Healthy Mac and Cheese

A Healthy Mac and Cheese recipe so creamy and cheesy, you’ll never guess the sauce is mostly butternut squash! This one is worth trying.

January isn’t over yet! In the spirit of converting my favorite comfort foods to something I can comfortably eat more often, I’m proud to present to you this Healthy Mac and Cheese.

I got the idea from Martha Stewart, but one look at her recipe reviews and I knew there was work to be done.

The end results are truly delicious – SERIOUSLY. I’m not going to ask you to eat cheese sauce made with butternut squash if it’s going to make you mad at me.

A Healthy Mac and Cheese recipe so creamy and cheesy, you'll never guess the sauce is mostly butternut squash! This one is worth trying.

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How to make Healthy Mac and Cheese

Start by boiling peeled and diced butternut squash until tender. Transfer to a blender, but save the cooking water. You’ll use it to boil your noodles, too. Scrappy.

Meanwhile, sweat some onions in butter. Those go in the blender too along with milk and water. Puree until smooth. You get a thick, silky-smooth sauce without any flour.

Add this back to your pot and stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then fold in the noodles.

A Healthy Mac and Cheese recipe so creamy and cheesy, you'll never guess the sauce is mostly butternut squash! This one is worth trying.

How to Make Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

To make this recipe gluten free, just substitute GF pasta. Since there’s no flour in the sauce, you don’t have to make any substitutions there.

Save this Healthy Mac and Cheese to your “Main Dishes” Pinterest board!

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5 from 2 votes

Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe

A Healthy Mac and Cheese recipe so creamy and cheesy, you'll never guess the sauce is mostly butternut squash! This one is worth trying.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cheese, macaroni
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 372kcal
  • 1 small butternut squash peeled and cubed, about 1 pound
  • 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (or gluten free macaroni)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • parsley chopped, for garnish, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • In a Dutch oven or stock pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add squash and cook until fork tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and transfer to blender.
  • Return water to boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and cook until softened and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to blender.
  • To the blender, add milk, and 1/2 cup water, and puree until completely smooth and creamy. This should yield about 4 cups sauce. 
  • Return sauce to Dutch oven set over low heat. Stir in cheese until melted and season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Fold in noodles and thin with more milk or water as necessary.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal

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  1. Maria

    Incredible recipe, very easy to follow and the taste is great! I recently started meal-prepping and wanted something delicious, healthy, and something I wouldn’t get sick of eating all week. This fit the bill perfectly! I LOVE macaroni and cheese, and while it does have a faint squash taste, I think it adds depth to the flavor as opposed to the pure cheese flavor I’ve been accustomed to. I did add 3 cloves of garlic to brown along with the onion (my only change to the recipe) and I really want to say thank you for doing the calorie count for me ahead of time! Divided into 5 parts, it’s nearly a 600 calorie dinner – perfect for me! My only concern, because I’m meal prepping, is how it will hold up in the freezer. Freshly prepared and hot off the stove though (as I’m sure most people will enjoy this) it tastes great and it’s a low calorie/high protein alternative to an American favorite. 5 stars

  2. Peyton Adkins

    This is awesome! My family can’t get enough of this…which makes me happy and look like an awesome cook…and they don’t even know squash is in it!5 stars

  3. Dave

    Interesting twist. Will have to try. Tip on processing any squash. Poke some holes it the thing, and microwave until getting tender or until done. It makes it so much easier and safer to slice and dice without the need for a machete to cleave the thing. If divining in half, or serving in the half-shell, as in acorn squash, microwave just until it begins to soften on the outside, then cut in half and bake.

    1. meggan

      This is a great idea! I know people who literally cannot cut a squash in half because it’s just too hard/dangerous/exhausting. Thank you Dave. You always have the best tips! You’re so hired.

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