A lightened up version of every child's favorite pasta dish - Macaroni and Cheese. Made with reduced-fat cheese, pureed butternut squash, and whole grain noodles, this recipe makeover will satisfy all tastebuds, young and old. Get the vegetarian and kid-friendly recipe @jlevinsonrd.

Lightened-Up Macaroni and Cheese

Indulge your family with a dinnertime favorite of mac 'n cheese that's extra gooey and better for your waistline!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Pasta
Keyword dinner recipe, kid-friendly, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 445 kcal
Author Jessica Levinson


  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 pound whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • 1/4 cup light butter spread with canola oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 cups nonfat milk
  • 3 cups reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar (I use Cabot Sharp Light)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage (optional)
  • Fried sage leaves for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil; add butternut squash and cook 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and puree with a hand immersion blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.
  3. While pasta is cooking, melt butter spread in a large saucepan over low heat. Add onion and garlic to melted butter and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour, mustard, salt, and chili powder; whisk to stir until a thick paste forms.
  4. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk vigorously to prevent curdling. Add the pureed squash, stir to combine, and whisk every couple of couple of minutes until mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes total.
  5. Remove pot from the heat; add shredded cheddar, parmesan, and chopped sage if using. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth. Mix sauce and pasta. Serve with fried sage leaves if desired.