My friend Debbie likes to leave things in my mailbox. What started as a way for us to show each other a little love during quarantine has turned into somewhat of a regular treat. She has many gorgeous perennials on her established farm, and she knows that I’m actively killing the grass and planting flowers. She’ll split her hyacinth and leave some in the mailbox along with a book I really should read. Extra butternut squash from a bumper crop? Check the mailbox.
Debbie tells me I shouldn’t let her plant so much butternut squash next year, but let’s be honest, we’ll both be leaving vegetables in each other’s mailboxes again next year.
Growing butternut squash
Butternut squash is a prolific plant in the garden and is a really good one for beginners. It is not susceptible to the squash vine borer insect and the blossoms are awesome for stuffing. Butternut squash last forever after harvest, making them a great late-winter veggie when you’ve eaten through your freezer.
Vegan Mac & Cheese
As a Midwesterner with a milk allergy (is that even legal?!) I’m always craving the nostalgic cheesy meals from my childhood. Even if you’re not vegan, you’ll find the texture and taste of this vegan mac & cheese recipe are identical to the dairy-filled alternative. There is depth of flavor from roasting the squash, and creaminess from the cashews and nutritional yeast. Really perfect for sneaking more veggies into your meals and a great one to have on hand for the kiddos.
The trick to making this extra creamy is to soak the cashews for at least two hours or overnight. Use hot water for the soaking liquid and they’ll get mushy a lot faster.
Vegan Squash Mac & Cheese
- 1 medium butternut squash or any winter squash
- 2 medium shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup cashews soaked minimum 2 hours
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 lb. pasta of choice
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Split butternut squash length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle squash with a dash of salt and olive oil. Roast in the oven for 1 hour or until fork-tender.
- While the squash is roasting, roughly chop shallot and garlic. Sautee both in a glug of oil in a small skillet until soft. Remove from heat.
- When the squash has finished roasting, peel away the skin and reserve the flesh. Add it to a high-powered blender or food processor, along with shallot/garlic mixture, nutritional yeast, soaked (and drained) cashews, water and salt. Whiz on high until sauce is extra smooth and creamy.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions and toss in a large bowl with the sauce. Sprinkle with chili flakes and black pepper. Serve warm.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @growingwithgertie on Instagram.