Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

For your homemade mac and cheese, take out the typical roux (butter, milk, flour) and replace it with pureed butternut squash. You’ll have a lower calorie meal, without losing the lusciousness of this classic rich dish. And there’s a bonus: you’ll be adding phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Servings: 4


  • 2 cups uncooked, whole grain macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon butter or heart healthy spread (like Earth Balance)
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (or 4-5 cups cubed)
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3/4 cups low-fat milk or milk alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar (or other cheese of choice, like Gruyere, Munster)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cook pasta per directions, drain, and set aside in a large bowl. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onions; saute until golden for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the broth to the now empty pasta pot and bring to a boil. Add cubed squash and cook until tender for about 7 to 8 minutes.

Remove about a ½ cup of the broth, drain the squash, and add to a blender. To this, add the 1/2 cup of broth, onions, milk and salt. Puree until completely smooth. Add the pureed squash mixture and cheese (reserving ¼ to 1/3 for the top) to the pasta and stir to melt the cheese and evenly coat the pasta. Place in an ovenproof dish, top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 15 minutes.

This content was adapted from Zakim’s Kitchen: Healthier Spins on Holiday Favorites, an event by the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living at Dana-Farber. The event was also sponsored by the Friends of Dana-Farber.

Get more nutrition tips and information from Nutrition Services at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.