Close your eyes for a moment and imagine macaroni covered with a silky butternut squash sauce. Now open your eyes, toss a few things in your slow cooker and get cooking! A dinner of Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Macaroni can be yours.
It’s a healthier version of traditional mac and cheese and it makes just enough for two or three servings. Please note that it’s made in a 1 1/2 or 2 quart small slow cooker.
In the morning, you add the butternut squash, tomatoes, water, garlic and spices so that it can cook down all day while you are at work. You will puree this in the evening for the base of your sauce.
In the evening, toss in some nutritional yeast (for a bold cheesy flavor), your favorite unsweetened nondairy milk and uncooked macaroni. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes for the pasta to cook. You do need to be close by because you’ll check the pasta every 10 minutes or so, until it’s al dente.
As a bonus, it’s no-added oil and it can be made gluten-free with the simple substitution of gluten-free pasta. You can substitute any winter squash or even sweet potato and still get very similar results. This recipe is from my book, Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just You.
What’s your favorite ingredient to add to your vegan mac and chez?
Slow Cooker Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni
This is mac ‘n’ cheez that’s all grown up. It’s covered with a rich butternut squash and nutritional yeast sauce that’s as nutritious as it is delicious. It's from my book, Vegan Slow Cooking for Two.
FOR THE MORNING
- 1 1/2 cups (210 g) cubed butternut squash or other winter squash
- 1/2 cup (90 g) chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Three 3-inch (7.5 cm) sprigs fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 g) dried thyme
- One 2-inch (5 cm) sprig fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
FOR THE EVENING
- 1/4 cup (24 g) nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 235 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1 1/2 cups (158 g) uncooked whole-wheat macaroni (*use gluten-free)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ** Please note - this recipes uses a 1½ to 2 quart slow cooker **
- In the morning: Add the morning ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.
- Thirty to 45 minutes before serving: Purée the contents of the slow cooker in a blender with the nutritional yeast and ½ cup (120 ml) of the nondairy milk. Add the mixture back into the slow cooker and turn it up to high. Stir in the macaroni, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Stir well and add more milk if the sauce is getting too thick. Cook for 15 to 25 minutes more or until the pasta is al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Make sure to check on the pasta every 10 minutes or so until you get good at gauging how fast it will cook in your slow cooker. It cooks faster in the smaller slow cooker.
Make this dish even healthier by adding in some chopped greens or fresh broccoli. You can’t have too much of this good thing.