Plant-Based Butternut Mac and Cheese

This creamy — and vegan — macaroni and cheese gets a tangy kick from nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice.

Mac and cheese

Makes six servings
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour


  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs. avocado oil
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 lb. brown-rice macaroni, or other pasta of choice
  • 1/2 cup minced almonds or panko breadcrumbs


Place the raw cashews in a heat-safe bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish.

In a large skillet, warm the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash and onion, and cook until the vegetables start to sizzle, about two minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the garlic, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the vegetables cool slightly.

Place the drained cashews in a blender with the nondairy milk, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, salt, paprika, and turmeric. Add the cooled vegetables and blend to create a smooth sauce.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni for half the time given on the package directions, about four to five minutes. Drain well. Return to the pot, add the sauce, and stir until combined.
Scrape the macaroni into the oiled baking dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the minced almonds or breadcrumbs, and bake, uncovered, until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before serving.

is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer and cookbook author.

Photography by: Andrea D’Agosto; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman

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