic to a non-stick frying pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then add the crumbled tofu and tamari. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the tofu is starting to dry out and the tamari is absorbed.
  • Add the cooked vegetables, tofu, nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, salt, cornstarch, onion, and plant based milk to a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth. 
    Vegan cheese sauce in a blender
  • Pour the sauce into a non-stick frying pan. Heat it through for a couple of minutes before stirring in the kale and cooking for 2-3 minutes until it wilts down. Finally, add the pasta and stir through really well before serving. 
    Kale and vegan cheese sauce in a frying pan

Video

Calories: 574kcal, Carbohydrates: 109g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 430mg, Potassium: 645mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 13888IU, Vitamin C: 58mg, Calcium: 227mg, Iron: 4mg

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Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu

Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese with tofu gluten-free Pinterest