Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Encourage healthy eating habits in your children by finding new ways to sneak in healthy foods into a meal, such as fruits and vegetables that kids tend not to eat. Adding substitutes to your mac and cheese like butternut squash can offer the same texture and homey flavor as pasta with better nutrition, fewer calories and carbs.

It takes seven to 10 attempts to acquire a taste for a food. With kids, it’s a great idea to make those “tries” count with recipes that are disguised as something they would otherwise enjoy like this one. This balanced meal offers vitamins A, C, E, B6 and folate along with minerals including magnesium and potassium, while still having the same great mac and cheese taste.

Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan

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butternut squash mac and cheese


  • 1 medium butternut squash (3-4 cups uncooked cubed)
  • 2 cups shell pasta or pasta of choice
  • 7 oz. low-fat milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and place the two halves of squash flesh side up on a baking tray. You can also use pre-cut cubed butternut squash. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft and has fully cooked through.
3. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
4. Once the squash has cooked, spoon out the flesh straight into a blender or food processor. Add the milk, cheese and butter and process until all the ingredients have combined to a sauce consistency. If it seems too thick then add a little extra milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Drain the pasta and mix it with the butternut squash sauce. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Option: Add cheeseburger mixture to make it a Butternut Squash Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese (see below).

Nutrition Info per Serving :
Nutrition Facts
~12 Servings Total
1 Serving = ~3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174.1
Total Fat 5.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 13.5 mg
Sodium 84.3 mg
Potassium 237.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Sugars 3.3 g
Protein 6.6 g
Vitamin A 104.6 %
Vitamin B-12 1.4 %
Vitamin B-6 4.9 %
Vitamin C 18.4 %
Vitamin D 2.2 %
Vitamin E 0.2 %
Calcium 13.6 %
Copper 2.5 %
Folate 3.7 %
Iron 2.4 %
Magnesium 5.8 %
Manganese 6.2 %
Niacin 3.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 4.1 %
Riboflavin 2.5 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 4.0 %
Zinc 1.2 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (95% lean)
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. dill pickles, finely chopped (optional)

Optional Mix In: Cheeseburger Mac

1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; add beef, onion and black pepper. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain.
2. Sprinkle flour over cooked beef; stir to combine. Add undrained tomatoes, ketchup, pickles and mustard to skillet; mix until blended.
3. If desired, some of this can be added into the butternut mac and cheese in desired amount and ratio, according to preferences. It also can be served alone or on a bun. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info per Serving:
Nutrition Facts
~12 Servings
1 Serving = ~3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 106.4
Total Fat 4.4 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 30.2 mg
Sodium 207.9 mg
Potassium 56.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Sugars 3.8 g
Protein 10.8 g
Vitamin A 3.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.3 %
Vitamin C 3.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.8 %
Calcium 7.8 %
Copper 1.2 %
Folate 0.7 %
Iron 5.8 %
Magnesium 0.8 %
Manganese 1.5 %
Niacin 1.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.2 %
Phosphorus 0.7 %
Riboflavin 3.1 %
Selenium 0.4 %
Thiamin 0.8 %
Zinc 0.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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