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Butternut Squash, Vegan Mac & Cheese

So I made my boyfriend this high-protein vegan Mac and cheese for lunch - and apparently, that’s sacrilege. But he finished his bowl of “squash pasta” and asked for more. So call it what you will, this luteal phase recipe is perfect for fall vibes, is delicious, and will nourish your body during the fall of your cycle!


Ingredients for your luteal phase: butternut squash, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and chickpeas. During the luteal phase, you want to focus on fiber-rich foods to support the large intestine in flushing out excess estrogen and consume nutrient-dense food as your body's metabolism naturally speeds up.


Butternut squash is a slow-burning, complex carbohydrate, which is a great addition to your diet in the luteal phase when your metabolism naturally speeds up so you may find yourself getting hungrier faster. It is also rich in calcium which helps reduce PMS symptoms, and high in vitamin B which aids progesterone production


Cauliflower, part of the cruciferous vegetable family, contains Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) which decreases the concentration of metabolites that activate the estrogen receptor, making it a great way to lower estrogen. It’s also packed with vitamin C, which aids proper hormone production and is an antioxidant, which reduces inflammation.


Onions are one of the easiest ingredients to add to a luteal phase recipe! They are high in antioxidants, help regulate blood sugar levels, and are a great source of manganese and potassium.


Garlic is filled with anti-inflammatory properties, and studies actually show that the consumption of garlic helps significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms with a confidence interval of 95%!


Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans are great for luteal because they are high in fiber which helps flush out excess estrogen, but also high in vitamin B6 which aids progesterone production. It's also a good source of plant-based protein - and protein helps stabilize blood sugar which can help balance your mood as you go into your menstrual phase.


 

Butternut Squash, Vegan Mac & Cheese

Serves: 4 Active Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 70 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 7 oz chickpea pasta

  • 1/3 cup cashews

  • 1.5 cup Cauliflower, florets

  • 2 cup Butternut squash, cubed

  • 1/2 white onion, cut into 4

  • 2 sprigs of thyme

  • 6 garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1.5 cup pasta water

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 8 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • Pepper to serve

Process

1. Start by soaking your cashews in a bowl with boiling water. You'll want to fill the bowl until it covers all your cashews. Then set it aside.


2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF


3. Add your cut butternut squash, onion, and cauliflower onto a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top of them, sprinkle some salt, and then use your hands to incorporate the olive oil onto the veggies. Then add your thyme to the pan.


4. Place your garlic cloves onto a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle 1/2 tsp of olive oil over them, and then wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic to form a ball. Add it to the baking tray.


5. Bake for 40 minutes.


6. With 15 minutes to go, start boiling water for your chickpea macaroni. Cook according to instruction, then drain (while saving 2 cups of pasta water) and set aside.


7. Once the veggies are cooked, add them to a blender along with salt, paprika, nutritional yeast, and 1 cup of pasta water. Depending on how smooth the sauce gets, you will want to keep adding pasta water. I ended up using a little over 1.5 cups.


8. Optional: reheat in a pan before serving. Serve with some black pepper!

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