Classic macaroni, the ultimate comfort food, but with a delicious nutty, creamy, butternut twist. This is a great sneaky way to get extra veg into kids, and into ‘less keen on veg’ adults too of course! Butternut squashes have become a bit of a staple so we always try to keep them in stock, and it’s no wonder. They are full of flavour and nutrients, most notably vitamins A, C, magnesium and potassium (one portion of butternut provides over 450% of your RDI for vitamin A and over 50% of the RDI for vitamin C). You can of course substitute the roasted butternut in this recipe with any roasted winter squash or even sweet potato. Enjoy!
Butternut Sauce Ingredients
500g peeled and chopped butternut squash
150g nuts/seeds, soaked in water to soften (cashews, sunflower seeds, blanched almonds…these work really well but any nut or seed you prefer will work fine too)
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove of garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
a drizzle of olive oil for roasting the squash
Turn your oven on to 200C. Get your nuts or seeds into a bowl and cover with water. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Get it into a roasting dish and roast until soft.
When the squash is soft, let it cool a little. Meanwhile drain the nuts/seeds and then blend all the ingredients together. Add a splash of water, enough to get the sauce into a smooth, creamy consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as you like.
Now the sauce is ready to heat and stir through freshly cooked pasta. It will keep well in the fridge for 3 days or can be frozen in portions to last much longer.
For mac’n’cheese, cauliflower/broccoli cheese, layers in lasagnes or moussakas, cheesy mushroom and leek pies and more… This instant powder is so useful to store in your pantry to whip up a quick mid-week meal. Just add oat milk and a little olive oil or melted vegan butter.
Measure all the ingredients into a jar and give it a good shake to evenly mix into a powder. If you don’t have mustard powder then leave it out and add dijon mustard or whatever mustard you like in the wet stage described in the next step.
In a measuring jug, pour 100ml of oat milk per person. Then whisk in 1 tbsp of the powder and 1 tbsp of good olive oil (or melted vegan butter) per person. If you mix doesn’t have mustard powder, add a tsp of Dijon mustard per person too.
Pour the mixture into a pot over a medium/low heat and whisk continuously until it is cooked through. It should be creamy, silky smooth and nice and thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to, then use the sauce however you like. Fold through cooked pasta, layer up in a lasagne or moussaka, pour over cooked mushrooms, leeks and butterbeans then top with pastry and bake… I always use this sauce for a cauliflower and broccoli cheese as part of our Sunday roast.
Having a good béchamel sauce in your repertoire is so useful. I bring this sauce out really regularly for weekday dinners like macaroni cheese, for cauliflower or broccoli cheese for a Sunday roast (or a combination cauliflower/broccoli/macaroni cheese is SO good). I use it for the cheesy, creamy layer in lasagnes and moussakas and I use it for creamy mushroom, leek and white bean pies topped with pastry or mash. This vegan version (made with nutritional yeast instead of cheese, creamy oat milk instead of cow milk and some delicious olive oil instead of butter) is so delicious, nutritious and really quick and easy to put together. Simply whisk the ingredients together cold. Then put the pot over a medium heat and whisk and cook it into a thick sauce! How do you use béchamel sauce?
150g plain flour (wheat, spelt or even a gluten free plain-flour blend all work)
20g nutritional yeast (or more to taste)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 litre oat milk (or any unsweetened plant milk you like)
Measure all the ingredients into a cold pan and whisk them together.
Put the pan onto a medium heat and cook and whisk slowly until it thickens into a creamy sauce.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper or more nutritional yeast if you want a cheesier flavour.
It’s that simple! Now stir through cooked pasta or cauliflower or broccoli and bake until bubbling and golden on top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more nutritional yeast for a golden crunchy topping? Or spoon between layers of lasagne sheets and ragu for a gorgeous lasagne. Fold through sautéed mushrooms and leeks, stir in a drained tin of white beans and top with pastry or mash for a cosy, creamy pie…