Butternut Squash Mac and "Cheese"


This is a nice all-in-one dish.  It provides some satisfaction from the pasta, protein and fiber from sauce, and includes some vegetables.  You can be creative and add more if you’d like to: tomatoes, peas or some roasted cauliflower would also be delicious!  

The two ingredients that may be new for some are hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.  Both are optional really, but add a nutritional punch.  If you can’t find or don’t have either, you could blend in cottage cheese or add shredded cheddar if that is more your speed.
The addition of hemp seeds was a spin on my original recipe.  I liked the idea of adding some more protein to make it more filling.  Hempseeds contain all essential amino acids (building blocks for our muscles/body) making them a complete protein.  They are also easy to digest and provide a very nutty flavor to foods.  I sprinkle them on toast, mix into oatmeal or yogurt and blend into sauces or smoothies for added protein.  In the stores they are also referred to as “hemp hearts.” 




Pasta is one of my daughter’s favorites.  We call this pasta "squash pasta" because I want her to know there are vegetables blended in.  I have always made it a point to tell her what is in her food.  Sneaking vegetables into foods and not sharing that info is not how we present food in our family.  It is more important that she trust herself and me when it comes to meals, trust that I will tell her what foods are being served, and that she can trust her body and taste buds to guide her through the meal.   She has always been exposed to many different types of foods, so that has helped her willingness to try things.
I also don’t make a fuss when she does not eat something.  I just keep offering. 
Autonomy for kids is huge, really for all of us.  This is a great recipe to talk to kids about how adding vegetables to dishes can be fun and done creatively.  Plus, the less we interfere with our kids eating the more likely they are to remain intuitive.  Model and offer...the best two nuggets I can give.  
Have fun making this one your own and happy cooking!




Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”



3 cups (or 15oz package) diced butternut squash

½ lb pasta (8oz dry) cooked per the package instructions

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch of blackpepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional) 



  1. Bring large pot of water to boil.

  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl add cubed squashand 1/4 cup water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave/steam until tender. About 5-6 minutes on high. 

  3. Add pasta to now boiling water and cook the pasta per the package instructions.

  4. Once the pasta is done, drain and set aside.

  5. In the same pot (now empty), add the olive oil, cooked squash, milk, hemp seeds, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast and bring to simmer. 

  6. Turn off heat and puree mixture using a hand-blender or free-standing blender. 

  7. Now add your drained pasta to squash mixture and mix until pasta is well coated with sauce.

  8. Serve and enjoy! 


Ashley Munro, RD, CDE is an Arizona-based registered dietitian, chef, and certified Intuitive Eating counselor who helps others heal their relationship with food by letting go of diet rules and learning to accept their bodies. Through delicious cooked meals and recipes, Ashley shares her passion for food freedom, cooking, and family at her blog, Ashley Munro Nutrition.


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