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Healthy Alternative to Your Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese

Healthy Alternative to Your Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese

My family has a Macaroni and cheese recipe they have passed down for generations. My grandma never made it any different until she found a healthier version that everyone loved. The recipe she found on Healthy substitutes butter and cream for butternut squash. It allows you to sneak veggies into your kids dinner and increase your intake as well. If you’d like to try this healthy alternative to your Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese, keep reading!


  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash, (1 small butternut squash, about 2 pounds)
  • 16 ounces short pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika, optional
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (freshly shredded works best)


Prep Squash

  1. Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way with water and bring the water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the top and bottom off the butternut squash, peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, and scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Chop squash into one-inch pieces and transfer into the pot of boiling water.
  3. Boil the squash, uncovered, until tender, about 12-14 minutes. Drain squash into a colander.

Cook Pasta

  1. For a one-pot meal, refill the pot you used to cook the squash with water and bring water to a boil to cook the pasta. Drain pasta once it’s just short of al dente.

Make Sauce

  1. While the pasta is cooking, transfer the cooked squash to a blender and add milk, paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend until a smooth sauce forms.
  2. Add sauce back to the now-empty pasta pot and heat on medium heat until warm. Add cheese and stir until melted. Then add noodles, stir, and serve immediately. If sauce becomes too thick, add another splash of milk.
  3. Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.


6 servings total

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 17g |Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 4g

Butternut Squash Nutrition Facts  

According to Healthline, butternut squash has many nutrients and few calories. For instance, one cup of cooked butternut squash only has 82 calories but has 7 grams of fiber. It contains nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium, and is an excellent source of iron as well.

Butternut Squash

Build a Healthy Lifestyle

Our diet will never be perfect but making small changes helps us build a healthy lifestyle. To read about a few differences between lifestyle changes and dieting, click here.