This Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese will blow your mind. Recently my daughter asked me to make my Classic Macaroni and Cheese for dinner. The smell of the Mac and Cheese baking made me long for a bite. I was finishing up a round of Whole30 and pulled together a Whole30 friendly Mac and Cheese substitute with ingredients I had on hand. I shared the process on Instagram and everyone loved it. This Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese was so unbelievably delicious and wholesome that I just had to share the recipe here!
I first learned about spaghetti squash when I was working at Marketing agency in New York City. One of my coworkers pulled a bowl of spaghetti squash from the microwave, while I was waiting for a turn to reheat my lunch. As an immigrant, living with my parents I mostly ate what my mother cooked and she was certainly not cooking this.
Over the years I've cooked my fair share of spaghetti squash and it is now part of my regular diet. It is nature's spaghetti and a great substitute for pasta dishes if you're gluten free or on a low carb diet. This squash is low in calories, nutrient dense and linked to many health benefits. To read more about this vibrant vegetable click here.
Cooking Spaghetti Squash
My preferred method of cooking spaghetti squash is to roast it in the oven, but there are also recipes with instructions for cooking it in the instant pot. Like this one! I haven't tried this yet (not sure why) but it looks quick and easy which is right up my alley.
To roast the quash in the oven:
- Start by cutting the squash in half (length wise), then scooping out the guts (stringy bits inside) and seeds
2. Drizzle with olive oil and salt
3. Place face down on a sheet pan and bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your squash or until a fork can easily pierce the exterior.
4. Remove from the oven and using a fork shred the flesh of the squash until it separates into spaghetti like pieces
Nutritional Yeast and its role in this recipe
Nutritional yeast is a yeast species that is "grown specifically to be used as a food product. The yeast cells are killed during manufacturing and not alive in the final product. It is used in cooking and has a cheesy, nutty or savory flavor." It is a great source of B vitamins, protein and other trace minerals. Learn more about nutritional yeast from this Healthline.com article.
I used nutritional yeast in this recipe to add a bit of "cheesy flavor" and mimic the taste of cheese. It gives it the right hint of cheesiness and almost tricks your brain into thinking that there is actually cheese in this dish.
Making the Cashew Cream
The cashew cream is what makes this dish truly a winner. It is so easy to make. Raw cashews blended with pantry staples in a quick, less than 5 minutes process. Some people like to soak the cashews for an hour or two. I've done it both ways in my smoothie blender cup and the results were the same. Easy "cheesiness" without the work or the tummy ache from dairy!
Pulling the dish together
The hardest part of this recipe is cutting open the spaghetti squash! Once you get through that step it's smooth sailing. If you have an instant pot and steam your squash in there, that saves you on about 30 minutes of prep time. Everything else is pretty much dump, mix, bake and enjoy! I hope you give this recipe a try because it's my new favorite side dish!
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The Printable Spaghetti Squash "Mac & Cheese" Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese
For the Spaghetti squash:
- 1 whole spaghetti squash about 3 lbs
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of coarse Kosher salt
For the Cashew Cream:
- 1 ½ cups of raw cashews
- 1 cup of warm water
- 4 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
- ½ a yellow onion or 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- ½ teaspoon of table salt
- 1 teaspoon of parsley flakes or 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of spicy brown mustard
- About ½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg optional
- A pinch of smoked paprika used as a garnish
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast used as a garnish
- Individual Ramekins for baking 4-6 depending on size or a casserole baking dish
- Sheet pan or cookie sheet
- Blender or smoothie blender cup
- Large Mixing Bowl
Roasting the spaghetti squash
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise, then remove the guts and the seeds using a spoon
- Next rub olive oil over the flesh of the squash then sprinkle with the coarse Kosher salt
- Then place face down on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash)
- Remove from the heat and scoop out the flesh using a fork
- The set aside in a large mixing bowl
Making the Cashew Cream
- Add the cashews, warm water and all the other cashew cream ingredients to a blender and blend until a smooth thick sauce is formed.
- If the sauce is too think you may add a tablespoon or two of water and blend until it is a thick but pourable consistency. Then set aside
Bringing the dish together
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- To your roasted squash (in a large mixing bowl) add 2 eggs, the spicy brown mustard, parsley flakes or fresh parsley, freshly grated nutmeg (if using) and cashew cream
- Then mix together well
- Scoop mixture into greased ramekins for individual servings or into a greased casserole baking dish
- Next, dust the top of the mixture with some nutritional yeast, followed by a pinch of smoked paprika
- Bake for 20 minutes if using individual ramekins or for 30-40 minutes if using a casserole dish
- Then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving
Try one of my other favorite Fall/Winter side dishes: Sweet Potato Gratin