Hearty, rich and creamy, macaroni cheese is a comfort food classic, and this clever vegan mac 'n' cheese recipe ensures it can still be enjoyed on a dairy- and egg-free vegan diet. Sweet butternut squash adds richness to the sauce, and a crunchy crouton topping is the perfect finish. What's more, this recipe is healthy, too.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 180°C, fan 200°C. Spread the squash out on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil and toss to combine. Roast in the oven for 20 mins.
- While the squash is in the oven, cook the macaroni to pack instructions.
- Peel and chop the onion in half and add to a pan with the milk, then gently heat until bubbling. Remove the onion and set the milk aside.
- Melt the spread in a large saucepan over a low heat then slowly add the flour, whisking until a paste forms. Then slowly pour the warm milk into the paste, whisking after each addition until smooth. Once you have added all of the milk and you have a smooth liquid, bubble for 8 mins over a low heat, whisking occasionally to prevent sticking, until thick. Stir in the Marmite and English mustard.
- Once cooked, mash a third of the roasted butternut into the white sauce. Season to taste. Drain the pasta and tip it into the sauce along with the rest of the squash chunks and the baby spinach. Stir gently to combine, then transfer the mixture to a large, ovenproof dish.
- Put the croutons in a sandwich bag and gently bash with a rolling pin until they are a rough crumb-like consistency. In a bowl, add a small splash of water to the crumbs, combine and leave to stand for a few mins. Dot the halved cherry tomatoes over the top of the pasta and scatter over the crumbs. Bake in the oven for 20 mins or until golden and bubbling.
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