Butternut Squash and Kale Mac and “Cheese”


Butternut squash Kale mac and cheeseThis time of year makes you want to get super hygee. If you’re unfamiliar with this word, think of warm wool socks by a wood fire, curled up with a cup of hot tea. It’s a Danish word that is sweeping its way across the United States. There are foods that have this same cozy feeling. I was craving something to bring me back to my roots. My family has been making this bomb mac and cheese my entire life. So I set out on a journey to make a gluten free, dairy free mac that would still give me that same hygee sensation.

Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods in the winter but I’ve been trying to find new ways to incorporate it on the plate. It’s that giant pear shaped squash with a cream-colored skin. The meat is bright orange and deliciously sweet. Cut this squash in half between the neck and bulb (lengthwise), scoop the seeds, then bake. You don’t need to peel it! You can also save the seeds and prepare them as a snack like pumpkin seeds. Butternut squash contains omega-3s, which are anti-inflammatory fats. These are helpful fats! Do you have any other ways to make butternut squash?

Serves: 4-6

Hands-on time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour

Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, soy free, nut free


1 small butternut squash, about 2 ½ cups (If you have more, cook it and save for another dish).

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

16 ounces organic brown rice pasta

1 bunch kale, stems removed, roughly torn

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 16 oz. can coconut milk or other non-dairy milk. Save a little for blending.

3 tablespoons cornstarch (Arrowroot starch or tapioca will also work).

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon ground mustard seed

1 teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

pinch or two cayenne pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Hot sauce (optional)


¼ cup gluten free breadcrumbs (I just used almond flour that I made from the pulp from my almond milk)


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Cut squash in half, coat with a little olive oil, and cook flesh side down on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Prepare your pasta to package directions while the squash is cooking.
  4. Reduce the heat of the oven to 375ºF once the squash is done.
  5. While everything is getting steamy in the kitchen near the oven section, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and place into the colander in the sink. The pasta water will be drained here over the kale!
  6. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat. Add the onions and garlic, saute 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add the non-dairy milk and bring to a low boil. Add in the corn starch. Whisk it up until no lumps appear. It will thicken over the heat. I know your tastebuds are watering already.
  7. Turn the heat to a low-medium and add the nutritional yeast, dry mustard, sea salt, ground turmeric and cayenne (if using). Whisk to combine. Turn the stove off when the sauce is thick and well combined.
  8. Once the squash is done cooking, reduce the heat of the oven to 375ºF. Add 2 ½ cups of the squash to the pitcher of a high speed blender, I used my Cuisinart but a Vitamix, Nutribullet, or food processor would also probably work. Add the thickened coconut milk mixture and lemon juice. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. You can add more non-dairy milk if necessary to keep it moving.
  9. Add the pasta and kale to a large pot or a casserole dish. Pour the sauce on that pasta. You can add more or less depending on how much of a sauce boss you are. Toss well to combine.
  10. Serve as is or add the gluten-free breadcrumbs on top and bake quickly to toast them, about 2 minutes.
  11. If you want it spicy, add some more cayenne pepper and hot sauce into the mix.
  12. Enjoy!

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