This is a wonderful fall flavored and Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe – complete with bacon!
I have to admit, when I was younger I didn’t like cheesy pasta casseroles. And by didn’t like I mean I refused to eat them.
My mom never made them, and neither did my grandma. I think the first time I got one served I asked myself why anyone would do this to pasta. Why not just eat it like normal people?
The aha-moment came later in life, when I discovered how well melted cheese pairs with carbs. And I do love me some carbs. Plus that crust on top? The best!
I often like to attempt making comfort meals a bit lighter and healthier, and even though there are a million mac and cheese recipes out there I wanted to add my own twist to a baked mac and cheese version.
The butternut squash fits nicely into this healthier recipe, as it adds so much velvety creaminess and a wonderful colour to the sauce.
The cheeses I used make a fairly mild version and the mozzarella adds a lot of melty cheesiness.
But if you prefer your butternut squash mac and cheese with some zing, feel free to swap the cheeses around, use all sharp cheddar or Gruyère or just use what you like and have on hand.
Two rashers of bacon might not sound like much, but finely chopped and evenly distributed among the pasta it adds so much flavor you really don’t need to add more.
We like to enjoy this as a main with a salad on the side, but you can serve it as a side dish just as well.
Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Bacon
- 2 slices of bacon chopped
- 1/2 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper optional
- 1 3/4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash packed
- 8 oz uncooked wholewheat pasta shapes
- 2 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar sharp cheddar or Gruyère cheese
- 2/3 cup frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- chopped parsley to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Fry the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove and set aside, leaving as much of the fat in the pan as you’d like (it’s calories and fat, but also flavor).
Combine broth, milk, and spices in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the squash, simmering until it’s tender (about 15 minutes).
In the meantime, prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
When the squash is tender, place it together with all the cooking liquid into a blender and blend until smooth (careful: hot!). Add the yogurt and blend until combined. Pour into a large bowl and combine with the mozzarella and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Toss with the pasta, the set-aside bacon and the frozen peas until evenly coated.
Lightly grease a 7x11 inch baking dish. Pour the pasta mix in and evenly sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.
Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the top golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.