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Creamy Vegan Mac 'n' Trees

By: Karlie Kramer from
Creamy Vegan Mac n Trees
Creamy Vegan Mac n Trees

"A big reason why so many plant-based macs are underwhelming is because they’re too vegetable-forward. At the end of the day, blended carrots just aren’t going to stack up to the best dairy-based mac. That said, certain vegetables can act as a substantial and healthy base for a cheese sauce. For this recipe, butternut squash acts as a canvas. Make sure to use a high speed blender for the best texture. Your squash will blend into a beautifully silky sauce, but if you stop there, you’re essentially left with a thick butternut squash soup. To add layers of umami and cheesiness, I then add nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and two bags (yes!) of vegan cheese. The result is a deeply rich and stretchy cheese sauce that’s indulgent and special."

Yields4 servings


  • 3 cups butternut squash peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 2 cups plant milk of choice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bag shredded vegan cheddar
  • 1 bag shredded vegan mozzarella
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen broccoli
  1. First, roast the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Arrange the squash on a rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a pot of heavily salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

  3. While the pasta is boiling, make the cheese sauce. In a high speed blender, combine the cashews, plant milk, roasted squash, lemon juice, mustard, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and blend on high until very smooth.

  4. Add the sauce to the pot with the macaroni and stir to combine. Add the broccoli and heat over low for a few minutes to warm through. Add both bags of shredded vegan cheese and stir until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

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