Roasted Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheeze” with Tuna & Sautéed Spinach a.k.a. a Cheese Addict’s DREAM. COME. TRUE.
OKAY, who here likes Kraft Dinner (hereinafter referred to as: “KD” #imalawyer)? Or, should I reformulate my sentence & ask rather, who doesn’t like KD? Cause like really, we all grew up with it & it is one of the BEST things ever, right?
OKOK, well my loves, would you believe me (would you agree?) if I told you that this Roasted Butternut Squash Mac & “Cheeze” made entirely from scratch is 89248234972492 BETTER?????? I SWEAR ON MY LIFE. It’s creamy, cheesy, totally comforting and best of all: it’s super healthy too!!! What more could you want from a pasta sauce? No preservatives & hardly any sodium! GAH, I can go on & on. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL. Please guys, do yourselves a favour & try it. It might take SLIGHTLY (but really not much longer) more time to whip up than its KD counterpart, aka that powdered cheese (#EW). BUT, IT’S SO WORTH IT!!!
OH & in case you didn’t catch my drift with the “Cheeze“, there is actually no real cheese or dairy in this sauce. EVERY INGREDIENT, YES, EVERY SINGLE ONE, IS PLANT-BASED. But, it’s so thick and creamy, how is that even possible!?!?! I swear, you will think you are eating the CHEEESIEST CHEEEEEZE ever. SWEAR!!!
Once this babe of a sauce is ready, literally all you gotta do is smother your al denté (I hope you like your pasta al denté if you know what’s good for you) pasta in this beautifulness & BOOOOOM. Obvs, I added sautéed spinach (Hi Baby, I love you & all the nutrients you provide) & white flaked tuna (I NEED MY PROTEIN GUYS & so do you! #eatyoproteins. (P.S. You can add kale instead of spinach if you prefer. That’s what I do on the days that I feel okay with cheating on spinach, but that’s very very rare, let me tell you. You can also mix in some green peas, broccoli or any other veggie that gets you off, LAWLZ! I legit crack myself up sometimes… it’s hilarious).
OK, so I haven’t been able to shut up for like the past 20 minutes. Maybe I should start off by telling you guys how to whip up the sauce… What do you think?
1. For the squash:
- 1 large butternut squash, halved & seeded;
- EVOO or Coconut oil! (I used my babe Nutiva organic coconut oil). You can also use grapeseed or sunflower oil;
- Organic Himalayan pink sea salt;
- Freshly ground black pepper.
2. FOR THE BEST PART OF THE RECIPE A.K.A. THE RECIPE DOES NOT EXIST WITHOUT THIS, A.K.A. THE CHEEEEEZE SAUCE (In case you didn’t catch on to my obsession based on the above comments, GUYS, this sauce is simply I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. It’s thick, with the-most-believeable-cheese-flavour-EVER.:
- 1 cup of roasted butternut squash;
- 1 tbsp. of vegan butter. I use Earth Balance Spread. (If you’re not vegan, use regular butter. You can also substitute the butter for a light-tasting oil like grape seed or coconut oil, but I would stick to butter to be safe!);
- 3/4 cup of unsweetened & unflavoured organic almond milk (I use Earth’s Own organic unsweetened almond milk);
- 1 tbsp. of potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot starch (Come on, you’re bound to have one of these… I”M GIVING YOU OPTIONS PEOPLE, but there’s only so much I can do!!);
- 1/4 cup of NUTRITIONAL YEAST. I use Bob’s Red Mill. I’ve told you guys about this miracle of a product in my previous posts so I really genuinely hope you went out to buy it. If you didn’t listen to me, GRRRR. No, but seriously, if you don’t have it, you can substitute it with Parmesan;
- 2 tsp. of Dijon mustard (LET YOUR MIND RUN WILD HERE, PEOPLE. You can even use a flavoured one if you want to give your sauce a little kick!);
- 3/4 tsp. of garlic powder (I use Simply Organic);
- 1/2 tsp. of onion powder (Simply Organic, YET AGAIN);
- 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice;
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. of organic Himalayan pink sea salt (YOU be the judge here guys, depends how salty you like your sauces!);
- Freshly ground black pepper;
- 2-3 tsp. of any light miso;
- 2 cans of flaked white tuna in WATER.
3. FOR THE PASTA, I’ll let you be creative. Just boil about 340g of your pasta of choice (macaroni, shell, rotini, gluten-free) & BOOM. Make sure it’s al denté. Nobody likes mushy pasta.
4. MIX-INS (I used spinach & tuna, as mentioned above, IF YOU READ ATTENTIVELY, YOU WOULD REMEMBER. But, you can totz. use kale, broccoli, green peas etc. AKA THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS).
(P.S. In case you decide to put tuna in your sauce also & need inspiration for how to season it, here’s how I did: 2 egg whites, lemon juice, very finely chopped red onions, dried parsley flakes, dried dill, garlic powder & smoked paprika – SIMPLY, ET DELISH & SO FLAVOURFUL!). I fried it with some coconut oil in a skillet for like 2-3 minutes. AHHHH, IT WAS SO GOOD).
NOW, how does this perfection of a recipe come together, a.k.a. HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS?
1) In order to succeed at making this PERFECT PLATE OF CHEESY GOODNESS, it is CRUCIAL to know how to roast your butternut squash. SO, HERE GOES PEOPLE.
- Preheat your oven to 425F.
- Start by slicing your squash in half (Uhh, TRY, just TRY, not to slice your finger. I cannot tell you how many times I legit almost sliced mine… it was kinda scary, but kinda worth it, ‘CAUSE SQUASH IS SO YUMMY!). (P.S. These days, the butternut squashes ARE MASSIVE. You actually only need 1 cup of butternut squash for this recipe, so you will most probably have leftovers, a.k.a. FIND ANOTHER SQUASH RECIPE so you don’t waste this beautiful goodness OR double your batch of sauce & eat this dish every. single. night. this. week. (Honestly, that wouldn’t even be considered settling. That’s how good it is).
- Peel the two halves and chop of the top & bottom parts.
- Slice the squash into 1-2 inch chunks.
- Add the chunks onto your baking sheet. Drizzle on EVOO or coconut oil (I used coconut oil, OBVS. When do I not?) & mix well! Sprinkle some sea salt & freshly ground black pepper on these cute little chunks!
- ROAST THESE BABIES, uncovered, for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender (IN OTHER WORDS, CHECK ON THEM. Don’t just get into bed & start a Netflix binge. You will forget about your squash. It will burn. You will not eat the Mac & Cheese. Your worst nightmare will come true.
IF YOU WANT TO SKIP THE ROASTING STEP, you can used canned squash, i.e. if you are crunched for time, this is an amazing alternative because the squash does kind of take a long time to roast (plus, all the time it takes to chop it without cutting yourself…).
2) Into a BLENDER (Breville Boss, you are my bestie), add all the CHEEZE SAUCE ingredients (butter, milk, starch, nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, onion powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper & miso) + 1 cup of the roasted butternut squash. Blend it on high until smoooooth & beautiful. It should look a lil’ something like this:
3) Now that the perfection that is this sauce is READY, add the cooked & drained pasta to a skillet, STIR IN ALL THIS CHEEEESY GOODNESS. ADD YOUR MIX-INS! Heat everything over medium heat & stir until your sauce is thickened. Add some mo’ salt & peppa to taste (& a splash more of lemon juice).
4) PROCEED TO DEVOUR & LICK YOUR PLATE. THEN, store any leftover sauce in the fridge (very rare since you probably licked the bowl like, CLEAN, literally, CLEAN) for tomorrow night’s dinner. Lawlz. I swear. You will want to eat this EVERY. NIGHT. OF. THE. WEEK.
BTW, this is what heaven looks like in case you babes were wondering:
Bon appétit mes amours! Xoxo!