Caitlin Bensel
Hands-on Time
1 Hour
Total Time
1 Hour 25 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

We set out to make a serious dent in the calorie and fat content of good old macaroni and cheese, while preserving the creamy comfort-food texture.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2

Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 3

Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.

Step 4

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Step 5

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

Step 6

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

Also appeared in: Cooking Light, September, 2011

Ratings & Reviews

Comfort Food

May 07, 2015
This is a fantastic recipe! It was gooey and creamy just like comfort food. My husband who is picky about mac and cheese, even liked it. My squash was almost 2 lb's and I used it all, which made the cheese flavor a little less noticeable but it still tasted like and had the texture of cheese. I also increased the yogurt to 4 oz and used vegetable stock to make it vegetarian. I like the idea of adding a bit of mustard and next time I'll try a smoked cheddar. It kept well as leftovers for lunch the next day too.

Rich & tasty

April 18, 2015
Great mac recipe - the squash adds color, creaminess and lots of nutritional value. I did sub in sharp white cheddar for the Gruyere, just personal preference. 

ChefTamara's Review

March 01, 2015
I improvised a bit on this using some ingredients from another one of Cooking Lights mac n' cheese recipes. I'm not fond of Greek yogurt so I used cream cheese in its place (this comes from the other recipe). I also didn't use the cheeses listed because I had others on hand. I used sharp cheddar, pecorino romano and parmesan/romano. I didn't measure any of the cheeses, just added until I felt it tasted right. I also added 2-3 tbsp. of Dijon mustard to counteract some of the sweetness of the squash. The hubby loved it and so did I.

gkd1029's Review

January 20, 2015
I like pecorino romano, but it overpowered this dish. Also, it came out very dry for me. I wasn't overly impressed.

Emalani's Review

January 11, 2015
I can see this being a good option for getting kids vegetables in their mac and cheese, but this still doesn't fit the bill as a replacement mac and cheese dish. I used 1/4 cup more milk per other reviewers' suggestions, and used sharp cheddar in place of the gruyere. I cooked it for 20 minutes, with the broiler on for the last 3 or so to crisp up the top. It was fine, but not amazing. The texture was a little bit funky/grainy because of the squash. I think I'll still keep looking for a keeper low fat mac and cheese recipe.

slalombabe's Review

November 01, 2014
Awesome flavor! My only challenge is living at 9300 feet. Ooooweeee did it dry out. Welcome suggestions on how to prepare at high altitude. Maybe more creamier cheeses like havarti?

Lisajane's Review

April 16, 2014
This was insane! Swapped out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and used smoked gruyere instead of regular. Best Mac and Cheese I've ever made. My daughter insisted on seconds.

jenggeb's Review

April 11, 2014
Really tasty! I broiled it for the last few minutes to get the breadcrumbs brown and crispy.

MarianM's Review

February 18, 2014

dfblaine's Review

January 10, 2014