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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


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! 


  • 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)


  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