Chopped chives being sprinkled on a bowl of creamy vegan butternut squash mac and "cheese"

Almost Vegan Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheese”

  • Author: Nicole Cutchall
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


A creamy alternative to traditional mac and cheese! This vegan mac and “cheese” gets a “cheesy” flavor from nutritional yeast, a creamy texture from butternut squash, and a kick of heat from jalapenos. 



  • 5 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup minced shallot
  • 1/4 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • small bunch chives, minced (optional for garnish)
  • 2 cups cashew milk – see note
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided + 1/8 tsp
  • 1 lb medium shell pasta


  1. In a medium saucepan combine squash, cashew milk, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 12-14 minutes until the squash is fork tender. Stir occasionally to make sure the squash does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
  3. Remove squash from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Once boiling, salt the water and add the medium shells. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  5. Combine the cooked squash and cashew milk in a blender with the nutritional yeast, dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Blend until smooth.
  6. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add in the shallot, jalapeno, and garlic, and 1/8 tsp kosher salt; cook 3-5 minutes until soft.
  7. Add the blended squash mixture to the saucepan with the sauteed veggies. Cook 5-10 minutes to thicken slightly.
  8. Add the sauce to the drained, cooked pasta. Mix to combine. Garnish with chives to serve.


  • I made this recipe with homemade cashew milk, which is not as finely strained as store bought. The sediment that can linger in homemade cashew milk helps to thicken the sauce. You can substitute store bought cashew milk, but may need to simmer the sauce longer so it thickens.
  • To make homemade cashew milk, cover 1 cup of cashews with water and soak overnight. Drain cashews; add to a blender with 4 cups of water, and blend under completed pureed. Drain cashew milk through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve to remove most of the lingering sediment. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Shake well before using.
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: butternut squash, vegan, jalapenos, mac and cheese, creamy, nutritional yeast, cashew milk, meat free, dairy free, pasta, shallots