9 September 2017

Smoky Chili Butternut Mac 'n' Greens

Creamy, smoky, slightly spicy macaroni with green veg...inspired by the classic mac n cheese, with a healthier twist to make it a perfect every day meal. If you're looking for a more traditional mac n cheese - you'll find the recipe for my ultimate vegan cheese sauce here, but this is an everyday version of the comfort food...easy to prepare at the end of a long day and full of warming comfort, perfect for the damp autumn weather.

It may look like a lot of spices and if you don't already have most of these on hand, you can swap it for a couple of tsp of a mixed spiced blend that contains chili and smoked paprika..such as fajita or jerk seasoning. I love the combination of the slightly sweet butternut squash with the deeply savoury miso paste and tanginess of the vinegar and lemon juice, paired with those smokey, spicy notes....this is just so warming and feels like a hug in a bowl.

You can't taste the silken tofu in this recipe but it adds that desired creaminess when blended with the squash, not to mention some extra nutrition too! Tofu is high in protein, low in fat and contain magnesium, copper, iron and a few other nutrients too. Butternut squash is high in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and lots of others. If you can't find wholegrain macaroni, some brands are now adding fibre to pasta made with white flour, which also helps to add some extra nutrition to this everyday food. As for the greens, I used tenderstem broccoli, kale and peas which are rich in protein, fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K and iron. So as you can see, this meal is loaded with the good stuff, is warm, comforting and tastes so delicious...it's the perfect weekday...or weekend meal!

Smoky Chili Butternut Mac & Greens | Serves: 4-5 | Time: 20 mins

You'll need

  • 1 large saucepan
  • 1 small saucepan
  • Colander
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons 
  • Blender suitable for hot liquids


  • 2 cup wholegrain macaroni
  • 2 cups kale
  • 100g tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 cup peas 
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into 2cm cubes (~1/2 squash)
  • 1 block firm silken tofu 
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder*
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes 
  • 1 cup water from pasta
  • Salt and pepper
* Can sub the herbs and spices for a couple of tsp of a mixed spiced blend that contains chili and smoked paprika, such as fajita or jerk seasoning.


  1. Bring a small and a large pan of water to the boil. Peel and chop the butternut squash and boil for 10 minutes in the small saucepan, then drain and place the butternut squash in the blender. Boil the macaroni for 5 minutes, then roughly chop the broccoli and add this to the pan, cook for 2 minutes, then add the kale and peas, boil for 1 more minute and then drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water to use in the sauce. 
  2. Add the pasta water and the rest of the sauce ingredients to the blender and blitz until smooth. Add to the pasta and heat through until it's hot and desired thickness. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed, then serve up and enjoy!
Cassidy xx