Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Butternut squash macaroni and cheese is definitely a unique combination but the result is fabulous.


There is a bit of a story for how this recipe for butternut squash macaroni and cheese came about

Last fall I was invited by the folks with Share Our Strength to attend one of the ‘Cooking Matters‘ events they hold on a regular basis that helps middle school kids in low income families with nutrition information as well as hands on cooking classes.

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The event I went to had myself and others helping the kids that evening with cutting and cooking and everyone received a sample of the finished dish as well as a set of identical products to bring home so that we could re-create the dishes in our own kitchens.

I never got that dish done; if I’m completely honest I did not find it very appealing which made me also feel a bit guilty. The truth is I’m privileged that I can buy the products I want at the grocery store and am not reliant on government allocations for my foodstuffs.

This recipe is another in a series that has been provided to me by the folks with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

I’m partnering with them to make several of their recipes for #Waunstrong Wednesday, my effort to prepare recipes for my daughter Lauren who is undergoing cancer treatment. Their recipes are geared to be nutritious for their patients but I’ve also found them to be absolutely delicious and this was no exception.

Roasted butternut squash is blended with a melted cheese sauce that is used to dress pasta. I decided to sprinkle some toasted and buttered panko bread crumbs on top of the finished dish; that little bit of crunch made it perfection.

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

A luscious and healthy version of macaroni and cheese, adding the butternut squash up the nutritional value and the taste is fabulous.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course pasta, Vegetables
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 190 kcal


For the Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 cups small pasta shells, elbow or piccolini
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup butternut squash puree see Notes
  • 1-½ cup monterey jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • teaspoon paprika

For the Panko Crumb topping

  • ½ cup panko
  • 1 teaspoon butter


  • Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta
  • Once boiling, add pasta and cook until pasta is tender (about 7-10 minutes)
  • Drain pasta when finished and set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium low heat in a saucepan and add the flour
  • Whisk and cook for 2 minutes – it will resemble a paste
  • Slowly add milk
  • Whisk until combined; add remaining ingredients up to butter and stir until combined
  • Add sauce to the pasta and stir.
  • Sprinkle with the toasted panko crumbs and serve.

To Make the Topping

  • While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet; add panko and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside.


If you can’t find butternut squash puree, simply cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place face down on an oven safe dish. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes at 400°. Allow to cool. Scoop the “meat” from the skin and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.


Nutrition Facts
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Lauren Update: Lauren had her first chemo treatment last week and it was a tough week. She had a port installed under her collarbone on Friday that will be where the cocktails are administered and I don’t think four days was enough time after surgery to start chemo so she definitely had a double whammy.

We also went wig shopping and she found one she loves. Not long but more of a short bob and her exact hair color.

As hard as those trips are, I think doing them before they are necessary helps acclimate all of us to the reality; hair loss will be hard.

Knowing she looks great in cute wig makes that eventuality a bit easier to face. She’s feeling better this week and actually stayed in her own apartment for the first time since learning she has breast cancer.

That’s huge…she’s a very independent young woman and though all of her family welcomed her back home with open arms, that step was one she wanted to make and I’m glad she did. Her friends have been fantastic…keep up the good work kids!

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  1. B, this recipe looks fabuloso! I have to watch my carbs (for reals, was once diagnosed pre-diabetic), so would only do gluten-free as a treat. Totally doable…with crumbled bacon on top. Mmmmm. I know, I know…I’m so paleo! LOL! Great that you’ve partnered on recipes with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. And, I’m glad to hear that Lauren is back home after lots of hugs and love from family and close friends. I’m sure that and her new sassy wig means the world to her. Sending you both my love! xo

  2. I love the addition of butternut squash to this! This dish sounds SO good, I could do with some today, it’s freezing here!

  3. This recipe looks incredibly creamy. Butternut squash puree is one of my favorite things but my husband is not a fan. I do believe that this way I can still have it and fool him in the process. Niiiiice.

  4. Cooking for low income/SNAP recipients can be challenging – it definitely tests one’s creativity!! This butternut mac and cheese sounds sooooo good! Love that there is such a resource for people undergoing cancer treatment!
    So sorry Lauren had such a tough time of it – hopefully, those days will be the exception! Have absolutely loved those “wig” pics – she looks absolutely gorgeous and from the photo I saw, no one would ever guess that wasn’t her actual hair! I definitely think shopping now is the way to go – and if the wig is cute, perhaps it softens the sadness of losing her hair.
    Sounds like Lauren has a great team behind her – “so watch out cancer – your days are numbered!”

  5. What a great idea! I love butternut – we use it a lot here downunder – and it would go beautifully with a creamy cheese sauce. All I need to do is to wait for the cold weather now!

  6. What a tough week for you both. One step and one day at a time, right. And mac and cheese is always a comfort in my mind. Thinking of you both!

  7. go figure why I’ve wanted macaroni and cheese all week, a dish I don’t usually eat (maybe it’s the sudden change back to winter-like weather) it sounds delicious and looks incredibly appetizing, and I love the health spin on this! one to try

  8. This looks nice and substantial! Perfect food for chilly weather. Which is what we have – even though the calendar says it’s spring, it’s rather cold. What’s up with that?! Good recipe, and you’re right that it appears to be pretty flexible and adaptable. Good stuff! Thanks.

    1. It was easy and enjoyable. I’m starting to be fond of stovetop mac and cheese; preferring it because it doesn’t dry out and this fit the bill.

  9. I knew I should have grabbed that butternut squashed (cut and washed) at Costco yesterday but I didn’t have a recipe in mind so I left it there on the shelf. Next time I’ll be sure to bring it home or maybe I’ll find squash puree first. Glad to hear Lauren is managing ok. Thinking of you!

    1. Exactly what I used Holly. I actually doubled the recipe and then packaged it in food saver bags for Lauren’s meals; pop it in some boiling water for a minute and voila…it’s done.

  10. I love butternut squash soup so pretty sure that I’d enjoy this pasta flavoured with pureed butternut squash. Another great recipe for #Waunstrong and another week conquered!

    P.S. Love the added panko crumbs!

    1. Just that little crunch added a lot. Shh…don’t tell but I could eat buttered panko by the spoonful all by it’s crunchy self.

  11. This definitely looks better than the first recipe that I tried. I hope Lauren continues to tolerate the treatments has well as she did. Thinking of you guys.

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