Veggie Mac and Cheese has all of the flavors and velvety texture of your out of the box cheesy shells. With lots of carrots and butternut squash in the mix, you won't feel guilty feeding it to your kids (or eating it yourself)!
Happy Sunday, y'all! In Rehoboth Beach, DE, we received our first snowfall of the season! While we are only getting a few inches (if we are lucky), it sure looks pretty. My ideal snow day includes baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate and watching the snowfall from the couch. Unfortunately, I am doing none of that today. I am on a train to NYC for work where there will be more snow. I am hoping we get one more storm so I can relax and enjoy!
A few weeks ago, a girlfriend asked if I felt guilty feeding my son, whose now 14 months, unhealthy food. For the most, we eat pretty nutritious. My son gets lunch and a snack at daycare and those meals include fruits and vegetables So, I don't feel guilty giving him a slice of pizza, cake, or waffle every now and then. But that conversation stuck with me.
At least once a month, I will make a big pan of mac and cheese for the weekend. It is easy to heat up and kids and adults alike will devour it. Sometimes, I will toss some frozen peas in there to make myself feel better, but, lets be real, those peas are small and we aren't getting a full veggie serving with our mac and cheese. Creamy butternut squash pasta was all the rage (not sure if that is a thing when talking about mac and cheese) this fall. I thought to myself, why not incorporate this orange creamy vegetable into mac and cheese? I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Let's Cook! Veggie Mac and Cheese
To start, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium low. Add in chopped onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir the onions to prevent burning. Add minced garlic to the pot and stir for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Next up, add the carrots and butternut squash to the onion mixture. Sprinkle the vegetables with mustard powder, salt and pepper. Stir veggies to combine.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover pot and boil vegetables for 10-15 minutes until butternut squash is soft. While the vegetables are cooking, make the pasta according to box directions. Cook the pasta al dente as the pasta will continue to cook once combined wit the warm sauce. Once soft, turn heat down to low. Using the immersion blender carefully blend the vegetables until smooth. Alternatively, pour the vegetables into a blender and blend until smooth.
Once vegetables are smooth and creamy, add in the milk. I used whole milk but you can use whatever milk you have on hand. If you want a thicker mac and cheese, use half and half or add in some heavy whipping cream. Add in the cheese and stir to mix. I used 1 cup sharp cheddar and a half cup of gruyere. Use your favorite cheese here and add more if you are feeling naughty!
Once the vegetables, milk and cheese are combined add in your pasta. Now, I use traditional shells. I like that the sauce gets inside the shells and makes for a cheesier mac and cheese. Penne or rotini would be good options here!
It may seem like you have too much sauce when you add in the pasta. The sauce will thicken up as it sits. If you would like to thicken up the sauce and serve now, add a little flour. If not, serve warm and enjoy! This mac and cheese reheats great and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
If you make this mac and cheese and love it, please share on instagram @delmarvaliciousdishes and comment below!
Veggie Mac and Cheese
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup White Onions- Chopped (about half of a large onion)
- 2 Garlic Cloves- Minced
- 1 Butternut Squash- Chopped
- 4 Carrots- Peeled and Chopped
- 1 teaspoon Ground Yellow Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- 3 cup Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- 2 cup Whole Milk (could use any milk here)
- 1 ½ cup Shredded Cheese
- Pasta shells
- In a large soup pot, add extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium low.
- Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft.
- Add garlic and stir until fragrant ~ 30 seconds.
- Add in butternut squash and carrots.
- Season with salt, pepper, and ground yellow mustard. Stir to coat.
- Add broth and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover pot and let boil for 10-15 minutes (until squash is soft).
- While veggies are cooking, cook pasta according to box directions. Cook pasta more al dente as the pasta will continue to cook once mixed with vegetables. Turn heat down to low.
- Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, blend vegetables into a thick, smooth sauce. Do this carefully as the mixture will be hot.
- Once smooth, stir in milk and cheese.
- Add in cooked pasta and stir to combine. There may seem like the sauce is too runny. This will thicken up as the pasta cools.