Go Back

Butternut Squash Mac-n-Cheese

Servings 6 (2 cups)


  • 14 oz box Barilla Protein+ pasta elbows (sub: your favorite pasta)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp fresh thyme chopped (sub: 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth sub: chicken broth
  • 10 oz frozen butternut squash
  • 1 cup evaporated milk sub: 2% or whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz block white cheddar cheese shredded


  • Cook pasta according to box. Drain. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat oil. Add onion and thyme. Cook for 2 - 4 minutes or until onions are soft. Add flour. Cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in broth and add steamed butternut squash. Bring to a boil, whisking for 5 minutes. It will start to thicken. Add evaporated milk, nutmeg and salt. Allow it to boil again, 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Optional: use an immersion blender to smooth the sauce, or transfer to a blender. This was imperative in our household. But if you don't have a blender, feel free to leave the bigger chunks of butternut squash in the sauce.
  • Turn off heat. Add cheese. Whisk until melted. The sauce will thicken as the cheese melts and it sits.
  • Add the pasta back to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine.


Other Thoughts:
  • Use gluten free macaroni and flour in the sauce, if needed.
  • Don't have evaporated milk? You can use regular milk - it just won't be quite as creamy.
  • This keeps really well in the refrigerator <for 5 - 6 days> and freezer <for 2 - 3 months>.
  • It's really worth the extra step of shredding your own block of cheese. It makes for a much smoother sauce.
Athletes: If you haven't caught on yet, I absolutely love to pack everything you need to support your training into one dish for lunches. This mac-n-cheese fits the bill too. A heaping 2 cup serving gives you 25 gm protein and 60 gm carbs - eat more than 2 cups on a hard training day.
Healthy Eating: Feel free to eat this as your meal - it's well balanced! Or, use it as a side dish with a protein and veggie. One night eat ate this with salmon and roasted broccoli and it was very satisfying.
Kids: My daughter calls this 'my faaaaaavorite mac-n-cheese' and girl can put it AWAY. If your kids are veggie averse, make sure to puree the butternut squash into the cheese sauce and they won't even know it is there. My son still prefers the box. You win some, you lose some. <More for my meal prep!>