Mac-n-cheese that never was

Occasionally a post from here will be reblogged on another site. I am always interested to see who is interested in which recipe and I check out the blog. Fitness Over Sixty reblogged the Thai Spring Rolls and called out to all vegans to take a look at the recipe. The author introduced the re-blog by saying “I love this chef, although he is all carnivore, he knows how to cook.” I loved it. Yes I am. I eat it all (and too often too much of it). That is one reason why I am always excited to feature guest bloggers that make wonderful, healthy food. I would like to welcome a new guest blogger, Diana. She is the author of the Foodnthoughtpeddler blog and fits the bill of making wonderful, healthy food. Welcome Diana…

A few words about me and my approach to food and nutrition:

I have a “typical” NYC life – read “here, there, everywhere”, I’m a clinical social worker with a full-time hospital job, part-time private practice and a teen to raise, but no matter how busy you are, there’s always time for good food and a soul-touching conversation to be shared with family and friends, either in person or through my blog. And even though I don’t eat gluten and dairy and avoid soy and eggs as much as possible, I strive to prepare dishes that would be satisfactory to everybody (or at least provide two versions on my blog, regular and gluten/dairy free). Also, as a cancer survivor, I’m very conscious about my food choices concentrating on fresh, nutrient-dense offerings with an adequate amount of good fats and oils. Somehow it’s worked for both of us so far: I remain cancer-free for the past 5 years, and the kid appears to be not just surviving but also thriving (6 ft tall at 14:)  ).

This recipe is my son’s favorite, though he has no idea there’s no wheat, milk, cheese or butter in it, plus some added ingredient of the butternut squash. You may substitute wheat pasta or noodles for the rice ones I’m using (though I do love the taste and light texture of rice noodles, they give kind of a lazy lasagna feel). I’m using coconut milk and mozzarella style daiya cheese for this recipe (daiya is a plant-based and soy-free cheese that tastes and melts remarkably similar to mozzarella), you may substitute regular mozzarella shreds for daiya, however, I’ve never tried making this recipe with cow’s milk, but you don’t really taste the coconut milk once the dish is done. And, lastly, I love butternut and can eat it all year round, but I’m only willing to deal with it if it comes pre-cut because ordinarily you’d need a couple of sumo wrestlers to open one up and cut into some manageable pieces. My condolences to the actual people who had to work on the nice box of already cut squash 🙂

“Mac-n-cheese that never was”

2 cups of cut butternut squash
1 package or 16 oz rice (or wheat) noodles/pasta
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups of daiya (or mozzarella shreds)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs (I used gluten free)
1 tablespoon of oil spread (I used Earth Balance, soy-free too) or butter, melted
salt, spices to taste (I used Herbamare seasoning blend)
oil cooking spray
fresh herbs for garnish
optional: bacon bits or strips (I used smoked turkey bacon)
Prep time: 30-40 min (depending if you have to cut the butternut yourself), Cook time: 20 min.
Put 2 medium sized pots with water to boil, once boiling, add some salt into each of them and use one to cook noodles/pasta and the other to cook butternut.
 Both are made pretty quickly, about 5-7 minutes, so take care as not to over-cook. Drain both, rinse noodles if using rice ones and let both cool off for a couple of minutes.
In a blender (I used Magic Bullet) combine butternut, coconut milk, garlic powder and spices and blend until smooth (taste and add more spices if needed).
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Cover the bottom of a lasagna pan with an oil spray and lay out the noodles/pasta, add the butternut mixture and daiya/cheese and mix well. Combine bread crumbs and melted oil spread/butter and sprinkle over the dish.
Optional: add some bacon strips/bits on top (my son’s favorite, you say “bacon”, you see a rare occurrence on a teen’s face – a smile 🙂  ). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Cheese, Guest, kosher, Lunch, Main Dish, Pasta, Pork, Recipes, Side Dish, vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

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47 Comments on “Mac-n-cheese that never was”

  1. April 25, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    That sounds really, really good!


  2. gabriela
    April 25, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I’ve had the pleasure of eating this dish at a dinner party Diana had and it got was a crowd pleaser.


  3. April 25, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Butternut Squash Mac-N-“Cheez” is the best! I might have to try your version!


  4. April 25, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Wow, I love the colors in this dish! What an interesting idea to do a baked pasta dish with rice noodles; I’ve only been thinking to use them in traditional thai and asian-inspired boiled or pan-fried noodle dishes.


  5. April 25, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Great recipe! Thanks for reposting this!


  6. April 25, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Looks wonderful. Based on the ingredients, I think it would work well with curry seasoning and tossing in raisins for an Indian flavor or cilantro for a touch of Vietnamese flavor or possible dried cranberries for an interesting side dish to add to a Thanksgiving dinner.


  7. Somer
    April 25, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Beautiful Diana! and thanks for sharing your motivation to be plant based and your story as a cancer survivor. I’m plant based too, but follow this blog, because like the blogger on fitnessoversixty, I really think the ranting chef knows his way around the kitchen! Plus it’s easy in most cases to ‘veganise’ a recipe! Look forward to checking out your blog! That mac and not cheese looks divine.


  8. April 25, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Reblogged this on Urbannight's Blog and commented:
    Reblogging so I don’t lose the recipe before I can get it copied or printed out.


  9. April 25, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    this looks like a crowd pleaser! my picky 5 year old will eat it and my “elevated palate” husband and teen will like it too 😀 viva la (turkey or beef) bacon!!!


  10. Yelena
    April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I am a witness – it tastes amazing :))


  11. April 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Looks good. A way for me to enjoy a squash other than pumpkin. Like urbannight above, I had the same thought about adding some curry to this, but no raisins for me.


  12. April 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    OMG, this looks absolutely amazing! I make a vegan mac n cheeze, though mine does used gluten. So good :). Have you tried using almond milk to make it slightly less caloric?


  13. April 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Thank you for all your wonderful comments and testimonials (those who’ve tried in person and those who’re going to make it 🙂 )


  14. April 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    I also, had Diana’s dish at a dinner party she hosted it was delicious even my hubby who wont eat mac and cheese liked it. I’m so excited to see the recipe cause now I can make it at home.


  15. April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    Wow, I can’t wait to try this recipe!


  16. P.S. I Love Soap Co.
    April 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Sounds interesting!


  17. April 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Excellent ideas here, and good to see people finally really putting together ingredients that otherwise i have a tendency to look at in the store and say “how do I use these together??” I mean, I have very little idea what to do with butternut squash!! So thanks for that.


  18. April 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    This recipe could be awesome with or without the noodles!

    P.S. Bacon is never optional. (Don’t tell my husband I said that. He’s on a restricted diet.) 🙂


  19. April 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on Food n Thought Peddler and commented:
    Cehck me out on The Ranting Chef blog 🙂
    Pat was one of the first people to visit and like my blog, and it’s my honor to be his guest blogger.
    From the Peddler to the Chef – Cheers! 🙂


  20. Alli
    April 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Argh! I keep trying small bits of coconut (in all forms) to try to desensitize the amount to which I absolutely hate it because I see so many awesome recipes with coconut in them. If not for the coconut I would totally try this.


  21. April 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Very nice,have to try it out.


  22. April 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    What a fantastic idea! I want to send this to Silverspoon! Thanks for sharing!


  23. April 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Wow. Looks really good. I may try this next time butternut squash is in season!


  24. April 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    i have never used that type of noodle. does it taste any different than regular noodles?


  25. April 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Terry, rice noodles generally taste “lighter” than regular wheat version, but I’m using rice noodles because I’m gluten intolerant. You can make this recipe with wheat noodles/pasta if you prefer.


  26. thebeadden
    April 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    This is a must try recipe, thanks so much for sharing it. Congrats on remaining cancer free!


  27. April 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I’m getting hungy.


  28. April 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Excited to try this! I really liked hearing about how you navigate providing two versions of meals (both dairy free and with cheese).


  29. April 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    You still need to get over to the Shaker Market to check out the Mackenzie Creamery chevre. I’ll be there this Saturday, the 25th, so stop by and identify yourself! 🙂


    • April 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      I promise you it is on my list!! This Saturday I am cooking a full Thanksgiving style dinner (more than a few dishes to post here in the future). Are you there May 12th?


      • April 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

        I personally won’t be; the table will be there. I’ll be back on the 19th, though. Good luck with the dinner!


      • April 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

        You’ll also love New Creations meat. They’re doing breakfast sandwiches these days, too, so don’t eat before you come (unless you come closer to noon than 8 am.)


  30. April 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    @The Ranting Chef – I reblogged an entry of yours a couple days ago as filler as I’m going through a really busy time, so glad you like it! I have also pinned a few of your recipes, so if you get traffic going to a few of your entries without a discernible reason….. it’s probably because of Pinterest lol ;D


  31. April 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    This looks delicious! I e-mailed the recipe to myself. Thank you so much! Sometimes I think it’s hard to cook free of gluten and dairy. I’m fine w/o gluten but I do love cheese! 🙂


  32. April 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    I love your approach to food! I’m a professional chef – so you can imagine how much I love stinky cheese, butter, fatty meat, and the like… But lately I find myself more and more aware (at a quickly-aging 26 going-on 27) that I need to start feeding my BODY and not just my tastebuds! People who engage in that delicate balance between healthful cooking and gluttony always make me smile… This recipe certainly qualifies! Thanks for paying attention to the humble beginnings of my little recipe blog… and for sharing your exploration with the world! ~ M


  33. April 25, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Mmmmmmm this looks wonderful. I have a recipe using cashew cheese sauce. I love using extra virgin coconut oil, which does not leave a strong taste either.


  34. April 26, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    This looks awesome! I’ve never tried using rice noodles outside of Asian cooking but will have to give this a try. I’ll also have to look around the grocery for daiya as well – would I find it in the fridge/dairy section?


  35. April 26, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Looks and sounds scrumptious!


  36. April 26, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Reblogged this on Rapunzel's Adventures and commented:
    Love it! I really want to try this, and I may have to tweak it a bit to fit it into my food regimen but I can’t wait!


  37. April 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Vicky, daiya is usually in the fridge next to regular cheese shreds, but, honestly, you’d have to look in either higher-end stores or health food stores like Whole Foods, the package is sealed though and can even be frozen so if you see it, you can buy several packs at once.


  38. justturnright
    April 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I have two sons – this looks like something they’d like!


  39. April 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Yum! This looks great and very creative. I love the coconut flavour!


  40. April 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Reblogged this on Crystal Simmons Blog and commented:
    I just absolutely love this recipe and I will be making for lunch tomorrow.


  41. calmyourbeans
    May 4, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Reblogged this on calmyourbeans.


  42. May 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Hi. I find this site and i like your post! Good post . Have you more threads or other, publish. Please send me? I like it!



  1. Have Your (Cheese)Cake and Eat It Too « Rantings of an Amateur Chef - May 24, 2012

    […] food to the table. If they have a different culinary viewpoint than mine, even better. One post, Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese fit both the delicious and different boxes. I am ecstatic to have another great post from Diana who […]


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