Brussels Sprout and Butternut Mac and Cheese

Brussels Sprout and Butternut Mac and Cheese

Healthy Recipes


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Meal: Dinner
Dietary Type: Vegetarian           
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

The Dish
This veggie-forward version of mac and cheese substitutes in a varied range of wholesome ingredients. Creamy, pureed, butternut squash adds velvety texture and reduces the need for butter and heavy cream (that are called for in traditional mac and cheese recipes). The roasted Brussels sprouts are tossed in a simple seasoning of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, adding some sweet-tart balance to these otherwise earthy vegetables. We hacked the timing of this recipe so that both the mac and cheese and Brussels sprouts will be cooked, hot, and ready for the dining room table at the same time.

Like Brussels? Check out these other great recipes: Honey-Glazed Turkey Meatballs with Brussel Sprouts and ApplesLentil, Brussel Sprout, and Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Cranberry Dressing, or Fiber-Rich Slow Cooker Stew (Vegan or Omnivore).

3 cups (450 g) butternut squash, peeled and diced
1lb. (454 g) whole wheat penne pasta
1 teaspoon (1 g) onion powder
1 teaspoon (1 g) garlic powder
1 teaspoon (4 g) salt
1/4 teaspoon (.25 g) black pepper
1 cup (237 ml) milk
1 1/2 cups (150 g) shredded mozzarella
3 cups (300 g) Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) salt
pinch of black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°F / 204°C. Be sure to have 2 racks in the oven, with plenty of space between them.
  • Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add butternut squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove squash from the water using a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender.
  • Return the water to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to the instructions on the package. Once the pasta is tender, drain, rinse, and set aside.
  • Add onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon (4 g) salt,1/4 teaspoon (.25 g) pepper, and milk to the blender with the butternut squash. Puree until smooth.
  • Pour the puree into a large oven-proof skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, add 1 cup (50 g) of the mozzarella, and whisk until melted.
  • Once the mozzarella has melted, remove from the heat, add the noodles, and stir until combined. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
  • Place Brussels sprouts, olive oil, balsamic, and salt in a large bowl, toss to coat. Transfer the seasoned Brussels l sprouts to a large baking sheet and spread out in an even layer.
  • Place Brussels sprouts, in the oven, on the top rack. Place mac and cheese, in the oven, on the bottom rack. Cook the Brussels sprouts and mac and cheese for 15-20 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and cheese topping on the mac has melted and browned slightly.
  • Remove both pans from the oven and top the mac and cheese with the roasted Brussels sprouts before serving.

Vegetarian and Vegan Modifications: Feel free to use a non-dairy milk (unsweetened) and vegan cheese in place of the milk and mozzarella in this recipe.    

Gluten-Free Modifications: Gluten-free noodles work very well in this recipe. Just cook them to slightly underdone.