With fall in full swing (have you seen those beautiful fall leaves yet?!), I’m sharing my tried and true kabocha squash macaroni and cheese. 

As much as I enjoy my extra cheesy mac and cheese (because all foods fit, y’all!), I sometimes want a meal to have a little more of a nutritious kick with cooked veggies – especially when I really don’t enjoy cold veggies/salads in the winter (just honest, not sorry). 

Thanks to the squash, my kabocha mac and cheese has a lovely bright orange hue AND it bumps up the nutrients in the meal. This quintessential fall comfort food has all the flavour without relying heavily or purely on cheese. My fave secret (not much of a secret now….) is to swap cheddar cheese for sharp cheddar cheese – it will give you that strong cheese flavour and reduces the need to use more of the milder stuff to get the same flavour.

Some parents report needing to hide veggies for their picky kids to eat them. I think it’s always important to have kids be aware and knowledgeable of the foods they’re eating, giving them the power in their eating choices to continue promoting Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility and later growing into continuing with their intuitive eating habits

However, this doesn’t always work and every child is different, so this recipe is one of those that you could integrate veggies that are not visible – sub the broccoli if your child doesn’t like it, and blend cooked cauliflower into the sauce the same way you do with the squash. 

Other tips for upping the nutrition of this meal: 

  •  Add green beans, asparagus or wilted spinach cooked with garlic, salt & pepper as a side
  • Choose a mix of whole grain pasta, protein pasta and/or fortified pasta with fibre – whatever works for your family 
  • Add cooked & chopped chicken bites, sliced-up quality sausage, or sauteed shrimp 

Now that I’ve shared one of my fave recipes; what about you? What are your favourite comfort foods? Let me know in the comments below!

Print Recipe
Kabocha Squash Mac and Cheese
Kabocha squash mac and cheese gets you that orange hue without the addition of too much cheese AND it bumps up the nutrients in the meal – win-win situation!
Kabocha Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Course Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Kabocha Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  2. Transfer peeled and cubed kabocha squash to a parchment paper lined baking sheet; drizzle olive oil; sprinkle salt & pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until very tender.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil; add macaroni.
  4. Sautee broccoli and cauliflower in a large pan. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Drain macaroni, toss with olive oil and set aside (do not rinse!).
  6. Transfer roasted kabocha squash to a food processor or blender. Puree the mixture until very smooth. You could add a knob of butter or milk if you want to make it more creamy and silky.
  7. Heat 2.5 tbsp of butter and 2.5 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it’s bubbly and fragrant, whisk in the flour. Mixture that forms is called a Roux - which is used to make thickened sauces.
  8. Turn heat to medium and slowly whisk in the milk, 1⁄2 cup at a time, waiting until each batch is fully incorporated with the roux before adding more.
  9. Mix in kabocha squash puree. Fold in sautéed veggies.
  10. When milk mixture is thick and creamy, turn off the heat, add the spices and cheese, and toss it with the pasta. Serve immediately.

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