Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Butternut squash and macaroni casserole

Whole Foods' Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole. Photo from www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

Whole Foods' Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole. Photo from www.wholefoodsmarket.com. by Sarah Henning

If you're looking for a twist on the ubiquitous baked mac 'n' cheese casserole, this Meatless Monday is for you.

Rather than using cheese, this casserole uses coconut milk and butternut squash to create a delicious texture. Topped with breadcrumbs, it has has he same crusty-creamy warm consistency that makes baked mac 'n' cheese a hit.

It'll take about an hour to make, but it'll be worth it for the sweet-and-savory, creamy goodness.

Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (15 ounces) can coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped sage

3/4 pound dried elbow macaroni

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish; set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add squash, coconut milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in sage and simmer 1 minute more. (This part can be made ahead, up to 1 day in advance.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender but still firm, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Transfer squash mixture to bowl with macaroni. Add walnuts, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until just golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

(Recipe from wholefoodsmarket.com)

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