• Modern Hippie

(No Cheese) Squash Mac N Cheese With Bacon

Updated: Nov 3, 2019

Mac n cheese without the cheese? Blasphemy! This recipe uses butternut squash to mimic the creaminess of cheese, and is easily adapted to gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, paleo, and vegetarian lifestyles. With the right seasonings, you can't even tell there's no cheese at all.

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Ingredients:

1 butternut squash

*1/2 cup half and half

*3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp dried mustard

1/2 tsp hot paprika

2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

*1 tbsp brown sugar

*1 lb bacon

*1/2 lb elbow pasta


(See below * for dietary alternatives)

Tools:

Stove/Oven

Large knife

Spoon

Large crockpot, or baking dish

Nutribullet, blender, or food processor

Frying pan

Tongs

Medium saucepan

Medium stockpot

Pasta strainer

Large spoon


Directions for Squash Mac N Cheese:



Step 1. Wash the butternut squash and cut it in half lengthwise.



Step 2. Scoop out and compost the seeds and stringy guts.



Step 3. Place side by side in a crockpot, cut side up, with 1 cup of water.

Cook on high, covered, for 5 hours, or until the squash is soft. Let cool.


Alternatively, place in a large baking dish with 1 cup of water, and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until the squash is soft. Let cool.


Step 4. Scoop out the cooked squash and put half into a Nutribullet, leaving the skins behind (compost). A blender or food processor will also work. Add the half and half* and blend until smooth. Transfer to a stockpot and blend the second half of the cooked squash. Add that to the stockpot as well.



Step 5. Add butter* and heat over medium-low heat, keeping covered, and stirring occasionally.


Step 6. Add the spices and seasonings and mix well. Adjust to your taste preference as needed.


Step 7. While the squash is heating, cook bacon* until preferred doneness. I pre-cut my bacon into 1" pieces before cooking, otherwise you can coarsely chop it after cooking. Add cooked bacon to squash stockpot, leaving behind the bacon grease.




Step 8. Cook your preferred pasta* to al dente doneness. Strain and add to squash stockpot, stirring to incorporate well.



Serve when thoroughly heated.

*Options for dietary alternatives:

Gluten-Free - swap regular elbow macaroni for gluten-free.

Dairy-free - use a dairy-free unsweetened milk alternative like oat or hemp, and ghee instead of butter.

Low-carb - leave out the brown sugar and opt for a high-protein pasta, or leave the pasta out and add chunks of zucchini instead.

Paleo - substitute almond milk for the dairy, ghee for the butter, honey for the brown sugar, and go for a paleo pasta like {this one} made from chickpeas.

Vegetarian - leave out the bacon, or use your favorite fakon, use a dairy-free unsweetened milk alternative like oat or hemp, and a dash of olive oil.


Alternative meal options:

Leave out the bacon and pasta, and just enjoy this as a delicious squash soup, perfect for cooler fall weather!


Add a few handfuls of kale or spinach, corn, stewed tomatoes, or other veggies to up the nutrition factor even further.


Enjoy!


Check out these awesome other recipes: Candied Brussels Sprouts from Fits a Mama Bear

Roasted Beet Soup from Fits a Mama Bear Mashed Sweet Potatoes from The Pistachio Project

Low Carb Green Bean Casserole from Wholesome Yum

Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables from Small Footprint Family






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