Being dairy-free, one of the things I miss most is a big bowl of mac & cheese. While you can never replace ooey-gooey cheese completely, this Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Broccoli is insanely delicious. It's hard to stop after just one bowl! Also, there just isn't anything to call it other than mac & cheese, but don't be surprised that there is no cheese here!
As always, I do include a few affiliate links in this post for products I truly use and love. This just means that if you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I'll earn a little money (at no cost to you) to keep the kitchen up and running, which I promise to use to create more fun content like this! One of those affiliates is with Amazon, which requires a very clear disclosure: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about affiliates, please reach out!
Ingredients you'll need
- Butternut squash: you'll need a generous 2 cups of butternut squash for this recipe (a little more, a little less, go for it!)
- Broccoli: use as much or as little as you like. I find that 1-2 broccoli crowns is the right amount. Also, roasting the broccoli until it's nicely browned and crisp is key -- the texture is so great!
- Nutritional yeast: this is where the recipe gets its umami flavor (no cheese, right?)
- Raw cashews: the cashews give the sauce a nice buttery texture. Make sure they're raw and unsalted.
- Dried pasta: A noodle with a lot of surface area is best to hold the sauce. I like to use elbows or Cellentani (spirals). But of course, any kind of pasta will work!
- Garlic cloves: no need to chop or mince them since they'll be going in the blender
- Dijon mustard: just a bit for the sauce!
- Lemon juice: for a bit of zing
- A few pantry staples including onion powder, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.
Equipment you'll need to get started
Nothing, crazy, really! A few things that I like to use:
- Cuisinart Blender from Amazon: you don't need a fancy blender or food processor for this. You'll be able to make the sauce in a regular blender!
- Nordic Ware Baking Sheets from Amazon: for roasting the butternut squash and broccoli
- The Dutchess from Great Jones: I like to cook my pasta in a Dutch oven, but you could use any kind of pot for your pasta.
Making the sauce
First, you'll roast the butternut squash. You don't need to brown it necessarily, but you do need it to be very soft and tender (for blending). You'll then combine the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add some additional water (could also be pasta water!) to reach your desired consistency. Remember that the sauce will thicken as it cools, so a little extra liquid is a good thing here.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't like broccoli - do I have to add it?
You could always leave it out! I think it really adds great flavor and texture, but if it's not for you, then that's ok!
How should I store leftovers?
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days. The sauce will thicken quite a bit and lose its liquidity, but it'll still be delicious!
Do I need to use the nutritional yeast?
I definitely recommend it. Nutritional yeast gives a great umami flavor that you lose (by not using cheese) and it really adds something here.
Below is my recipe for Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Broccoli. I hope you love it!
Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Broccoli
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups butternut squash peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
- 2 crowns broccoli cut into florets
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 1 lb. dried pasta such as elbows or cellentani
- 2 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on your level of spice
- Flaky sea salt for topping
- Ground black pepper for topping
- Add the cashews to a small bowl and cover with hot water. These will soak while you prep and roast the vegetables.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Toss to combine and spread the squash into an even layer.
- Repeat with the broccoli on a separate baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to combine and spread into an even layer.
- Add both baking sheets to the oven. Bake squash for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway, until tender. Bake broccoli for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway, until crispy. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, set aside, and keep your pot on the stovetop (you'll use it later).
To make the sauce
- Once the butternut squash is roasted, add it to a blender with 2 cups water, soaked cashews (drained), garlic cloves, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, dijon mustard, onion powder, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Blend approximately 2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Add more water, if needed, to reach your desired consistency. Remember the sauce will thicken as it cools.
To assemble your dish
- Pour the blended sauce back into the pasta pot. Add the drained noodles and half of the roasted broccoli. Stir to combine and coat. Transfer to bowls and top with additional roasted broccoli, flaky sea salt, and black pepper.