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NEW! Pumpkin Cookbook

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This easy pumpkin mac and cheese is like a bowl of cozy that hugs you back! It’s packed with pumpkin flavor, easy to make in one pan and super creamy! Pumpkin add more nutrition and texture to every bite!

The first time the weather dips below 60 degrees here in Chicago, I am ready for all the cozy, warm and hearty pumpkin meals like this mac and cheese recipe!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been celebrating pumpkin season since August, but once October rolls around I am ready for all things squash and even more pumpkin (if that’s possible!)

Pumpkin mac and cheese is the perfect meal to cozy up with and watch Hocus Pocus with on a chilly fall night. Light a few pumpkin candles and set the mood for a spooky night in with a delicious bowl of cozy noodles to warm you up!

Pumpkin puree adds more vitamin A, C, E and fiber to each bite, not to mention flavor! I use canned pumpkin in this recipe and often will make it with chickpea or lentil pasta.

healthy pumpkin mac and cheese

To up the nutrition even more I decided to add extra veggies to the pumpkin mac and cheese. Seasonal veggies like delicata squash, butternut squash and spinach or Tuscan kale would all be great mixed in with the noodles.

Growing up I was hard core into the shells and spiral shapes of the mac and cheese in the blue box from Kraft, which is why I chose to use shells in once upon a pumpkin mac and cheese recipe. You can of course use any pasta you already have in your pantry!

Pasta made from chickpeas or lentils add even more fiber and protein to this dish, so if you like those too they would work great in this mac and cheese recipe.

The exclamation point on this meal is the toasted pumpkin seeds. Take the extra two minutes to toast them, trust me! Toasting pumpkin seeds brings out their creamy nutty flavor, and I’m betting they are easier to digest toasted versus raw.

lightened up pumpkin mac and cheese

Ingredients for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

  • 1 box dry pasta shells (can use gluten free or chickpea pasta if desired)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (can use regular flour or GF all purpose flour)
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese for topping
  • 2 tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
  • roasted veggies like delicata squash, butternut squash or spinach (2 cups) to eat with the pasta when it’s done (optional)

Print
healthy pumpkin mac and cheese

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

  • Author: Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

Easy pumpkin mac and cheese is the perfect fall recipe for a cozy night in. It’s extra creamy and packed with extra nutrition from the pumpkin puree! 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 box dry pasta shells (can use gluten free or chickpea pasta if desired) 
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (can use regular flour or GF all purpose flour)
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 
  • pinch of cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese for topping 
  • 2 tbsp. toasted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 
  • roasted veggies like delicata squash, butternut or spinach (optional)

Instructions

  1. Boil the noodles until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Once done cooking, drain and set aside.
  2. While the noodles are boiling, make a slurry: In a large skillet or pot add butter and place over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes stirring every so often, until the sauce thickens up but is not clumpy. Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, salt, freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of cayenne pepper.
  4. Next add in half of the total amount of sharp cheddar cheese and stir until completely melted. Next, add the pumpkin puree and the rest of the cheese. Whisk everything together until completely incorporated. 
  5. Fold in cooked noodles, taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Lightly toast pumpkin seeds by adding them to a small skillet over medium heat. Stirring until they are toasting up and slightly browning. You may hear little popping noises, that is them puffing up! 
  7. Add pasta to bowls and top with additional parmesan cheese, black pepper, and pumpkin seeds 

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"Maggie did a great job of listening to my needs and offering practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions."

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2016-05-03T18:24:44+00:00

Carly

"Maggie did a great job of listening to my needs and offering practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions."
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