When it comes to macaroni and cheese, it’s hard to beat the classics. But, when it comes to vegan macaroni and cheese, it’s even harder to succeed. So, in an effort to help vegans find that elusive, delicious alternative, I set out to discover a plant-based mac and cheese that was just as satisfying as the real thing.

Before I started eating a vegan diet, I never thought of myself as someone who would eat macaroni and cheese. It’s not that I had something against cheese; it’s just that I never really liked it that much.

If you’re new to veganism, but you’ve also never made macaroni and cheese, you’re in luck. It is true that vegan mac and cheese is difficult to make at first, but you don’t need to worry. There are several vegan mac and cheese recipes that are easy. This recipe uses butternut squash to add a sweetness to the pasta and an earthy taste, while this one uses a particular type of pasta.

American Beauty® Pasta provided funding for this article. All of my opinions and ideas are my own.

This vegan Macaroni dish has American Beauty® Thick & Hearty elbows and a creamy butternut squash sauce that even cheese lovers will enjoy.

This Macaroni with Butternut Squash (Vegan) is made with simple ingredients that can all be purchased at your local Albertsons. If you want to save money on your favorite products, download the Just for U App.

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Buy any (2) American Beauty® Pastas and save $1.

Roasted butternut squash and onions on a baking sheet.

The caramelization of the squash and onions will infuse the sauce with a ton of flavor. Add nutritional yeast, cashews for creaminess, and a splash of lemon for brightness to give the sauce a “cheese” flavor. I used 14 cup of pasta water to start things going in the blender.

Butternut squash sauce being poured into a bowl of cooked elbow pasta.

In a high-powered blender, the “cheese” sauce becomes silky smooth, and the American Beauty® Thick and Hearty Elbows grab all of the wonderful butternut squash sauce. A bronze die is used to cut Thick and Hearty Elbows pasta, giving it texture and allowing it to retain more sauce.

After that, the macaroni is covered with toasted panko breadcrumbs and baked to create a beautiful golden crust. Because it’s essentially just pasta and vegetables, serve the Butternut Squash Macaroni as is. Alternatively, serve as a vegan side dish to round out a meal.

Overhead view of Vegan Mac n cheese in a small plate with box of pasta on top.

I’m looking forward to curling up with a dish of delicious Butternut Squash Macaroni and pretending it’s autumn in Arizona.

Round plate with macaroni and a light pink glass in the background.

Vegan Butternut Squash Macaroni

Renee Fuentes is a model and actress.

This vegan Macaroni dish has American Beauty® Thick & Hearty elbows and a creamy butternut squash sauce that even cheese lovers will enjoy.

15-minute prep time

Time to cook: 50 minutes

Main Course and Side Dish

American cuisine


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Season cubed butternut squash with paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet drizzled with olive oil.

  • On the same sheet, chop the onion into big pieces and sprinkle with olive oil. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 25 minutes, or until squash is soft. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees once finished.

  • Boil a large pot of water, season with salt, and cook 12oz American Beauty® Thick & Hearty Elbows until al dente (10 minutes). Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water and drain elbows.

  • Add a teaspoon of oil, 12 cup panko bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to a small skillet. Toast for approximately 2 minutes, or until panko begins to brown.

  • Add the pasta water, roasted butternut squash, onions, nutritional yeast, cashews, and lemon juice to a high-powered blender. Blend until you have a creamy sauce. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

  • Cook the elbows in an oven-safe dish sprayed with cooking oil spray. Pour all of the butternut squash sauce into the dish and toss with the elbow pasta until thoroughly combined. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees with toasted panko bread crumbs on top. To achieve more browning on the panko crust, turn on the broiler for the final minute.

  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes before serving.


When I was a kid, my mom would make macaroni and cheese. I loved the stuff, but it always had two major drawbacks:. Read more about butternut squash mac and cheese oh she glows and let us know what you think.

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