Vegan butternut squash mac and cheese, no cashews or nutritional yeast needed! Hummus adds plenty of creaminess and savoury flavour to this pasta, plus an easy protein-boost that won’t break the bank.
This is a great meal if you’re a keen batch cooker. Roast the squash and make the hummus ahead of time, and you have a ten minute meal on your hands.
If this recipe looks familiar, it is! It was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2020, but was accidentally deleted when the new site design went live. I’ve had to re-write the post, but the recipe is the same.
- Pasta: short pasta, with some kind of groove or texture to catch the sauce, is ideal here. I always use spelt pasta. Use a gluten-free pasta for a GF option.
- Butternut Squash: roasting the squash improves the flavour of the pasta, but steamed will do in a pinch (or if you don’t have an oven).
- Hummus: I use this Lebanese hummus recipe. Store bought can be a good substitution.
- Lemon: this is to taste, but highly encouraged.
- Mustard: Dijon mustard is added to a béchamel, so it makes sense to add it here to bring in a bit of the flavour expected from mac and cheese. It adds depth but doesn’t make the pasta taste of mustard.
- Spices: simple salt and pepper. You could add a bit of white pepper if you’d like.
Step by Step
Notes and Substitutions
Leftovers keep fairly well for this, but the texture changes as it cools. To bring it back to a silky-smooth texture, add a splash of plant-based milk when reheating. Like any pasta, though, it will absorb some of the sauce as it sits.
Use a different type of pumpkin or winter squash if you prefer. Butternut is great here as it has a very smooth texture, but if you’d rather use something less sweet, try a kuri type.
Of course you could add vegan cheese (or dairy, if you eat it) to the mac and cheese, to get a more traditional texture. I’ve never tried this but if you have one you like, go for it!
Using pasta water instead of tap water is key. The water used to cook pasta is starchy and well-seasoned, and it makes the sauce stick to the pasta more effectively while adding an extra boost of flavour.
If you don’t have a food processor, a standing blender or an immersion blender and large container can be used instead. Simply blend until smooth.
Frozen pumpkin can be used, but as it’s usually cut into cubes, the cooking time will vary. You can roast from frozen or steam as described in the recipe card.
More Pasta Recipes
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- 600 grams (21 oz. or 1/2 a medium) butternut squash
- 240 grams (1 cup) hummus
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Juice of a lemon (~3 tablespoons), to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
- 500 grams (17 oz. or one package) elbow pasta
- 200 ml (~3/4 cup) pasta water, reserved before draining*
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Half and remove the seeds from the butternut squash. Bake one half, cut side down, for about 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife.
- Carefully flip the squash over to cool slightly while you prep the other ingredients.
- Cook the pasta in well salted, boiling water, according to the package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, blend the sauce. Scoop the squash out of the skin and place it into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the hummus, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Blend until very smooth, leaving the second lid open to let steam escape. Alternatively, use an immersion blender or heat safe standing blender.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot.
- Add the sauce to the pot, then add water a bit at a time, stirring, until it reaches the desired consistency. Serve immediately. It's best fresh but can be refrigerated in a sealed container for a couple of days.
• You can steam the squash if preferred. Cut into 3cm (about 1 inch) chunks (peeled) and steam, lid on, for about 10 minutes, or until fork-soft.
* You should need maximum this much. I usually just take a couple ladlefuls out with my big soup ladle before draining and then add as much as is needed.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 577mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 14gSugar: 6gProtein: 13g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.