Kale and butternut squash mac and cheese is an easy, healthy and deliciously creamy side dish or vegetarian main that everyone’s sure to love!
I hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween this week!
We enjoyed a little neighborhood party, with pizza and wine (bourbon for me, of course) and when it started getting dark, the kiddos dragged us away for trick or treating. Here's a picture of them I posted on Facebook before we got going. (You are following me on Facebook, right?!)
Fun times had by all! Especially this morning when they got to sort their candy... and this afternoon when they sorted again and got to have a few pieces. 😋
And now here we are in November and that seems to mean full speed ahead to the holidays. With Halloween just barely behind us, we’re already being bombarded by all things Christmas.
And poor lonely little Thanksgiving is getting lost in the shuffle. 😢
Not in my house!
Sure, we maybe don’t have a ton of turkey decorations, not compared to our pumpkin and Christmas haul, but I do not decorate for Christmas until I’ve come out of my food coma from Thanksgiving.
Which can take days…
So since we’re in November and since that means the next holiday is Thanksgiving, I’m going to focus on that.
Starting with this kale and butternut squash mac and cheese that I’m bringing to Blogsgiving. It's a blogger’s get together version of Friendsgiving, which is a friends get together of Thanksgiving.
Head spinning? Don’t worry, just pull up a seat and I’ll hand you a fork and you can dive into this creamy, cheesy goodness.
All will be right with the world again.
This veggie mac and cheese, you guys. It’s everything I could ever want it to be. It’s loaded with vegetables, coated in a creamy, cheesy sauce and topped with buttery breadcrumbs that bake up nice and crispy.
You won’t want to stop eating it. And I won’t stop you!
Notes on kale and butternut squash mac and cheese:
- You can prep this ahead of time. Make the mac and cheese through step 9 and refrigerate. When you’re read to bake it, take it out of the fridge while the oven is pre-heating. Add the breadcrumb mixture, then bake, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
- You also could skip baking it - it’s pretty delicious without the crunchy topping, too. Just make sure the noodles are fully cooked and stir in all the cheese (instead of saving some to sprinkle on top).
- The crunchy topping really is killer though, so I highly suggest adding that step.
- Want a bit of spice? You can stir in ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper when you add the cheese and salt and pepper. You can also add some hot sauce at the table (I do this so the kids can have the un-spicy version).
This totally works on its own as a vegetarian main dish but you can also pair it will baked chicken or my balsamic pork tenderloin with thyme. Or turkey, if it's Thanksgiving 😉
And in honor of Blogsgiving, I’m excited to share with you all my friends’ delicious recipes - please check them out below. You’ll be able to plan your Thanksgiving menu in no time!
(I’ve also got this round-up of 45 Thanksgiving side dishes if you’re ALL about the sides like me. 😉)
And whether it’s for the holidays or just a delicious family dinner, I hope you’ll give this kale and butternut squash mac and cheese a try.
Kale and butternut squash mac and cheese
Kale and butternut squash mac and cheese is an easy, healthy and deliciously creamy side dish that everyone’s sure to love!
- 1 1 lb. box macaroni
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk, 2% or skim
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 10 oz. package frozen butternut squash, thawed
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a small handful of salt and add pasta.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Add kale to the pot in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
- Remove and drain macaroni and kale. Set aside.
- In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.
- Slowly add in milk, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth.
- Add 1 ½ cups of cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
- Add cooked pasta, kale, butternut squash, salt and pepper to the cheese mixture and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Transfer to a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining 1 ½ cups of cheese.
- In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of casserole. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
You can prep this ahead of time. Make the mac and cheese through step 9. When you’re read to bake it, take it out of the fridge while the oven is pre-heating. Add the breadcrumb mixture, then bake, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 597mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g
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Mac and Cheese is a family favorite around here and I'm loving this healthier twist that's full of veggies.
Thanks Allie! It's a fun and delicious twist!
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
Yum!! Love the addition of butternut and kale. Sounds like the perfect Blogsgiving treat!
This looks delicious! I am curious about the squash- once thawed, does it get pureed or heated up?
Hi Liz! I buy a small box of frozen butternut squash that is already cooked and pureed. (It's Birds Eye and labeled cooked winter squash.) I thaw it in the microwave so it's heated through and ready to use in the recipe. I put it in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it and microwave for 4 1/2 - 5 minutes. Hope that helps!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
I DO follow you on FB, so I saw your babes all dressed up, and they were TOO cute!!! I especially loved the video of your son counting candy... now THAT is how you do it! 😉 Glad you guys had a great time! And I'm SO glad you don't skip holidays! I can't stand that... life moves fast enough without skipping ahead, ya know? Anyways, I am swooning over this mac n' cheese, girlfriend!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the kale and butternut addition! And I love that you baked it! I adore baked mac, but Boy won't touch it, so that means I get to eat this ENTIRE dish all by myself. Hello winning at mac n' cheese! <3 Cheers, friend!
Aww, thanks Cheyanne! And haha, yes, he was hilarious in his candy sorting strategy 😉 Glad you get to keep this all to yourself - I totally eat a big bowl of it by itself and call it dinner! XO
I love healthifying mac and cheese a bit and then making a great bigggg batch of it and eating it for lunch and dinner for days! This is a beautiful dish and so, so perfect for the upcoming chilly days!
YES! That's exactly what I do too - the leftovers are delicious!
How many does it serve? Nice to see a healthy mac & cheese
Hi! I'm all about a healthier version! This can serve 6-8 as a side. Hope you give it a try!
I made this for dinner last night and me and my boyfriend loved it! I used fresh butternut squash that I roasted in the oven, since you don't get the frozen stuff here in Belgium, and I used Gouda cheese instead of cheddar because the one type of cheddar you can get here didn't look too appealing to me.
Thanks for a lovely recipe! Looking forward to having leftovers for lunch 🙂
I'm so happy to hear you loved it Daphne - thanks for sharing!! Love those substitutions too! 😊
Anamika @ Supplement Crunch
This seems to be yummy! I'm curious in regards to the skillet - the moment thawed, does it get pureed or warmed up?
Hi, the butternut squash should be thawed from frozen and then it gets mixed into the cheese sauce, as per the instructions above. So it's warmed through initially and then bakes in the oven as well. I hope that helps!