Replace that store-bought processed block of orange “cheese” with this creamy, flavorful Healthy Nacho (Butternut Squash) Cheese Sauce that is actually more vegetables than it is cheese. Read on for all the secrets of how to eat butternut squash in the most delicious way possible!
Me and mathematical story problems never got along well in school, but here's one I think we can all relate to:
If consumption of vegetables doubles or triples the amount of cheese, you can eat 50% more. Right? Are we in agreement?
Or how about an ethics question:
Can one justify blending veggies into a child's meal and then not tell said child that vegetables are dominating his plate? Mamas?
I'm going to pretend I heard a resounding “YES!” to our test questions because today I'm bringing you one of my favorite, most requested family get together recipes.
In normal English language, this recipe is called “Healthy Nacho Cheese Sauce.” In fun, clever language, it's called Squacho Cheese Sauce. Squash + Nacho = Squacho. Get it? We're just doing all kinds of math today!
This sauce is indeed more vegetables than it is cheese which means I can just smile and give myself a pat on the back when my kids dunk their chips, pea pods, and fingers in it. Seriously, this sauce is dyno-mite!
I will admit, this is also one of those recipes I get a wee bit scared to share. I mean, come on. Can you really put butternut squash in a cheese sauce and please the masses?
I doubted it, I really did, until I brought it to a family get together of 30+ adults and kids, and I didn't get one single complaint. There were a few children who felt deceived after the fact, but none the less, they still had second and third helpings.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE SQUACHO CHEESE SAUCE
- 5 cups of veggies to 1 1/2 cups of cheese – now that's impressive
- It's not just for nachos. It can also be a cheese sauce for pasta, veggies, rice, etc.
- It's thick, creamy, and smooth, unlike the not so awesome clumpy, lumpy Imitation Cheese Block
- Veggies on top of veggies on top of veggies . . . Reminds me of another favorite veggie loaded sauce (Cauliflower Alfredo anyone?)
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHEESE SAUCE
- Use this Instant Pot trick for cookin' up a butternut squash lickety-split
- While you prepare the roux, put remaining ingredients in a blender
- Add the hot, thick roux
- Add your chopped butternut squash
- Blend until thick and silky smooth
- Pour into a bowl, licking any and all drips along the way, and serve!
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Oh mama, are you in for a treat!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST NACHO SAUCE/QUESO DIP
- Use EXTRA sharp cheddar. In order to use less cheese, you've got to use the cheese with the most flavor
- Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast. It gives this sauce a big punch of cheesy flavor without having to add a ton of cheese.
- HOLD THE BOAT! Are you up to speed with Nutritional Yeast? Do you use it? Here's a quick 101: Nutritional yeast is sometimes called Nooch and in a nutshell, it is a deactivated yeast that is commonly used with vegan diets to obtain a cheese flavor without actually using any cheese products.
- I use it on popcorn, mashed potatoes, in mac and cheese, and in this amazing Yumm Sauce. Once you get comfortable with this stuff, you'll have it on Amazon Autoship, it's so good!
- Jalapeno Juice: Dee – licious! This recipe is all about using max flavor ingredients here!
- Cook and freeze cubed butternut squash so this sauce can be whipped up in minutes whenever a nacho craving hits. Which is like, always, right?
- Freeze it! This makes over a quart of sauce which even my family isn't going to get through in one night. Luckily it freezes nicely so again, nacho cravings can be satisfied as promptly as possible
Are you convinced? Are you willing to try it?
My kids consider veggies an inedible decoration on their dinner plates. They even do cheers for nacho night, with this sauce. Make it now or tomorrow or both. Just make it!
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- This could easily be turned into a Vegan Cheese Sauce by substituting butter with vegan butter, milk with almond or cashew milk, omitting the cheddar cheese, and adding an extra 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
MORE DELICIOUS WAYS TO USE YOUR SQUACHO SAUCE
- Dip for roasted veggies (broccoli and mini sweet peppers are our favorites)
- Cheesy Rice – mix in some black beans for extra fiber and protein
- Cheese Sauce for Pasta – Tinkyada Brand is my favorite pasta by far and I'm kinda diggin' this Banza Chickpea Pasta right now
- Over Burritos, tacos, enchiladas . . . basically anything Mexican
- Pizza Sauce. Sounds weird, I know, but it's the bomb with pepperoni and fresh sliced tomatoes!
- Our favorite – Healthy Stacked Nachos: whole grain chips, taco meat, refried beans, tomatoes, olives, lots of guacamole and yogurt (or sour cream)
NACHO PARTY TIPS
When we make this for get-togethers, I leave it in the pot on warm. I also make up a batch of refried beans and keep them warm in another pot. In yet another pot, we have shredded chicken or ground taco meat. Then we go crazy with toppings. Tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, olives, guacamole, ranch, sour cream, salsa, and, of course, the chips.
Everyone can load up their plates however they like, and not a single soul is unhappy. Is that even possible? Yes, yes it is. You can see the nachos in action on this Instant Pot Taco Meat post.
Important to note, this recipe first appeared in our cookbook, Master the Electric Pressure Cooker, but I've made it roughly 500 more times since then and amped up the flavor even more.
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT NACHO CHEESE SAUCEPrint
Instant Pot Healthy Nacho Cheese Sauce with Butternut Squash
Creamy, cheesy, and good for you too! This cheese sauce is more vegetables than it is cheese and your whole family will love it!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: About 4 cups 1x
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 4–5 cups chopped butternut squash or 1 small to medium whole butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons whole wheat flour (can substitute white flour)
- 2 cups skim milk (or any milk you like)
- 1 ½ cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup nutritional yeast (can omit, but it adds a great “cheesy” flavor)
- 4–6 pickled jalapeno slices (add more or less to adjust heat – I use 8)
- 3 tablespoons liquid from jalapeno jar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot and place collapsible steamer basket inside. Place chopped squash on top. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. If using a whole squash, place the squash on top of a trivet and cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
- For chopped butternut squash, when cooking is complete, use a quick release. For whole squash, use a natural release for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure (could also use a full natural release). Remove the peel with a knife or vegetable peeler, scrape out seeds, and coarsely chop.
- This step can be done on the stove top while the squash is cooking or directly in the pressure cooker pot while the squash cools. Add butter to medium saute pan on stove top or to pressure cooker pot and melt over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir until softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top of onions and stir for 1 minute. Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender and add cooked butternut squash, cheese, nutritional yeast, jalapeno slices and liquid, mustard, salt, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Blend until smooth.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Freezes well.
- Use EXTRA sharp cheddar for max cheesy flavor
- Use Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast. It gives the sauce an amazing cheesy, nutty taste
- Leftovers can be frozen. I like to freeze it in pint size jars and then let it thaw overnight in the fridge, before using. The sauce is a bit thinner after being frozen, but still plenty thick for nachos
- Use leftovers over cooked pasta for a quick mac and cheese, as a substitute for pizza sauce (YUM!), poured over roasted veggies, drizzled on top of chili…I could go on forever!
- To make this a Vegan Cheese Sauce: substitute butter with vegan butter, milk with almond or cashew milk, omit the cheddar cheese, and add an extra 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Keywords: instant pot recipe, butternut squash, healthy cheese sauce