Slow Cooking Week: Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni

Welcome to Slow Cooking Week here at SPOON! We’re cooking up all sorts of amazing things using our slow cookers here in the office. Did you know you can bake cookies, make drinks, create snacks, and mains and sides all in your slow cooker? Pretty awesome stuff, actually.

We thought there was no better way to start off Slow Cooker Week than with a recipe from the amazing, Kathy Hester. After all, she is our slow cooker queen. And, it’s also Meatless Monday here (a nod to our friends celebrating Vegan MoFo), so even if you’re not vegan, why not try this recipe as-is to see what you think.

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Enter our slow cooking week giveaway for a chance to take home prize pack that includes eight amazing slow cooker cookbooks!

If you want to cook along with us, send in pictures of your slow cooked creations to We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni
Excerpted from Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just For You by Kathy Hester(with photography by Kate Lewis)



This is mac ‘n’ cheez that’s all grown up. It’s covered with a rich butternut squash and nutritional yeast sauce that’s as nutritious as it is delicious.

1½ cups (210 g) cubed butternut squash or other winter squash
½ cup (90 g) chopped tomatoes
1½ cups (355 ml) water
2 cloves garlic, minced
Three 3-inch (7.5 cm) sprigs fresh thyme or 1½ teaspoons (1.5 g) dried thyme
One 2-inch (5 cm) sprig fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

¼ cup (24 g) nutritional yeast flakes
½ to 1 cup (120 to 235 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
1½ cups (158 g) uncooked whole-wheat macaroni (*use gluten-free)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In the morning: Add the morning ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Thirty to 45 minutes before serving: Purée the contents of the slow cooker in a blender with the nutritional yeast and ½ cup (120 ml) of the nondairy milk. Add the mixture back into the slow cooker and turn it up to high. Stir in the macaroni, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Stir well and add more milk if the sauce is getting too thick. Cook for 15 to 25 minutes more or until the pasta is al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make sure to check on the pasta every 10 minutes or so until you get good at gauging how fast it will cook in your slow cooker. It cooks faster in the smaller slow cooker.

YIELD: about 5 cups (700 g)

PER 1-CUP (140 G) SERVING: 168.2 calories; 1.1 g total fat; 0.1 g saturated fat; 6.9 g protein; 33.7 g carbohydrate; 5.9 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 7½ to 9¾ hours

Make this dish even healthier by adding in some chopped greens or fresh broccoli. You can’t have too much of this good thing.

If you have a small family or are looking for better-portioned vegan meals (that don’t force you to eat chili for a week straight!), Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You is the perfect resource for you. Featuring recipes geared specifically for use with a 1.5- to 2-quart slow cooker, you’ll find endless meal ideas that you can make with minimal effort and maximum taste. Just prep a few items the night before or morning of, and come home to a hot meal—or side, or dessert—the moment you walk in the door!

The little slow cooker is so easy to use that it makes cooking everyday a snap, so you can have a healthy variety of foods at a fraction of the cost of eating out. Inside, you’ll find a whole new world of food to fall in love with, from breakfast-y Pumpkin Polenta to comforting White Bean Quinoa Gumbo to luscious Blueberry Lemon Cake. You’ll be amazed at what your little slow cooker can do!