Creamy Butternut Mac ‘N’ Cheese
We’re back! From Bali that is. Back straight into a mid-winter style storm here in Auckland nonetheless, with power outages and roadside tree carnage everywhere. That has certainly been a rude awakening after two weeks of hot sultry summer bliss!
The upside though, my friends, is that now we get to legit pull out the winter comfort food. Yep, I know it’s April, but if you’d been in NZ the past few days, you’ll be feeling me here. You ready for Mac ‘n’ Cheese gone healthy…?
Yep, this moreishly Creamy Butternut Mac n Cheese is…
- Just 8 easy ingredients to make;
- Done in under 30 (perfect mid-week din option);
- Made sweet and creamy thanks to a whole butternut pumpkin, coconut milk, and a scant sprinkle of cashews;
- Easy to make gluten free with your fav GF pasta of choice; and
- The best creamiest mac n cheese you’ll ever taste! Ain’t no dairy needed.
So, rug up by the fire, and give this mac ‘n’ cheese a go. I’ve included a little run down on some of my fav Bali eats as well (which you can view in person on my Insta stories highlights here), as lots of you have been asking for this. And if you’ve never been to Bali, or aren’t planning a trip anytime soon, have a browse over just for inspiration sake, and bookmark this post for one day when you do!
First things first, how have I made this mac ‘n’ cheese, without cheese, you might ask? With a combination of coconut milk and dash of cashews (for the creaminess), and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and sea salt to add that ‘cheesy’ flavour.
I’ve used my favourite coconut milk from Little Island here in NZ. It’s sourced fairly and ethically, but bottled up here in NZ by a local company who’s all about plant-based living. Most coconut creams you buy are very thick, but this one is perfectly blended to act just like a ‘milk’, meaning its light and tasty, perfect for adding to drinks, or as a substitute for dairy milk. It also has a really light subtle flavour, making it delicious for adding to recipes when you don’t necessarily want a massive coconut vibe going on (such as in mac ‘n’ cheese – no no, we want a cheesy vibe). Blended up with a tiny handful of cashews to balance the flavours, a dash of nutritional yeast and salt for ‘cheese’, and then a whole roasted butternut pumpkin for added creaminess and sweetness, it’s the most delicious cheesy sauce you’ll try! Don’t take my word for it though, put this bad boy on the menu this week.
If you’re still filling your fridge with dairy milk every week out of habit, then consider moving to something like this Coconut Milk instead. Start using as you would your regular milk – in drinks, on muesli or porridge, or in cooking like I’ve done here, and after a few weeks, you won’t even know the difference! So much better for your body and soul too (to read more in the downsides of dairy, check out part one of my dairy series here, to be completed in the near coming weeks).
Bali Low Down
Meanwhile, Bali – for the keenies.
I filmed quite a bit of our travels (ok who am I kidding, mainly our eats) on my Insta stories while we were away, and have saved all that in a highlight up top so you can head over and watch that to your hearts content if you’re keen on knowing where to eat in Bali! I did reviews, like I do in NZ, on a tonne of restaurants/cafes/warungs (local eateries) we went to, or some, we ate the food too quickly and all you got was an aftermath shot. Sorry!
Here’s a wee list of some of my favs, broken down into the 4 regions we visited. I’ve listed them in order with my absolute top favs first (and thus must visits for you!).
- Ulekan (funky modern local cuisine – so good!)
- Peloton Supershop (vegan, super awesome varied menu – very fresh and healthy)
- Two Trees Eatery (new! And AMAZING – go here, amazing vegan food)
- The Shady Shack (a vege institution in canggu – def worth a visit, for the views out to the rice fields alone. And the cakes)
- Green Ginger Noodle House (delish vegetarian noodle inspired dishes! Pan Asian fare – yum)
- Bali Bowls (the classic Bali smoothie bowl joint – I’ll be sharing my take with you next week on the blog!)
- Ruko Café (delish healthy lunch options)
- Milk & Madu (more yummy healthy lunch options, cool staff)
- Nude (last choice, but still a goodie if you’ve done all the above!)
Bingin Beach (near Uluwatu)
- The Cashew Tree (vegan fare, cool live music on Tuesday nights – check out my insta stories for Mila dancing!)
- The Inn Possible (we actually stayed here, but come up for a meal for the view! Super local traditional eats, but tasty as – the local lady makes it in this tiny as kitchen and it tastes amazing. View = 10/10)
- Bukit Café (lots of vege options)
Nusa Penida (quiet remote island – off the beaten tourist track = amazing!)
- Warung Pondok (amazing local cuisine, very authentic, on the beach)
- Penida Colada (modern Balinese, right on the beach)
- Seabreeze Warung (I think this is what it was called – nearby penida colada, with amazing live music – I can’t find it on google now though! Food was fabulous and the staff were SUPER cool. Mila got up and sang with the band behind a mic for at least 45 minutes!)
Ubud (vegan yogi mecca)
- Moksa Plant Based Cuisine (amazing raw and warm vegan food!)
- Seeds of life (raw, vegan, so good – raw vegan cooking classes I believe also – been around for years and still solid as)
- Sayuri Healing Café (all vegan, lots of raw, delicious – do raw vegan cooking classes too)
- Atman Nourish Kafe (the new outlet, not the old one – this one’s all vegetarian due to so much demand for the vege part of their menu at the original Atman! Now we’re talking people…)
- Earth Café (all vegan, massive menu – a classic)
- Clear Café (super stylish and beautiful, healthy, service a little sad though)
I think that’s everything. If you’ve been to any of the above and also loved them, let me know! Or if there a blatant miss that I had, I’d love to hear that too (never know… we might go back one day…?)
If you want any other tips on travelling around Bali let me know – but my main suggestions would be to get up early, walk early, then stay inside/air con/by the pool between 11am-3pm (I go heat stroke and headaches/felt nauseous at least 5 days for not doing this!). AND, make sure you don’t just hit up the quasi Euro vegan restaurants either – be sure to visit lots of the local warungs! We went to a tonne of these as well, but of course I don’t have their names unfortunately. Favourite dishes were the Nasi Goreng (fried rice with vegetables, tempeh and tofu), Gado Gado (steamed veges with tempeh, tofu, peanut sauce and crackers), Jukut Urab (mixed vege salad with beans, spinach, sprouts, coconut, with sweet and sour flavours), and Forbidden Sticky Black Rice Pudding (sticky black rice, cooked with coconut milk, sugar, and topped with banana and mango sometimes – so good).
That’s in from me! Hope you enjoy the Mac ‘N’ Cheese, and would love to hear how you get on with it. OR if you’re planning a trip to Bali, or have been to some of these spots too! Tag me if you make the mac, on Insta with @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics; on my FB page here; or just drop me a line in the comments below. I love hearing from you, so if you’ve made one of my recipes lately, LET ME KNOW! It’s the best feedback a crazed plant-based food and nutrition addict can get.
Have a fabulous weekend, keep warm, and til next week, stay happy and well.
PS If you like this recipe, I’d love you to pin it on Pinterest, share it on Facebook, post your recreation on Instagram (tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics), or share it with your family and friends. Also, if you’re not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, be sure to do that here, and don’t miss my next recipe video by signing up to my YouTube here.
And, if you’re interested in one-on-one advice, I have a small number of Naturopathic and Nutrition consultations available each week, either in person or via Skype – you can find more information on those here.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1 butternut pumpkin 600 g
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 350 g whole wheat pasta 12 oz
- 2 c coconut milk
- 1/4 c cashews
- 1/4 c nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Smoked paprika
- Fresh thyme/oregano
- Sun-dried tomato pesto optional
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (390 °F) on fan bake.
- Slice the top off the butternut pumpkin, cut in half, remove the seeds, then chop into small cubes ~1.5cm in size. Place in a baking tray with the garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil, then shake to cover well. Bake for 20 minutes until soft and golden.
- Meanwhile, boil a jug of water, then cook pasta according to packet directions until al dente (firm to bite). Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Blend the roasted pumpkin and garlic with the remaining sauce ingredients (milk, cashews, nutritional yeast and salt) until silky smooth, then add the pasta and stir through.
- Serve in bowls topped with paprika and fresh thyme or oregano, with a green salad on the side.
- Make it gluten-free: use your favourite gluten-free pasta - I love this delicious red lentil penne here.
- Make it nut free: use watermelon seeds or sunflower seeds instead of cashews. Alternatively, you can use 1/4 c of the thick coconut cream from the top of a can of coconut cream that’s been in the fridge.
- Make it paleo: use kelp, zucchini, daikon, or parsnip noodles.
- Make it keto: use kelp, zucchini, or daikon noodles.
- I’ve used butternut pumpkin here, but feel free to sub with your favourite pumpkin or squash - butternut, buttercup, crown - they all work really well! Butternut though has a particularly sweetness to it which I love.
- I love this with a good dollop of my sun-dried tomato pesto on top as well, so if you've got a spare 5 minutes definitely whip it up to pair with this pasta dish!