This baked mac and cheese is the perfect paleo version of this classic dish! It’s made with a butternut cheese sauce and topped with a crispy pork panko topping instead of bread crumbs.

A baking dish of mac and cheese.

Paleo Baked Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is one of those classic comfort foods that is really hard to replace when you change the way you eat. I recreated the delicious flavors of a great baked mac and cheese without all the allergens! The crispy topping and butternut cream sauce will remind you of a classic baked mac and cheese!

Not only is this a dairy and gluten-free mac and cheese, but it can also be made AIP and Paleo!

The Ingredients for Paleo Baked Mac and Cheese

  • Olive Oil, Onion, and Garlic.
  • Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Florets. These vegetables help form the “cheesy” sauce!
  • Canned Coconut Milk and Chicken Broth.
  • Nutritional Yeast. This helps give the dish it’s “cheesy” flavor! You can leave it out, but it would taste less cheesy!
  • Salt and pepper. You can omit pepper for AIP.
  • Arrowroot starch. This helps thicken the sauce.
  • Gluten-free Pasta. You can use jovial cassava pasta for paleo/AIP.
  • Pork Panko. I like this one. It gives the dish a crunchy topping like bread crumbs.
  • Parsley. To top top the dish!

How to make Paleo Baked Mac and Cheese

  • Saute the onion and garlic. Using a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the oil and saute the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  • Saute the butternut squash and cauliflower. Add the butternut squash and cauliflower florets and saute for another 5 minutes or until lightly fork tender.
  • Pour in the broth, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Blend arrowroot starch and liquid. Add the arrowroot starch to a small bowl. Spoon out a ladle of the liquid and add to the bowl, whisking with the arrowroot starch. Pour into the pot and stir to combine.
  • Allow the sauce mixture to cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender or in a blender. Set aside.
  • Cook the pasta as directed until al dente. Strain and lightly toss with olive oil.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the baking dish and top with the sauce. Stir to combine and top with the pork panko.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Serve topped with chopped parsley.

A bowl of mac and cheese.

Can you use crushed pork rinds instead of pork panko?

You can! I suggest either crushing it in a bag with a rolling pin, or by using a food processor.

Can you add protein to this recipe?

You can also add cooked and cubed chicken to this recipe, bacon, or even lobster if you want to make lobster mac and cheese!

Can you make this recipe without the nutritional yeast?

You can, but it would taste less cheesy!

Can you make this recipe without coconut?

You can also use other dairy-free milks as long as they’re unflavored.

How long does this recipe stay fresh in the fridge? How do you reheat it?

This recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for 2-3 days. I would reheat it in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes!

A spoon digging into a dish of mac and cheese.

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Paleo Baked Mac and Cheese (Gluten and Dairy Free)


  • Author: Michelle
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups butternut squash, cubed (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 8 oz gluten-free pasta (use jovial cassava pasta for paleo/AIP)
  • 1/3 cup pork panko
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease an 8×8″ baking dish.
  2. Using a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the oil and saute the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the butternut squash and cauliflower florets and saute for another 5 minutes or until lightly fork tender.
  4. Pour in the broth, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the arrowroot starch to a small bowl. Spoon out a ladle of the liquid and add to the bowl, whisking with the arrowroot. Pour into the pot and stir to combine.
  6. Allow the sauce mixture to cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender or in a blender. Set aside.
  7. Cook the pasta as directed until al dente. Strain and lightly toss with olive oil.
  8. Add the cooked pasta to the baking dish and top with the sauce. Stir to combine and top with the pork panko.
  9. Transfer to the oven and cook for 5 minutes or until the pork panko is lightly browned. Serve topped with chopped parsley.

Notes

Frozen cubed butternut squash cooks much faster, and is the prefered method for this dish!

All nutrition facts are estimated and will vary.

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 289
  • Fat: 19.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.9g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Protein: 11.9g

Keywords: baked mac and cheese