Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Breaking news: Eating healthy does not have to mean living a life without mac and cheese!

We came up with a rich and creamy macaroni and cheese casserole that tastes just as good as the original but won’t wreck your healthy nutrition plan. It has less than 300 calories per serving and 15 grams of protein. And this mac-and-cheese recipe makes 10 servings, so it can feed a hungry family or make several servings for healthy meal prep. This recipe boasts two types of cheese – yes, real cheese! – sharp cheddar and Gruyere.

The secret is using extra-flavorful cheeses, so a little bit goes a long way. The cheeses blend with a silky butternut squash puree to create an intensely flavorful sauce. We added peppers, onions, and a sprinkling of parsley to make the dish even more tasty and nutritious!

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dry whole wheat macaroni

  • 1 tsp. olive oil

  • 1 medium onion chopped

  • 2 medium red bell peppers chopped

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash

  • 1¾ cups low-sodium organic chicken broth

  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat (1%) plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese

  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • Finely-chopped fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

  3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Set aside.

  5. Combine squash, broth, and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; gently boil for 22 to 25 minutes, or until squash is tender.

  6. Place squash mixture in a blender or food processor; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.

  7. Combine squash mixture, macaroni, onion mixture, yogurt, and cheeses. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.

  8. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish that has been coated with spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.

  9. Garnish with parsley if desired.

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