Butternut Squash Muscle Mac


Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and I've been testing out new recipes to share as well as bringing back some of the dishes I created for Pump Cafe's Thanksliving Day Bowl. First one I'm sharing is a much healthier dairy free, gluten free version of Mac and Cheese. 

Muscle Mac, name cred to my fierce friend Bridget, was Pump's best selling dish. So much so there were multiple requests for me to provide a family size version to share at Thanksgiving. While that one was served on a bed of zucchini and butternut squash noodles, I wanted to make a more indulgent, higher protein version for my family gathering as I don't eat turkey and tofurkey is not my jam.  Just can't get past that name. 😝

There's an array of plant based noodles available now, and most are preservative free.  I used Pow pasta which I discovered on Food Network's "The Kitchen." (I love that show!)  It's made with only lentil and quinoa flour. Per serving it has 14 g protein! I found it at Giant here in Maryland, and it is really good! 

For a savory note, I mixed in coconut bacon, which I SUPPOSE you can replace with real bacon if you eat meat and for more green, I mixed in arugula which is completely optional and not necessary for the dish. 

Simply cook up all elements separately then mix together. You can keep the Mac in a casserole dish and heat up when ready to serve.  You may need to double the quantities for family size. 

While this dish is not complicated, why not start practicing this weekend!

Mac N Cheese Sauce (Makes 3 cups)

Coconut Milk, Light, Canned, 1/2 cup (I used Native Forest)

Butternut Squash, steamed till soft, 2 cups (1 Butternut Squash will be enough)

Cashews, soaked (if no time to soak, it's no worries, you may need to add more coconut milk), 1 cup (measured when dry)

Nutritional Yeast, 4 Tbsp

Turmeric, 1/2 tsp

Black Pepper, dash

Sea Salt, 2 tsp


1. Place everything in high speed blender in order as ingredients are listed. Blend till you have a funnel and smooth. Add more coconut milk as needed. 


1 Box of Pow Lentil Pasta (or any noodle of choice)


1. Cook as directed on box. 

Coconut Bacon (this is for a big batch. Use as much as you want in the mac and then freeze the rest)

Coconut Flakes, unsweetened, 3 cups

Tamari, 3 Tbsp

Maple Syrup, 1.5 Tbsp


1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix coconut flakes with tamari and maple syrup. You can do so right on the baking pan.

2. Spread coconut flakes in an even layer on parchment paper lined baking pan.

3. Bake until crispy. 12-14 minutes. 

Optional ingredients:


Paprika, sprinkled on top. 

I love to see your creations! If you give this a go please tag #sexystartsinthekitchen!

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