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A Hudson Valley Chef Puts a Healthy Spin on Mac and Cheese

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Adobe Stock | Photo by myviewpoint

No one will suspect the easy and decadent mac and cheese recipe, crafted by the culinary pro behind Berben & Wolff’s, is vegan.

Craving a healthy alternative to fall comfort food in the Hudson Valley? Enter this mac and cheese recipe by Joey Berben of Berben & Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen in Albany. Not only is it cozy and delicious, but it’s also healthy and 100-percent vegan. How, you ask? The secret is all in the creamy butternut squash sauce. When mixed with nutritional yeast and chickpea miso, the sauce takes on a creamy goodness that will sway even the most steadfast standard mac lovers.

“I chose to include my Baked Butternut Mac and Cheese recipe because this will, without a doubt, be a crowd pleaser at any holiday party or family dinner,” says Joey Berben of Berben & Wolff’s.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

5 cups macaroni noodles, dry
6 cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil (or as needed)
2 cups non-dairy milk
1/4 cup chickpea miso
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
Bread crumbs
Dried parsley (optional)
Dried oregano (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cook macaroni in salted water for 7 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Cook butternut squash in boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Cook cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Saute onions, garlic, and red bell pepper in oil until onions are translucent and garlic and pepper are soft.

In a large bowl, add macaroni and 4 cups of the cubed butternut squash.

Place all remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy.

Add “cheese” mixture into the bowl with the macaroni and remaining butternut squash and mix well.

Pour into a greased baking dish and top with bread crumbs.

Cover with lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes; remove lid or foil, then bake an additional 5–10 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Related: These Mini Mac and Cheese Cupcakes Are Too Cute

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