This Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. This Mac and Cheese is also gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, oil free and peanut free. It is the perfect creamy and delicious Fall Mac and Cheese for anyone who can not have dairy.
Vegans and people with dairy allergies (like myself) can all relate to craving a creamy cheesy pasta dish. Especially when the cold weather hits, those comfort foods sound too good. That’s why this Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese is so perfect. It is creamy and rich making it the perfect vegan comfort food. Even my husband (who can have dairy) liked the cream sauce. The acorn squash really adds to the flavor and creamy texture, and even better it adds great nutrients. You and your family will love to cozy up with a bowl of this Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese this Fall and Winter.
How to Create a Creamy “Cheesy” Texture
The main star of this dish is the soaked cashews. That’s what really brings the creamy texture to this Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese. When you soak cashews in water they become very soft to the touch. Cashews are already a very “creamy” nut. When you eat a handful of cashews you will notice they have a very buttery taste and texture. Soaking them just takes that a step further. The combination of soaked cashews with water produces an amazing creamy sauce that really resembles a dairy-full cream sauce.
The co-star so to speak of this dish is the acorn squash. While the soaked cashews and water can make a creamy “cheese” sauce all by themselves, the squash takes it to the next level. The roasted acorn squash blends up beautifully with the cashews and water producing a silky thick cream sauce for your Vegan Mac and Cheese. Plus the acorn squash adds that delicious warm Fall flavor that we all love this time of year.
Creating a “Cheesy” Flavor for Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese
If you have been a vegan or dairy free for any significant amount of time I’m sure you have heard of nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is an amazing thing. It has a very rich savory flavor. When used in certain recipes it really does add a “cheesy” taste.
The other seasoning I like to add to create a “cheesy” flavor is smoked paprika. While smoked paprika does not taste like cheese on its own, it really does add something to this recipe. The rich smokey flavors play so nice with the savory nutritional yeast. I can’t really tell you why it’s so perfect, but just trust me, it is.
I hope you and your family enjoy this Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese. I know I loved it and even Trevor my cheese eating husband enjoyed it. It’s the perfect warm and cozy Fall recipe for any vegan or person with a dairy allergy.
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Vegan Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup roasted acorn squash - 1 large acorn squash should be enough for 1 cup
- 6 ounces gluten free pasta - regular pasta can be used as well
- 3/4 cup soaked cashews - soak cashews in a bowl of water for at least 5 hours then drain and rinse
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt - add more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper - add more or less to taste
Preparing the Acorn Squash
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut your acorn squash in half and place in a baking dish with the cut side face down and the skin facing up. Pour water into the pan until it goes up about 1/4 of an inch. The water ensures that your pan will not burn and also speeds up the cooking process for the squash.
- Bake the acorn squash for about 35-45 minutes depending on how large the squash is. When it is done baking it should be fork tender. Carefully remove from the pan and flip so the cut side is facing up. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon or fork and throw out or save for toasting at a later time.
- You can let your squash cool and place in the fridge until you are ready to use in your mac and cheese recipe. When you are ready to use your squash scrape out the squash "meat" from the skin until you have the right amount (a bit more or less will not hurt the recipe if you want to use up everything you baked).
Making the Mac and Cheese
- Cook your pasta in a pot according to package instructions. Once it is done cooking then drain and rinse.
- In a high powered blender, blend your soaked cashews, water, squash, and all of your seasonings until smooth and creamy.
- Add your pasta and your sauce to a medium-sized pan or pot and cook over medium heat stirring frequently for about 6 minutes or until heated up. Heating the pasta with the sauce helps bring out the flavors in the sauce and allows the pasta to meld with the sauce.
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