Kabocha Squash Baked Mac and Cheese.
This vegan baked mac and cheese is made from plant-based whole foods, all of which are 100% low FODMAP. If you struggle with your digestion and are looking for vegan recipes that won’t exacerbate any symptoms (IBS, bloating, constipation, etc) add this recipe to your list!
Kabocha Squash = Gut Healthy
Kabocha squash AKA Japanese pumpkin is very similar in taste and texture to pumpkins, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. What’s great about kabocha squash is they are low FODMAP meaning they will not exacerbate any symptoms of IBS. Even if you don’t have IBS, eating high FODMAP foods frequently and in large quantities can cause IBS or major distress to your gut. The gut is incredibly powerful and houses nearly 70% of the body’s immune system. If our guts are unhealthy, we are susceptible to all kinds of disease and infection.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat high FODMAP foods, you just need to make sure not to eat the exact same foods everyday and to eat as diverse a diet as possible. For example, black beans have great benefits and are a great source of plant protein. If you eat lots of black beans everyday though, you will likely develop an intolerance to black beans. When our bodies are intolerant to a certain food, our digestive system won’t know how to properly digest it or absorb the nutrients which leads to bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, etc. Rather than eat a high volume of black beans everyday, switch it up with kidney beans, chickpeas, sprouted mung beans, lentils, nuts, etc.
High Protein Breading
What takes this recipe from good to great is the breading. I use Longeve Brands Breadless Crumbs mixed with the kabocha squash seeds, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. The Breadless Crumbs are made from pea protein and are gluten-free, high protein, and safe for a low FODMAP diet. If you aren’t on a temporary low FODMAP diet and can handle cauliflower, Cauli Crunch is another great option.
For the kabocha squash cheese sauce you will need a high speed blender. Here are my top picks:
Perfect for Meal Prep
When making this baked mac and cheese you will inevitably be left with extras unless you are cooking for a bigger group. I make big dishes like this on Sunday’s (my meal prep day) that way I can enjoy it throughout the week. Here’s my process:
- Chop your kabocha squash in half. Scoop the seeds from the center of each half and rinse well in a colander. Do your best to remove as much of the flesh as you can.
- Bake the kabocha squash. Chop one half into cubes and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Eat it with any veggies or try it with my KABOCHA SQUASH BOWL. The flesh of the other half will be the base of your cheese sauce.
- Cook your pasta. I used a combo of green pea fusili and buckwheat torgiglioni (both gluten-free). Combine with the cheese sauce then pour into a greased casserole dish. Keep in mind there should be more of the cheese sauce than pasta.
- Prep your breading. I combined Longeve Breadless Crumbs, 1/2 cup of the kabocha squash seeds, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and olive oil in a mixing bowl then sprinkle on top of your mac and cheese mixture with parsley.
- Bake the mac and cheese. I turned the heat of my oven up to 475 degrees and baked it for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overbake it (no more than 15 minutes) or you will dry out the casserole.
Low FODMAP & Gluten-Free Pasta Options:
Kabocha Squash Mac and Cheese
- 24 oz gluten-free pasta
- 1/2 kabocha squash
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1.5 cups plant-based milk I used oat milk
- 3 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup kabocha squash (or pumpkin) seeds
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs I used breadless crumbs from Longeve
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop your squash in half. Scoop out the seeds from the middle and set aside – you will be adding this to your breading!
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and cook your squash halves face down for about 20 minutes or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of your squash so make sure to test the tenderness with a fork.
- While the squash is cooking, rinse your seeds well and remove any squash residue. Set aside.
- Once the squash has cooled scoop out the flesh and add to a food processor or blender along with the nutritional yeast, oat milk, dijon mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Start with 1 cup of plant-based milk, blend, and add more if needed.
- Crank up the heat of your oven to 475 degrees. Cook your pasta, drain, then return to it’s pot. Mix with the cheese sauce with the pasta – note there should be more cheese than pasta. Grease a casserole dish with oil (I use coconut oil) then pour your cheesy pasta inside and spread evenly.
- Now prepare your breading. In a bowl mix the seeds with your bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt. Once done, sprinkle on top of your pasta with fresh parsley.
- Place your casserole dish in the oven and cook until the top breading layer starts to brown. I wouldn’t cook it any longer than 15 minutes or it will start to dry out. Check after 8 minutes and use your judgement from there.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.