Macaroni and cheese is one of those classic dishes where you don’t need to get fancy to impress, but I’m really excited to be sharing this recipe where I “healthify” a classic! I’ve been hiding veggies for 5 years now and Butternut Squash and Parsnip Mac-n-Cheese is one of the easiest recipes to get away with it.
A few years ago I fell in love with butternut squash when I made butternut squash mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. I quickly realized after baking it that the consistency was perfect to add to mac-n-cheese sauce. The key here though is the color of the squash because it blends right in with the cheese.
Both butternut squash and parsnips have subtle tastes as well so your guests (or my almost 6-year old) will never know!
There are several health benefits of butternut squash like boosting your immune system with vitamin C and parsnips are great in fiber so these are no brainer options for “healthifying” your mac-n-cheese. Especially with little ones running around!
Macaroni and cheese is a classic comfort food that almost everybody loves right? Noodles covered in creamy gooey cheeses. Well, since it will be getting colder soon why not enjoy your traditional warm dish with an extra healthy twist.
- 1/2 of a medium butternut squash
- 1 medium parsnip
- 1 16oz box of rotini or your favorite choice pasta
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
- 2 cups milk whole milk
- 8 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully cut a whole butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds (store the other half for another recipe)
- Clean parsnip and cut lengthwise
- Drizzle half the squash and parsnip with olive oil and place it on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up.
- Roast it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until fork tender
- Cook the macaroni until al dente
- When the squash is roasted and tender, scrape out the flesh and add to a blender
- Cut up the parsnip into small pieces and add to blender
- Add a few splashes of milk to the blender and puree until smooth
- While you're roasting the squash, add the butter to a large skillet over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally
- When butter is melted, sprinkle over the flour and whisk it to make a thin paste.
- Cook it for 2 minutes then whisk in the milk
- Cook it, whisking gently, for a couple of minutes or until slightly thick
- Add the cheese to the roux to allow the cheese to melt and thicken
- Add the squash and parsnip to the cheese sauce and mix
- Add butternut squash and parsnip cheese sauce to the pasta; if the sauce is too thick add splashes of milk until you reach your desired thickness
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Enjoy immediately!
If you “healthify” you mac-n-cheese let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Also check out another kid approved recipe with Simple & Sweet Spinach Cupcakes.