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Gluten free butternut squash mac and cheese

When I was about  eight or nine years old, my favorite night was Saturday. My mother was going “out” and she made me Kraft mac and cheese with carrot sticks for dinner.

An empty pot of gluten free butternut squash mac and cheese

An empty pot of gluten free butternut squash mac and cheese

No one could make it like my mother could, and I got upset when anyone else tried.  They just didn’t do it right. It was too milky or too dry. I look back on it now and, of course, know what the secret ingredient was—it was love. Despite the boxed, less than desirable entree and my mother not being there when I ate it, she infused the dish with love. There is a lot to be said for that ingredient.

 

This is the key to comfort food and the foods we ate as a child. Many of them were not even that great and most were far from healthy (case in point,my Kraft mac and cheese), but they filled our hearts and made us happy.

Recently, as I was testing a gluten-free butternut squash mac and cheese recipe, I got SO nostalgic. It almost resembled the taste of the Kraft mac and cheese of my youth. Of course, I had no intention of eating it, but when it was finished, I had one bite and said to myself, ”Okay, maybe just one more.” Yep, I sat down at my table and ate the whole dish. It was delightful.

This is a FABULOUS twist on the classic mac & cheese. The squash makes it very fall-tasting and the sage gives it a warming holiday taste. An added bonus is that it is gluten-free and easily made vegan with a vegan cheese.

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

4 cups butternut squash, cubed

2 cups brown rice OR quinoa elbow noodles

1 tablespoon butter

3 cups rice milk

1/3 cup brown rice flour OR quinoa flour

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon chopped sage (fresh or dried)

6 ounces raw goat Cheddar cheese (or any raw goat cheese OR vegan cheddar cheese)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

½  teaspoon paprika (to sprinkle on the top)

*all ingredients are organic and NON-GMO

 

Directions:

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and grease a 2-quart baking dish OR 4 small ramekins with butter.

2. Meanwhile, bring about 6 cups of salted water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Add squash and bring back to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer until tender—about 8 to 12 minutes. Mash the squash, and set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook for about 6 minutes –

you want them UNDERCOOKED – Gluten free noodles get mushy very fast.

Drain the noodles and set aside, saving about ¼ cup of the cooking water for the to thin the sauce if you need to

4. Whisk 1 cup of the rice milk, mustard, sage, salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth and set aside

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add remaining 2 cups of rice milk and bring to a simmer.

Whisk the flour mixture into the simmering milk, whisking constantly. Continue to cook just until the mixture bubbles and thickens, then turn the heat down.

6. Whisk the cheese into the thickened milk mixture until it is melted. Add the mashed squash and whisk until combined. Stir in the noodles and mustard mixture.

7. Transfer to the baking dish or mini casserole dishes and top with paprika.

8.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until bubbling and brown on top.

Eat slowly and savor the nostalgia. Eyes closed is optional. 

 

 

What’s  your favorite comfort food? I would love to hear! leave it in the comments below…

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