If your family loves creamy, cheesy pasta and you’re looking for a simple way to up their veggie intake—because aren’t we always?!—this super simple 5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese needs to be on your menu asap! I’ve been making it once a week for the past few weeks as we’ve had ample squash from a farmer friend and the girls are big fans.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese for Toddlers
The beauty of this recipe is that the squash adds that classic orange color and nutrients, but the kids just get the cheesy pasta flavor and texture that they love. And the method is so simple since everything cooks in the same pot, so it’s a perfect option for a busy weeknight. Pick up a bag of precut butternut squash and you literally just need to fill a pot with water to get this recipe started!
Healthy Mac and Cheese
You can make this with any pasta shape that your family prefers—elbows would be a great choice if your kids are used to the classic boxed variety—and you can add in broccoli or peas if you want to up the veggie intake even more. This butternut mac and cheese recipe is easy to scale up and you can make it gluten-free if needed by selecting a favorite GF pasta. (We love the Barilla gluten-free pasta—though I recommend cooking it for 1-2 minutes less than the box says for the best texture…it can start to fall apart if you cook it for the full time!)
Butternut Mac and Cheese with Canned Squash
If you have a can of butternut squash, you can sub that in and skip the step where you’d otherwise need to cook the squash. Simply add it to the blender and blend it up!
And know this: The simple butternut squash cheese sauce is also a wonderful topping for steamed broccoli, green beans, asparagus, or any other veggie that your kids might need a little extra encouragement to gobble up! (P.S. What to Do When Your Toddler Won’t Eat.)
- 1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3/4 cup grated yellow or white cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork.Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the squash to a blender, draining off all of the liquid.
- Add the milk, cheese, and butter, and puree until completely smooth.Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce, season to taste with salt, and serve! Variations:
- To make this for 6-8 people, simply double all the amounts using a full pound of pasta. You can also add more cheese if you’d like.
Add 1 cup frozen peas to a colander before you drain the pasta. The peas will thaw and warm and you’ll be able to tuck another veggie right into the mix.
Try with sweet potato or another favorite squash.
Trade in cauliflower for the squash.