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Cheezy Butternut Squash Shells

dressings and sauces italian main meals pasta recipes side dishes thanksgiving Nov 12, 2021
casserole dish with pasta shells and butternut squash sauce

Butternut squash is the special ingredient in this creamy dairy-free cheese sauce for a Fall twist on vegan mac 'n cheese. I swapped shells for macaroni in the recipe to give the pasta an elevated feel but sub any pasta your family prefers with delicious results.


This versatile butternut squash pasta is perfect for a weeknight meal or serve it as one of the sides at your Thanksgiving or holiday table. 



Recipe Tips

The secret to these Cheezy Butternut Squash Shells is the creamy Butternut Squash Cheez Sauce. Batch cook it ahead of time on the weekend and this butternut squash pasta will be on the table in minutes. I like to save myself some time by using pre-peeled and cubed squash from the store.


Cashews and almond milk add creaminess to the sauce but you can also swap sunflower seeds and a nut-free plant-based milk if you're navigating nut allergies.


Serving Suggestions

Think of these Butternut Squash Shells as a base recipe to build from! Just like your generic mac 'n cheese recipe, you can zhuzh it up by stirring in your favorite add ins, such as chili or roasted vegetables. Try folding in pre-cut butternut squash "ribbons" from the store to add even more butternut squash flavor and texture.


You can also spoon the shells into a casserole, top with fried onions or breadcrumbs and bake to give it a nice top crust. As I mentioned above, you can also vary the recipe by swapping shells for any other pasta variety. 



Cheezy Butternut Squash Shells

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 6



3 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

½ yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 package jumbo shells

¾ cup raw cashews

1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

2 cups almond milk



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the squash, garlic and onion on a baking sheet with the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the shells. Cook according to package instructions. Drain and add back to the pot.
  3. When the squash is done roasting, add it to a high-powered blender along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse on high until smooth.
  4. Pour the sauce over the cooked shells and serve immediately. 


Nut Allergy? Use sunflower seeds instead of cashews. Use a nut-free plant-based milk. 


Gluten Allergy? Use gluten-free pasta instead of the shells.


Batch it up! Cheezy Butternut Squash Shells are best eaten when served. If preparing ahead of time, keep the pasta and sauce separate until ready to serve.


More Butternut Squash Recipes:


More Pasta Recipes:



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