Squash ‘N Mac ‘N Cheese!

First off, I want to thank each and every one of you for the awesome comments that you all left me for my 1st blogiversary. You are all so incredibly nice to me, I can’t even begin to tell you just how deeply touched I am. You ARE my inspiration, all of you. I couldn’t have asked for a better blogiversary, really! (although sadly, it looks like TS didn’t care for my cake and rejected my submission, which saddened me a little… Rejection is never easy, especially not when it’s something that you are really proud of that gets rejected. But hey, there will be others!)

You see, my mostest ultimatest favorite thing about blogging is hearing from you guys! This, to me, is what makes it all worthwhile: to know that I am making a difference, to know that there are others like me out there who appreciate good, healthy food, and to get the impression that I am having some sort of an impact on other people’s lives and health.

And of course, the fact that I get to meet all kinds of fantastic people. That just can’t be beat. You guys are the best followers in the whole wide world! For real!

Thank you all so very much, from the bottom of my heart. I really wish I could send a gift card to each and every one of you. And a piece of cake to sample! ;) (btw, if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, there’s still time to do it! Winners will be announced on Friday!)

Now, today’s recipe was inspired to me by a fellow Canadian blogger who also happened to have her blogiversary yesterday: the very beautiful and extremely talented Angela, over at Oh She Glows.

I had heard many times of using natural yeast as a replacement for cheese in sauces and really meant to give it a try, eventually. However, when I saw that Angela had combined it with pumpkin, that “eventually” status just changed to “immediately”.

I happened to have some cooked buttercup squash in the fridge that I had made with the intent of revisiting my stuffed squash recipe, but I kind of forgot them in the oven, so they were  too cooked to be used for that purpose. Bah, no big deal, I simply changed my plans for that night, scooped out the flesh, mashed it and put it in the fridge, thinking I would find a way to use it, eventually.

And then I remembered Angela’s recipe. That’s how I was going to use the squash! I used it instead of the pumpkin puree that the original recipe called for.

I’ll be honest with you, I made this recipe twice in the same week. Hey, I had LOTS of squash, ok? ;)

But that wasn’t the only reason. The dish turned out to be REALLY good, and I didn’t mind eating it 2 times in a row. The first time, I used spinach instead of broccoli, and it was amazing. However, I found that I wanted a little more sauce than the recipe had to offer, so I doubled the quantity the second time. Oh, and, I also added a tiny little bit of sharp cheddar, for a more cheezy taste.

The verdict? This is a definite winner!

While no mac and cheese can ever be as creamy as the real, fully loaded with full of full fat cheeses mac and cheese, this one is still very creamy and tasty, it does have a nice cheesy taste and feel to it, and the addition of walnuts gives it a great crunch, which you all know I am a big fan of!

Tell you what… it’s about 3 million times better than the blue boxed stuff, and if you’re going to use canned pumpkin puree, it probably takes about the same time to make.

The choice is a no brainer, really! ;)

SQUASH ‘N MAC N CHEESE
(Adapted from Oh She Glows)

INGREDIENTS
(serves 4)

  • 300g whole wheat macaroni
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets (or 150g fresh  baby spinach leaves)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 cups buttercup squash, cooked and mashed (feel free to sub any variety of squash, or even canned pumpkin puree)
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • ½ cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Nutritional Food Yeast
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 150g sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g walnuts, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. When pasta is cooked, throw in broccoli florets (if using), let stand for 30 seconds and strain.
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook until onion becomes translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add squash, milk, yogurt, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, half the cheddar, paprika and nutmeg. Whisk delicately until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  5. Stir in cooked noodles, broccoli or spinach leaves, and walnuts.
  6. Transfer to oven safe dish, sprinkle rest of cheddar cheese on top and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese melts and starts to turn golden.
  7. Turn the oven broil and broil until cheese reaches desired color.


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Comments

  1. says

    I always try to sneak some veggies into my mac n’ cheese too – it lessens the guilt factor! Love your additions of walnuts and nutritional yeast – very healthy mac n’ cheese indeed! Congrats on the one year anniversary!

  2. Rebecca K. says

    This looks SO good!! I’m definitely going to add to the dinner menu next week. I’m so glad I happened across your site – I think I made my way from Pinterest of all places!! Someone pinned a photo and I came back to get the recipe. I just made the detox cauliflower salad, and it was delicious in a very different kind of way, lol! Thank you for sharing these recipes and gorgeous photos!! As a photog myself, I’d love to know what gear you use :)

    • says

      Thanks Rebecca, I truly appreciate. Isn’t Pinterest amazing? I am totally, completely hooked! And always honored to see my pictures pinned on there! :) As for the gear that I use, it’s pretty standard: an old Canon Rebel XT, equipped with a 50mm f1/8 II lens, most of the time. Nothing fancy! ;)

  3. says

    That looks so delicious :D I’ve been a bit nervous to try a nutritional yeast mac and cheese, but I’m so curious about it. It really does look good, especially with squash and then covered in real cheese. I think I need to give it a try pretty soon, maybe I’ll just try half a recipe at first or something :)

    • says

      I think you’ll regret it if you only make half the recipe! This is seriously good, espcecially with the addition of sharp cheddar. You’ll have to get busy making more as soon as you’re done eating! ;) What is it that makes you nervous about trying nutritional yeast?

  4. says

    I wonder if I can sneak this one by my husband and son–might give it a try! Looks delicious as always! I laughed when I read the bit about ts rejecting your photos (you were totally robbed by the way!) because they have rejected more of mine than accepted by at least two thirds. It does push me to be a better photographer and stylist which I appreciate, but it still stings (a lot!) every time they reject me! I realized after the fact that when I commented on the cake I never said what I would buy if I won the card–duh….COOKBOOKS! Like I need more but I can’t help myself–it’s a sickness with me! But there are worse vices than that I guess! ha ha!
    Mellissa

    • says

      Aww, thanks Mellissa! You know, what I hate the most about being turned down by TS is they never tell you why. Their comment is always the same, no matter what: compostion. If at least, they told us what it is that they didn’t like about the photo, it would make the pill that much easier to swallow!

      And I am totally with you on cookbooks! They are so, so very addictive, and one can never have too many. If only they didn’t take up that much space… ;)

  5. says

    Ummm we ARE twins!!! I made a baked squash n pasta dish several days ago and haven’t gotten around to posting or uploading the photos and recipe yet!! WE MUST HAVE THE SAME CRAVINGS! Crazy huh? You recipe is a little different that mine but it’s still pretty similar!!! You’ll see and compare ingredient when I post :) Toooo funny!

    I totally feel ya one being disappointed when you are turned down for foodgawker, tastespotting etc on recipes that you are proud of!!! The cake photos should NOT have been rejected – total mistake on their part!

    • says

      I can’t believe it. We are definitely blog twin sisters! I can’t wait to see your version! :)
      Thanks for your kind words re: TS turning me down (again!) They are not liking me lately, they’ve also turned down my Mac ‘N Cheese.
      Oh well, at least my followers still like me! :D

  6. says

    That looks so wonderfully delicious and a nice, hearty winter meal. I love how it incorporates (more) veggies into a mac n’ cheese. Also, your individual ramekins are a nice touch!

  7. j♕jump♕jennifer says

    We just finished dinner. And all I have to say is THANNNNK YOUUUUUU. The Squashy Mac n Cheese was INCREDIBLE and CREAMY and CRUNCHY and I just can’t say enough good things about this recipe!. My son who DOES NOT eat a thing just ate an entire bowl. He still doesn’t know that he ate walnuts or butternut squash….and I only added one thing…. I had some extra Ciabatta bread left over from lunch ( and I’ll get to THAT in my next comment) so I ended up grinding the walnuts with the bread and my entire family just thought it was a crunchy bread topping! I just can’t rave enough about this recipe! Thanks again!

    • says

      WOOHOO! That is like music to my ears! I am just thrilled. When healthy food passes the “kids” test, that’s just the best. Thank you for your great feedback Jennifer, I am truly happy that you and your family enjoyed this healthy Mac n Cheese. :D

  8. Erin says

    You post so often I can’t keep up! TS is just silly sometimes. They’ve rejected submissions that FS didn’t, which went on to be on their “most popular” page. And those birthday cake pictures of yours were beautiful (happy anniversary!). It’s just stupid and maddening. Whenever I get rejected, I go and look at what was just approved. Often there will be a pretty bad picture on the first or second page and then I roll my eyes at TS and then feel better, knowing that their standards are whack. Seriously, on one of the pages right now, there are 4 pictures that I just can’t believe they approved. I don’t feel like my pictures are very good, but it’s still aggravating when they approve obviously horrible pictures.

    • says

      I so hear you Erin. It’s hard to keep up with all the blogs that we like to follow! I too, have a very hard time sometimes. Then I end up commenting like a week after the initial post… And about TS, like I said, the thing that bugs me the most is they don’t even have the decency to tell you WHY they rejected your entry… FG do give you a decent reason, always!

  9. Claudia says

    Hey Sonia, I’d really like to make this recipe later this week but I’m wondering if I can substitute the yeast for something else? As I’ve become a faithful follower of your recipes, I’ve been purchasing a lot of new and healthier ingredients, and it looks like my grocery budget has gotten its butt kicked…so just wondering if I can avoid the extra cost/time for searching for this new ingredient and substitue for something else.
    I don’t have any food allergies and I’m not vegan or anything, so I’m pretty open to any suggestions. It seems like this yeast just has a lot of nutritional benefits for people that can’t get them from other natural products.

    • says

      Glad to hear you’ve been including healthier ingredients in your diet, Claudia! Technically, the nutritional yeast shouldn’t be too hard to find or kick your budget too hard in the butt, but you can safely omit it if you don’t have any handy. To me, what the yeast does is give the dish a bit of a cheesy flavour as well as up the protein content some. But I’m sure it would be equally good without, or you could also sub a little bit of Greek yogurt or light cream cheese, maybe, or even goat cheese, why not? ;)

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