Butternut squash mac n cheese is a healthy and delicious dish you can whip up for your baby, toddler, or whole family. This recipe uses squash, bone broth, cheese, and spices. Soft, creamy noodles with a healthy butternut squash sauce makes for a sweet and savory recipe everyone will love.
This butternut squash macaroni and cheese makes for an easy, healthy lunch or dinner recipe. Filled with delicious flavors of squash, bone broth, cheese, and spices, this is also a wonderful homemade toddler meal idea.
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WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
First, it’s easy to prepare. Every fall and throughout winter, I like to buy butternut squash at the grocery store. I skin it, chop it, roast it, and then puree it for various dishes. Sometimes I’ll throw a bunch in the fridge or freezer if I’m not sure what I want to do with it yet. So this is a great recipe to use up your squash. Of course, you could also use canned butternut squash.
Second, my toddler loves it! She started eating this when she was a little over one year old. It’s got much healthier ingredients than traditional or even boxed mac n cheese. Talk about a sneaky way to get vegetables in their diet. And bone broth, too! I love having homemade toddler meal ideas on hand at all times.
Finally, its just so comforting. Whether it’s 40 degrees and sunny, or 25 degrees and snowy, this healthy homemade mac n cheese with butternut squash welcomes you with warm, open arms. While I love eating fresh veggies, fish, and grilled foods in the summer, this is the kind of dish I crave during the cold months. However, it’s ingredients are available all year round, so you could easily make this a summer staple as well.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Butternut squash is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene. It also contains magnesium and potassium, both help to contribute to bone and cell health. Visit this link to read more information on all the amazing health benefits of butternut squash.
I try to make it a goal to always cook nutrient-dense food for my family. Think about this – back in the day there were no multivitamins or supplements. People got all the nutrients they needed from food itself. I’m not saying vitamins and supplements are bad, but I feel it’s more important to try to get your daily nutrients from food first. Knowing which vitamins and minerals our food gives us can help us protect our immune systems, reduce risks of diseases, and let us live a long and healthy life.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH
The making of bone broth dates back to when our ancestors wanted to use every part of an animal for nutrition. Bones contain high amounts of collagen and cartilage. Collagen and cartilage are both used today to help fight bone and joint issues from arthritis to even cancer.
Bone broth is healing to your gut and digestive system. It contains electrolytes that aid in your body’s ability to assimilate and absorb nutrients.
I drink our homemade bone broth just about every day. And I notice a marked difference in my hair, skin, and nails after drinking bone broth consistently. So, no matter which nutrient you’re hoping to get from a bone, you’ll get that and more by making your own bone broth from scratch.
Check out this link for a complete list of bone broth benefits from the Medical News Today newsletter.
MORE RECIPES FOR BABIES OR TODDLERS
Looking for more recipes for your baby or toddler? My daughter also really loves this creamy pumpkin carrot pasta sauce, which I pour over just about any meat and she loves it.
MORE RECIPES THAT USE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Homemade Ravioli with Butternut Squash Filling
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HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC & CHEESE
One box of pasta (I like to use einkorn penne, but any one will do)
1 medium sized butternut squash, roasted and pureed (you could also use 2 cups canned butternut squash)
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (note: you can mix and match here; 1 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup parmesan, for example!)
3/4 cup bone broth (learn how to make your own bone broth here)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or 1 tbsp dried sage)
Salt (for boiling water)
Extra Virgin Olive oil (for pasta)
In a large stovetop pot, boil water with a heavy pinch of salt.
In a medium sauce pan, combine all the ingredients except the pasta. Stir on medium-low heat until a thick sauce is formed. Keep in mind your butternut squash might vary in size, so if your mixture is looking too thick just add more bone broth 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente, meaning cooked but still somewhat firm. Then strain it and return to the pot. Add olive oil and salt, enough to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Lastly, add the butternut squash mixture and stir to combine. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and sage leaves as desired and enjoy!
Note: for a fun kick, try adding a few pitches of paprika or red pepper flakes at the end!
How do you cook butternut squash?
First, start with a whole butternut squash. Use a squash peeler to peel the skin off; it should come off pretty easily. Then use a sharp knife to slice it in half down the middle. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Next, I like to chop up the squash into cubes, then place them on a parchment-lined baking tray. Drizzle with avocado oil, sprinkle salt, and roast at 390 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Once finished, let cool and the squash is ready to be pureed. To puree in this recipe, simply add them to the pot with the bone broth only and use an immersion blender to combine. It will puree very easily this way!
Another option is, you can slice the butternut squash in half and roast it in two halves. Then once it’s done, you would scoop the butternut squash out.
I like the first method because the squash cooks faster, and I would rather do chopping than have to scoop the squash out. Also, you get to have chopped butternut squash on hand, which is good for salads, tacos, or just snacking!
Is butternut squash good for toddlers?
Yes! Butternut squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It has many health benefits for both you and your baby or toddler. It also tastes great, making an easy food for babies to enjoy!
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Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese
Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese is creamy and savory, with notes of cinnamon and the sweetness of squash. I love serving this up to my baby/toddler, or just to my husband and I on a cold fall day.
- One box of pasta (I like to use einkorn penne, but any one will do)
- 1 medium sized butternut squash, roasted and pureed. Note: for pureeing instructions, see post. You could also use 2 cups canned butternut squash.
- 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (note: you can mix and match here; 1 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup parmesan, for example!)
- 3/4 cup bone broth (learn how to make your own bone broth here)
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or 1 tbsp dried sage)
- Salt (for boiling water)
- Extra Virgin Olive oil (for pasta)
- In a large stovetop pot, boil water with a heavy pinch of salt.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine all the ingredients except the pasta. Stir on medium-low heat until a thick sauce is formed. Keep in mind your butternut squash might vary in size, so if your mixture is looking too thick just add more bone broth 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente, meaning cooked but still somewhat firm. Then strain it and return to the pot. Add olive oil and salt, enough to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Lastly, add the butternut squash mixture and stir to combine. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and sage leaves as desired and enjoy!
For a fun kick, try adding a few pitches of paprika or red pepper flakes on top 🙂