Creamy macaroni

Creamy macaroni
When I woke up this morning, I had no idea what I was going to do with my butternut squash.  I had some ideas, and honestly the idea of making it into a sauce didn't really cross my mind.  
As I looked through my cupboards and fridge for inspiration, I saw a head of cauliflower that I needed to use.  So, now I had two ingredients, and still no idea.  The winning inspiration came when I looked in the fridge.  There was a jar of mild salsa.  Somehow that little jar inspired me to make a sauce for macaroni noodles.  
I hesitate calling it a cheese sauce.  It is not cheese.  Cheese is cheese, and anything else is not.  So I will instead just call it a yellow/orange sauce.  You can call it what you want.  What I will call it though is delicious!  Super flavor combined with a crispy top, making lunch or dinner amazing.  You could use this as a main dish, or a side.  The sauce could also be used on a baked potato.  


1 medium butternut squash (1 1/2-2 lbs.) peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 of a head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
1 cup cooked white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2c nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt (optional, but helps)
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric 
1/4 tsp. paprika (you could use smoked if you wanted)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch or potato starch
1 cup good, chunky salsa

1 lb. cooked macaroni noodles (make according to package directions, rinse in cold water after to prevent sticking, strain well)
1/2 cup bread crumbs.  

In a large pot, combine the squash and cauliflower, fill with enough water to cover.  Set on stove, over medium high heat, cover and bring to a boil.  When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the squash is tender but not overcooked.  The cauliflower will be done at that point too.
Strain and set aside.

In a blender, combine the rice, water, spices and corn starch.  Blend until smooth.  Add the drained squash and cauliflower, blend until very smooth. 
After blending, stir in the salsa.  Make sure it is blended well.
In the pot you cooked the squash, pour the noodles in, and add just over half the sauce.  Mix well.  You will want it to be very creamy, so add a little extra.
After mixing, pour the noodle mix into a 9x13 cooking pan.

Cover with bread crumbs.  I sprinkled a little chili powder over the bread crumbs, but that is optional.

Let sit for a few minutes.  While it is sitting, turn the oven on to 375*.  When it comes to heat, place the noodles into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top gets crispy.
Serve while hot, and enjoy! 
You will have sauce left over.  I just put in a 1 quart jar, and into the fridge.  I have plans for it going over potatoes, veggies, chips.........
I hope you try this recipe, and that you enjoy it as much as I did.

 **If you want it extra creamy, add more sauce before baking.  As it bakes, the noodles absorb a lot of the sauce.  We like it a little less saucy. :) 


  1. That is pure Heaven, Michael! Thank you!

  2. Anyone try it with brown rice?

  3. I made it with brown rice. I left out the nutritional yeast because I don't like it. I accidentally used hot powdered mustard instead of regular. Used a store bought salsa fresca. And I ended up using all of the sauce because I accidentally poured the cooked noodles into the whole bowl. Ok, maybe I'm too tired to be cooking.

    But it's tasty - the consistency is what I remember from mac and cheese and I like the flavors, even with the hot mustard!


    1. Oh my goodness, that sounds like you had fun with this one! Sorry it was a wild ride, but happy you liked it in the end.

  4. Ok This was awesome! We are getting roasted green chilies at the farmers market now so i used 6 of those instead of salsa. The sauce is fantastic I am thinking of making a broccoli rice cheese dish at thanksgiving with this sauce. Aslo thinking of mixing the sauce with some hot rotel and use as dip for chips. Thank you Michael!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it. The fresh chilies sound amazing!!


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