Vegan Butternut Mac’n Cheese with Crispy Coconut Chips

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Mac’n and cheese is an all-time favorite recipe and today, we’re veganizing it in just a few easy steps while adding a little extra crunchiness with some delicious crispy coconut chips. For this recipe, we teamed up with Sur La Table to highlight GreenPan’s new Craft Collection, which now includes 25-40% more cooking space and a snag-free surface all the way around.  In case you aren’t familiar with GreenPan yet, they’re the inventors of ceramic nonstick and their pans are our favorite because they’re 100% Toxin-Free, eco-friendly, durable and so much fun to cook with. 

This recipe is easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes. The creaminess comes from butternut squash and vegan cheddar-style cheese shreds. We’ve also added some fresh broccoli for some hidden greens, making this a great dish for kids as well. 

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The Craft Collection is what happens when cooks make nonstick cookware. It’s ultra heat conductive and designed for crafting rich, sumptuous flavors you can’t help but savor. Their diamond-infused ceramic nonstick does everything you thought nonstick couldn’t do—sear, braise and deglaze with its ultra-durable, ultra-conductive coating.

Step one: Prep the veggies and other ingredients 

Start by peeling the butternut squash and removing the seeds, then cutting it into 1/2 to 1 inch sized cubes. The smaller the cubes, the quicker your butternut will cook, so make sure they’re not too big. The easiest way to peel the squash is either with a vegetable peeler or a large, sharp knife. If you’re using a knife, cutting the squash in half first will make this task a lot less risky! Since butternut squashes come in many different sizes, you may have some leftover (you’ll only need 4 cups of cubed squash for this recipe), which you can either keep in the fridge and use the same week or freeze in a reusable container and use in a soup or veggie stir fry within the next few months. 

Right after prepping the butternut squash, chop your onion and mince your garlic cloves. They’ll be blended up in the next step, so don’t worry about the shape you’re cutting them into, you can chop, dice or slice, whichever works best for you. 

Since the sauce will take the longest, simply have the other ingredients ready, but no need to think about how to cut or prep them yet. 

Step two: Make the butternut base for the mac’n cheese sauce

In your 10” GreenPan Craft skillet, start sautéing the squash, onions and garlic in the olive oil (you’ll find a list of all ingredients and the exact measurements at the end of this post) over medium heat. Since this skillet has a lot more room than 10” pans usually do, the veggie will easily fit. Sauté for 5 minutes and then add 1 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth. Set the remaining 1/2 cup aside for later. Then set a timer for 20 minutes (the total cooking time is 25 minutes). 

Step three: Cook the pasta & broccoli

While the butternut is cooking in the broth, you can start cooking the pasta in your 12” GreenPan Craft Skillet with lid. You can use any pasta you like, but we used elbow pasta since it’s the kind that is used in traditional mac’n cheese dishes. They’re also quick to cook, making them extra convenient. If you’re using the same kind, the cooking time should say 5 minutes, but be sure to double check the package instructions. In order not to overcook the pasta, you’ll want to reduce the indicated cooking time slightly since you’ll be cooking it again with the pasta sauce. Instead of 5 minutes, only cook them for about 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, chop the broccoli into bite-sized florets. You could steam them separately, but we love to just add the florets to the pasta right before draining it. It’ll still be crispy and you’ll save time and an extra step. Note: you can use lentil or rice pasta to make a gluten-free alternative. 

Once the pasta is drained, set it aside and start making the crispy coconut chips. 

Step four: Make the crispy coconut chips

In your 8” GreenPan Craft skillet, mix the coconut chips with the seasonings, olive oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke and maple syrup. You’ll want each coconut chip to be coated, but they shouldn’t be drowning in liquid, so if you’ve accidentally added a little too much, just make sure you remove a little using a kitchen towel. Over medium heat, sauté the chips for about 3 minutes, watching them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. They should be golden brown. Set them aside. 

 

Step five: Everything comes together!

Now on to the final step, where everything comes together. Blend the butternut base with the seasonings and the unsweetened cashew milk and then pour it over the pasta and broccoli in the 12” GreenPan Craft Skillet. Add the vegan cheese shreds and cook everything over medium heat until the cheese melts. This is where you’ll want to add the remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth while you’re mixing everything with a wooden spoon or spatula. This step should take about 3 minutes.

Serve everything in bowls topped with the crispy coconut flakes. You can store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. 

Print

Vegan Butternut Mac’n Cheese with Crispy Coconut Chips

  • Author: Best of Vegan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 generous or 6 smaller servings

Description

This recipe is easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes. The creaminess comes from butternut squash and vegan cheddar-style cheese shreds. We’ve also added some fresh broccoli for some hidden greens, making this a great dish for kids as well. 


Ingredients

Ingredients for the Butternut Cheese Sauce: 

  • 1 small butternut (4 cups), peeled & Cubed  
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie broth  + 1/2 cup 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 8oz cheddar-style vegan cheese shreds 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk (you can also use 1 tbsp cashew butter instead, which will make it a little creamier, or simply omit if you don’t have unsweetened cashew milk or butter at hand)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 pinch freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard seed (optional, can be subbed with 2 tsp mustard)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 box of elbow pasta (1lb)
  • 1 1/2 liters lightly salted boiling water 

Ingredients for the Crispy Coconut Chips:

  • 1/2 cup coconut chips 
  • 1/2 tsp soy or tamari sauce 
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil 
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp liquid smoke 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup 

Instructions

  1. In your 10” GreenPan Craft skillet, sauté the squash, onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes and then add 1 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth. Set the remaining 1/2 cup aside for later and set a timer for 20 minutes (the total cooking time is 25 minutes).
  2. While the butternut is cooking in the broth, start cooking the elbow pasta in your 12” GreenPan Craft Skillet with lid. The cooking time on the package should say 5 minutes, but in order not to overcook it, only cook it in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and add them to the pasta right before draining it.
  4. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  5. To make the crispy coconut chips: In your 8” GreenPan Craft skillet, mix the unsweetened coconut chips with the seasonings, olive oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke and maple syrup. You’ll want each coconut chip to be coated, but they shouldn’t be drowning in liquid, so if you’ve accidentally added a little too much, just make sure you remove a little using a kitchen towel.
  6. Over medium heat, sauté the chips for about 3 minutes, watching them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. They should be golden brown. Set them aside.
  7. Blend the butternut base with the seasonings and the unsweetened cashew milk and then pour it over the pasta and broccoli in the 12” GreenPan Craft Skillet.
  8. Add the vegan cheese shreds and cook everything over medium heat until the cheese melts.
  9. Add the remaining 1/2 cup vegetable broth while you’re mixing everything with a wooden spoon or spatula. This step should take about 3 minutes.
  10. Serve everything in bowls topped with the crispy coconut chips.

Notes

  1. You can store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. 
  2. Instead of vegan cheese, you can also use 1 cup of soaked cashews with 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast and a little extra broth or unsweetened cashew milk. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, sunflower seeds work too.

Shop the Craft Collection

About Sur La Table:  Sur La Table is where you’ll find everything you’ll ever need to cook the perfect dishes, from cookware to kitchen tools and home decor.

About GreenPan: As the inventors of healthy ceramic non-stick cookware, GreenPan is the trusted go-to for non-stick, easy-to-clean and easy-to-use pots and pans.

 

Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by GreenPan. All opinions expressed are our own. 

Photography & Text: Kim-Julie Hansen.

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