Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

Let’s just get this out of the way right now, yes I ironically used a z in the word cheese and yes, I also put quotes around it. That’s happening and I am totally into it. OK onto the show.

My hubby is like most, a meat and potatoes man. He’s a no-frills, gimme what’s easiest, fastest and tastiest – kinda guy. Of course, being that I make most of the meals around here, I can keep his poor decision making and junk-food loving ways in check. Over the years I have proudly gotten him off soda, I have proven that a piece of good quality dark chocolate after dinner can be just as satisfying at 4 Oreos, I have convinced him that it’s possible to eat more than just meat and still eat well and my latest feat, showing him that we don’t necessary HAVE to have a starch or grain at every single meal.

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

Football season however, this is a tough time around here, it can be a hard sell on the plant-based, less processed foods. Mark LOVES football and he LOVES eating the worst foods while watching it. If he had it his way, he’d be munching on fried chicken, eating a pile of nachos, diving face first into pizza and Buffalo wings and I don’t even want to think about what sweet he’d finish it all off with. He’s always asking me to come up with fun football snacks for him and of course, I try to always deliver him a much more mindful, yet still comforting treat. He never asks me to make him something “healthier”, per se, but I am smart enough to read between the lines. He could easily go to the store and get the junk for himself, he certainly knows how to pick up the phone and order a pizza. I think deep down, though he may never admit it, he wants me to take care of him and make these better choices for him. No complaints here!

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

The folks over at Silk are challenging us with the #MeatlessMondayNight this football season. Adopting a more plant-based diet for can start with making a change just one day a week – so why not start by sidelining meat during Monday Night Football games this season?

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

I sat down this weekend asking Mark about the kinds foods that he might want while watching football, I took notes and I got to crafting recipe ideas. I went back to him and asked which sounded most exciting and he picked this Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac. This lightened-up, real food version of a vegan mac and cheese literally lit up his face. He finally trusts that when I do plant based meals, it’s as he puts it “actually really good”. I skip out on the soy-loaded store-bought sauces, the tofu, the faux butters and the fake cheeses. I just don’t trust them. Rather, I opt for using real, nourishing whole foods as a means to make a meal where you will never miss the meat. It’s a nice change of pace and I am even more inspired to create these recipes to hopefully encourage more people to turn to fruits and veggies for fun and creative meal ideas.

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

I also wanted to add an extra layer to this challenge when I was creating this recipe and I wanted to come up with something nut-free for those of you that need to avoid them. So many vegan and dairy-free mac and cheese recipes use raw cashews, which you all know I love as an ingredient, but I wanted to try something new and more versatile? I opted for Silk’s Unsweetened Coconutmilk, which is perfect for a recipe like this. It’s thick and creamy, but unlike traditional canned coconut milk, the coconut milk is much more subtle, non-detectable in a recipe like this. Feel free to use whatever non-dairy milk you prefer.

This Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac is football season ready, it’s spicy, creamy and has a little crunch and with some hearty greens and seasonal squash, we’re getting in lots of healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, too. TOUCHDOWN!

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

Will you take the #MeatlessMondayNightChallenge this football season?

Be sure to visit www.silk.com/sidelinemeat for more #MeatlessMondayNight recipes and a chance to win a giveaway!

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale “Cheezy” Mac

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Johan November 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

Hi

I can not find organic brown rice pasta any where in South Africa, what can I use as a replacement.

Many tks Johan

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2 Beth @ Tasty Yummies November 16, 2016 at 7:04 am

Any pasta will work here!

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3 Natasha January 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm

I love this recipe. I have never been a fan of mac n cheese but I love this. Made it with spinach and it was amazing I couldn’t stop eating it. I wanted to thank you for all your recipes as I have tried a few and everything turned great. You are definitely on my top list and I love your kind spirit and your beautiful soul. Namaste…

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