Low Fat Vegan Baked Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

by on October 11, 2012

Low Fat Vegan Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Vegan Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is one of my faaaaavorite recipes in my new ebook. I make it quite often for my friends and family and it’s super pretty to serve with the panko topping and red and green spices on top.

This is one of my favorite recipes I created for my cookbook

Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World 3D

And the winner of my new ebook Vegan Comfort Foods From Around the World is…..


Congratulations Missy! You will receive a copy of my new recipe ebook Comfort Foods From Around The World.

Now on to my delicious recipe of the week… This one was mentioned numerous times by you guys as one you just HAD to have. So I’m giving you a sneak peek this week before my ebook goes on sale next week.

A delicious vegan mac and cheese recipe can be quite elusive to find. I had actually never eaten vegan mac and cheese until I started playing around with recipes and made one myself. But later whenever I saw vegan mac and cheese while traveling around Canada and the USA I tried some because I was curious what other people had come up with. Generally speaking it’s not that special. Most vegetarian restaurants serve macaroni tossed in oil and a bit of seasoning and then top it with fake (vegan) cheese and then bake it and you end up with a slightly greasy, fairly salty overcooked macaroni that leaves much to be desired. I have yet to be impressed.

I think what makes a great mac and cheese regardless if it’s vegan or not is having some actual cheese sauce in it. All of these vegetarian restaurants skipped this essential part! (I am still baffled as to why they would do this, when classic recipes always have a cheese sauce.)

My vegan mac and cheese recipe actually doesn’t contain any oil or fake vegan cheese at all. I wanted the “cheese” sauce to be amazing and give all the flavour to this classic casserole dish without the need for high fat vegan cheese. I’ve even served this to my mom’s friends and they had NO IDEA that it was vegan or that it didn’t contain cheese. Needless to say whenever I am cooking for people who are skeptical of vegan food this is one of my top 3 go to dishes. (My others are Quinoa Veggie Chilli and Greek Stuffed Peppers which are also in my Comfort Foods From Around The World recipe ebook).

What I love about using squash in the cheese sauce is that it’s a natural thickener because of the high starch content, that way you can easily create a thick creamy sauce without any extra oil or fat and it holds it together nicely.

The 2 essential ingredients for flavoring this recipe would be miso paste and smoked paprika. Miso paste is what gives this sauce a really cheesy flavor, because it’s fermented and tangy. (Nutritional yeast also helps, but you need the miso paste for it to taste like cheese.) My favorite is Genmai brown rice miso paste, you can find it at the health food store in the refrigerated section near the tofu and fake meat products. I have tried using different miso pastes like white (shiro) and yellow miso but they are much milder and I found I had to add a lot more to my recipes. So keep this in mind if you use a different kind of miso paste and use as much as you feel you need when taste testing your sauce. The other ingredient is smoked paprika, I think this is a vast improvement over regular paprika (which I never liked as a child) and I like to include it in any recipes that I’d like a nice mild smokey flavor to. Plus it’s absolutely gorgeous for sprinkling on top of recipes as you can see as well. So do try and find smoked paprika, once you do you’ll want to put it on everything! (and of course check Amazon if you can’t find it locally.)

I know this is recipe is one you’re going to want to make for your family again and again because it’s delicious, yet light. It has all the decadence of mac and cheese without the guilt or the excess calories and you easily serve it with a side salad or steamed vegetable like broccoli to make an even more balanced meal.

Low Fat Vegan Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This is by far the BEST vegan mac and cheese I’ve ever had (and I’ve tried a lot). It’s so good that all your vegan and omnivore friends will be begging you to make it again and again. And best of all it is very low in fat and much healthier than the original classic.

Vegan Baked Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

from Comfort Foods From Around The World

Serves 6


½ medium butternut squash (or 1 2/3 cups cooked and mashed)
16 oz/454 g package elbow macaroni or spirals (for GF use Tinkyada brown rice pasta for best results)
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt (*optional for pasta)
1/2-3/4 cup vegetable broth (for cooking)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. brown rice miso (use more if using shiro/white/yellow miso)
3 cups almond milk (unsweetened original)
2 tbsp. flour or cornstarch
3/4-cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2-1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2-3/4 tsp. salt (*optional for sauce)

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (or GF)
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika


1. Peel and cube the butternut squash and bring to a boil and steam just until soft. Alternatively you can cook in a pressure cooker at high pressure for 5-7 minutes. Drain well. (Tip, if your squash is hard to peel or cut, pop it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften the skin to make it easier to slice.) Measure out 1 2/3 cup of mashed squash and set aside.

2. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil and then add salt if desired. Add pasta and cook just before tender. Generally it’s about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander and rinse in cold water. (Do not overcook the pasta.)

3. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 177 C.

4. In a large saucepan heat vegetable broth over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender adding broth when needed to prevent burning.

5. Add cooked onions and any remaining broth from pan into Vitamix or food processor, add mashed squash and miso and blend until combined. Set aside

6. In the same large saucepan add 1 cup of the almond milk and sprinkle 1 tbsp. of the flour or cornstarch when hot and whisk in. Add the remaining 2 cups of milk and sprinkle in another tbsp. of flour. Whisk this together fast. It’s ok if there are a few small bits of flour still.

7. Cook the sauce for a minute or two until hot and quickly add the squash mixture and whisk in. Heat through another minute or two and then add the nutritional yeast and whisk in. Turn off heat and add remaining seasonings starting with the lower amounts. Taste test and add additional seasonings to your liking.

8. Add drained pasta to sauce pot and stir to coat. Spread out in a casserole dish. (If you want to add some vegan cheese like Daiya cheese you would layer some in now and mix it in, but I don’t feel the need to add it personally.) Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over top. Sprinkle basil, oregano and paprika to cover.

9. Bake for 20-30 minutes just until pasta is tender. (20 minutes if you slightly overcooked your pasta, 30 minutes if you didn’t)

10. Serve with steamed broccoli or a green salad.

Additional Tips:

To save time you can use frozen cubed butternut squash and then cook it and mash it, or use canned butternut squash. Both are sold at health food stores in North America.

Smoked paprika (also called Spanish Paprika) is much more flavourful than traditional paprika, it lends a nice smokey flavor to this cheesy sauce. McCormick makes one, or you can get it at some ethnic or Indian markets.

To reheat you will want to either microwave it and then toast it in the oven or toaster oven to crisp up the breadcrumbs again, or just reheat in the oven until warm.

Low Fat Vegan Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

 What do you think of this recipe? Have you ever tried vegan mac and cheese before?

This is just 1 of 60 other delicious recipes in my new recipe ebook Comfort Foods From Around The World. It’s going to be released shortly, so make sure you are subscribed to my mailing list to keep up to date on it’s release!

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Liz May 18, 2015 at 5:30 PM

Hi Veronica,
Just made your Mac and cheese casserole and I’m waiting for it to come out of the oven. I did put daiya cheese in the middle ( next time I’ ll see) and I was so excited to taste I took a spoonful before its done ha! WOW! SO delicious!! Only thing I was a little confused is the veg broth and onions & miso after you blend, you said to set aside. ( it didn’t say to add back in?) so I figured you a add that back in, in the large saucepan after you mix the sauce and pasta? I hope so because that is what I did ha! mine might be a tad liquidy but I did use 2 cups organic Summer Squash…can you use less broth?
I will let you know update! I absolutely Love your website & plan on buying you comfort foods vegan cookbook!!
Thank you so much for sharing and all you do!!
A huge fan
PS this is my very first reciepe by you! :))


2 Deanna October 25, 2014 at 3:39 AM

Love your site!
Wanted to try your Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms and Spinach – can the wine be replaced or left out?
Thank you for your time!


3 Veronica Grace October 27, 2014 at 9:06 PM

You can leave it out, or use a touch of rice wine vinegar and a little liquid sweetener or honey, it just ads to the tanginess of the recipe.


4 Louise February 23, 2014 at 5:38 AM

Thank you for your inspiration and effort!


5 Jamie February 10, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Just made this for dinner! SOOO delicious! I couldn’t find brown miso at Whole Foods, so I added 4 tsp of white instead. I will probably add 5 tsp of white next time. Even so, this is so healthy, satisfying, and doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. Try it with the brown rice pasta, it tastes just the same as normal elbow macaroni! ??


6 Meaghan October 21, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Hey love your recipes! I really appreciate you taking the time to nurture this page and our health! I was wondering if using soy milk in this recipe would make a huge difference as my partner is anti-almond?
Thanks so much!


7 Veronica Grace October 21, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Should be fine but might tastes like soy, i just dont like the taste of soymilk so i use almond milk instead, you can sub another plant milk if you want as well.


8 Sara Cervantes September 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM

My boyfriend is a Type I Diabetic and he really wants to try your Dr. Fuhrman Eat to Live diet because he wants to lose like 30 pounds and maybe get off his Blood Pressure meds. I on the other hand, want to lose like 50 lbs. but realistically should lose like 200 lbs., but feel that I would not be happy with the lose skin or anything like that. I also DO NOT want to give up meat or dairy. We are at a stand-still. HELP!



9 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica September 15, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Please read Dr Fuhrman’s book Eat To Live. You will find it a great inspiration. Unless you starved yourself i doubt you will get loose skin. If you just walk and do a little bit of toning and eat dr fuhrmans plan you will lose weight gradually. I know lots of people who have done this and dont end up with loose skin. Loose skin still has fat underneath it. So if you continue to tone a little bit it will shrink back. Its also far more dangerous to remain 200lbs overweight than to be worried about a potential for loose skin. Diabetes, cancer and heart disease are a serious concern.

If you give it a chance and give it a good effort to learn how to create fuhrman style meals and use recipes on my site and some others you will be doing well. You have to believe in yourself and see yourself succeed! Best of luck. Keep up your inspiration


10 Diane August 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Hi Veronica,
I have some Red Miso but not brown. Would that be the same or should I try and find some brown Miso? Thanks, Diane


11 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM

I dont know how it will turn out with red miso brown is the best for a fermented cheezy flavor.


12 Sue August 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Recipe with broccoli and mushrooms was yummilicious! Thanks Veronica 🙂


13 Sue August 3, 2013 at 12:20 PM

I wasn’t able to find the nutritional breakdown for this recipe or for the broccoli and mushroom version of the butternut squash Mac n cheese. Could you please tell me total Cal and total fat grams per serving. I maybe somewhat hypervigilant- but 3 cups of almond milk seems like a lot of fat…granted plant based not animal. Thanks!! Btw my hubby and I are making this tonight for dinner and were wondering g while doing the prep.


14 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 5, 2013 at 9:49 PM

It’s very similar to my original Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheezy which has nutritional info. I do that for my books, but not all my blog recipes. It does take a lot of time. Almond milk is generally only 40 calories per cup and 3-4 grams of fat. So 9-12 grams of fat for the almond milk in the entire recipe, as the only source of fat with 6 servings of pasta and veggies it’s not a high fat recipe at all.

Most Mac & cheese recipes have milk, butter and cheese in them and are very high in fat. My recipes are not.


15 celine June 10, 2013 at 2:02 AM

this was absolutely amazing ! love your recipes


16 Staci June 1, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Made this last night and we all loved it! The smoky paprika really makes the dish. Creamy, rich, and satisfying. I had never used brown rice pasta before; I was very pleased with it. I was thinking that next time I might add mushrooms and broccoli, but I see on the site that you’ve already done that… 🙂


17 Al April 1, 2013 at 9:47 AM

I made this!!!! I am happy with the results. However, I think I put too much squash in it :). None the less healthy creamy and delicious!!!
I am amazed with what we can make and keep it low-fat vegan. I have been feeling and looking so much better since I embrased low-fat vegan eating. What a revelation. Veronica, keep up the good work that you are doing for all of us. Blessings!!


18 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 1, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I’m glad you enjoyed it. How did you put too much squash in it? Was it not like a cheese sauce and too thick? I always mash it and then measure it out. Even having up to 1 and 3/4 of a cup of mashed squash should be fine. I find blending it helps.


19 RJKenna March 1, 2013 at 9:46 AM

My absolute favorite Mac & Yease can be at a tiny vegan restaurant in Tacoma, WA called Quickie Too! It’s a little party in your mouth of comfort food. Probably not low in fat but its not swimming in it either. I’ll have to make this recipe and compare. 🙂


20 Geraldine Doughty December 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Dear Veronica: I have very severe heartburn. Do you have a recipe for a salad dressing that does not contain any type of spices including items such as garlic, ginger, vinegar, tomatoes, citrus. Most of your recipes contain things I can not use. Please send suggestions. Thanking you, Geraldine Doughty


21 Con November 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM

just made this, had no miso but it was still good! Very filling too.


22 Renita October 27, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Just made this and you are right…the best vegan mac and cheese hands down! I didn’t even have the brown rice miso, I use a lower sodium yellow because of a salt restriction; it was still excellent!


23 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 29, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s definitely one of my favorite recipes. 🙂


24 Lorna October 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

This recipe is great, very very delicious. I made it on Sunday and today is Wednesday and so far I had it each day for lunch and will tomorrow and Friday also. I shared the recipe with two other friends. I had a friend at work tastes what I took for lunch and she absolutely loves it and will be making it for family members that will be visiting. Thanks for sharing Veronica.

Also, to mention – your beet smoothie is great – juce of beets blended with mango, bananas and strawberry. I make it alot and absolutely enjoy it.


25 RK October 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I made this today and it was a great success! I added more brown rice miso, as I wanted a stronger flavor. I also didn’t have smoked paprika and instead used regular paprika. Still it was delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipes, Veronica!


26 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 17, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I’m glad you had the brown rice miso! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂


27 Stephanie F-T October 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM

SO good!!! I used 5 tsp white miso and it wasn’t really salty/tangy, but delish none the less. I will try it with brown rice miso next time. Thanks for a great recipe!


28 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Hi Stephanie

Yes white miso is NOT the same. I have made this once with white miso and it did not taste like cheese. This is why I am very specific about brown rice miso, it’s much stronger and tangier, so definitely try it again. 🙂


29 Kathleen October 14, 2012 at 10:34 PM

I fixed this dish yesterday. All I told my husband was that it was a macaroni casserole with a sauce made from butternut squash. He enjoyed the dish very much. His said he couldn’t place the flavor and he kept trying to pin down what it tasted like. He enjoyed it very much and his final summary was that it was “Comfort Food”!! I am also not sure that it tasted like macaroni and cheese, but it sure was yummy.


30 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 15, 2012 at 1:28 AM

Hi Kathleen I’m glad your husband liked it. If it doesn’t taste cheezy enough add more miso paste for the tang.

Most vegan mac and cheese recipes use fake cheese or oil, so I wanted to create a healthier version that still had a creamy tangy sauce.

Also remember cheese is EXTREMELY salty, so you may have used a milder miso paste, or needed more salt in it to taste more like cheese. I know that happened once when I used yellow miso instead of brown rice miso, it wasn’t cheezy and salty enough.


31 Kay October 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Hey Veronica,

My family and I loved the recipe. It tasted more like a stroganoff, though (as far as the name), and I kept thinking how good it would taste with mushrooms–so you’ve got me excited to experiment. Also, do you think it would be alright to try with corn elbows? I try to choose corn/potatoes over grains whenever possible.

And the garlic was listed in the ingredients, but I didn’t see it in the instructions, so I added it in with the onions? It tasted fine in the end!


32 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 15, 2012 at 1:26 AM

Hi Kay

I’m not sure why it would taste like stroganaff… that’s usually got beef and mushrooms in it, and this has nutritional yeast and miso for the cheezy flavour in the sauce.

I have made this with elbow macaroni and spirals. When I made it with the picture i was out.

But actually I use Tinkyada brown rice pasta quite often when making this so my celiac friends can have it too. I think brown rice pasta would have a little more nutrition than corn pasta. Corn is still a grain, it’s just a non glutinous grain, just like rice. I really don’t like using corn pasta as it’s quite thin and falls apart when baked. You can try it but don’t boil it for very long.

Thanks for mentioning the garlic. I will edit that in the book.


33 Marky October 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us. This was one of the recipes I had requested and I will definitely give this one a try!


34 Colie October 12, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Hello Veronica,
I was out of town and missed the opportunity to post for the free ebook nevertheless my favourites from your ebook will be:
*Black Bean And Corn Tacos
* Cauliflower Potato Tofu Frittata
* Fettuccini Alfredo With Mushrooms And Spinach
* Herbed Lentil Loaf
* Holiday Stuffed Acorn Squash
* Yam And French Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
* Spicy Mexican Black Bean Burgers
* Rainbow Nachos with Queso Sauce
* Indian Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)
* Deluxe Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
These are the recipes I’m going to work with one at a time from your ebook Comfort Foods From Around The World they look yummy and the ingredients are all healthy, and good for you too, can’t wait to try them. Plaease hit me up when your ebook is ready. Love you Lady “V”, you are the best and I will keep you posted.


35 Carla October 11, 2012 at 5:26 PM

I love regular mac & cheese, but I don’t eat it very often.
This is a much healthier version.
Thank you so much, I definitely have to try this.
Hope I can find the brown miso.


36 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 11, 2012 at 8:00 PM

You can find brown rice miso at the health food store in the tofu section, at Asian/Chinese markets, and on Amazon of course.


37 Em October 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Thanks for sharing this recipe, Veronica – it was definitely one of my favourites from your book.

I’ve never actually had Mac and Cheese – vegan or otherwise – but have always thought it would be something I’d have loved.

Thanks for the tip re the miso paste – v useful to know:)


38 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica October 11, 2012 at 8:01 PM

You would love this, it’s very creamy without the fat and very delicious yet light.


39 Alice Herrin October 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Looks like yummy comfort food. The ingredients are all healthy, and good for you too.
can’t wait to try it.


40 Elaine October 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM

just figured out that GF means gluten free (saw your tags!)


41 Elaine October 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM

looks good. what do you mean by GF?


42 Karen October 11, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Sounds delicious. Can’t wait to try it.


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