It’s pumpkin season so I had to reshare one of my favorite seasonal recipes! Despite being a dietitian, I sometimes have a hard time eating my veggies so I like to “hide” them into “tastier” foods, like mac and cheese. This recipe is full of beta-carotene filled foods like butternut squash, carrots, and pumpkin but I also threw in some cauliflower just ’cause.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect against free radical damage. Interestingly, adding a little heat (temp not spice) and fat can help increase the bioavailability of this fat soluble nutrient so that’s where the cheese comes in. It not only adds some flava flav but also helps aid in the absorption of the beta-carotene. See, I got ya covered 😉
To make this meal a little more balanced and creamier, you can also add some plain greek yogurt. Now onto the goods:
Pumpkin and butternut squash Mac and cheese
- 1 box (13.25 oz) whole grain pasta (or pasta of choice)
- 1 bag (12 oz) frozen cauliflower
- 1 bag (12 oz) frozen butternut squash
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 cups shredded cheese*
- Optional – 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt for a creamier mac
*f00d tip: use a strong, flavorful cheddar like sharp cheddar for maximum flavor
In a large pan, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, get out another large pan and combine your cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots, and water. Simmer on high until your veggies start to soften (about 15-20 minutes). Transfer veggies to food processor (to preserve the nutrients, be sure to also include the water you cooked the veggies in). Process veggies and water until mixture is smooth, adding more water to desired consistency. Once your pasta is cooked, drain, then add your veggie purée. At this time also add in the pumpkin purée. Mix well until fully combined. Add your cheese and mix until fully melted. I usually cover the pan and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. For an extra creamy mac and cheese, add In the plain Greek yogurt after the cheese has melted.
More fun, savory recipes: