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Pumpkin Recipes

Baked White Cheddar Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Baked white cheddar pumpkin mac and cheese made with white cheddar cheese, spinach and a walnut breadcrumb topping. A cozy and healthy spin on typical mac and cheese and can also be made gluten free!

baked white cheddar mac and cheese

There’s nothing more cozy (and delicious!) then a bowl of mac and cheese on a cold winter night– like tonight! This healthy mac and cheese that is infused with more veggies than your typical mac and cheese (hello pumpkin and spinach) will soon be a favorite in your household like it is in mine.

Move over blue box, it’s pumpkin mac and cheese time!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know pumpkin is a year round food for me. I’m all about all things pumpkin in the fall of course, but my mission is always to show people how it should be a pantry staple year-round cause you can make so many delicious meals, snacks and treats with it.

This homemade white cheddar mac and cheese recipe with spinach and a walnut breadcrumb topping can easily be made gluten free by using a gluten free pasta. I love Banza as a gluten free option, and any medium-shaped noodle will work.

ingredients for baked white cheddar pumpkin mac and cheese

  • rigatoni, cavatappi or pasta of your choice – Feel free to use gluten free pasta if desired.
  • fresh spinach 
  • fresh garlic
  • butter
  • all purpose flour – You can also use 1:1 gluten free flour instead.
  • non-dairy milk (or milk of your choice) I used unsweetened oat milk when I made this recipe.
  • white cheddar cheeseIf you have regular cheddar cheese on hand, that would work too!
  • gruyere cheese
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • nutmeg 
  • cinnamon 
  • Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • panko breadcrumbsOmit or use gluten free breadcrumbs if making gluten free
  • walnuts
baked white cheddar mac and cheese

Baked White Cheddar Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Baked white cheddar pumpkin mac and cheese made with white cheddar cheese, spinach and a walnut breadcrumb topping. A cozy and healthy spin on typical mac and cheese!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4 -5 servings

Ingredients
  

  • For the pasta:
  • 10 ounces rigatoni cavatappi or pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • For the pumpkin cheese sauce:
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk or milk of your choice
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese grated
  • ½ cup gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. salt plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • For the topping:
  • 2 tbsp. cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Heat a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter minced garlic, stir and heat until fragrant. 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. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and stir every so often, until the sauce thickens up.
  • Once the sauce has thickened up turn off the heat and stir in cheddar cheese and gruyere cheese,  salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  • Stir in the noodles and spinach until noodles are well covered and spinach has slightly wilted. 
  • Add mixture to a 9X9 baking dish. 
  • In a small bowl, mix chopped walnuts and breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle mixture on top of of the pasta and bake for about 25 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown. 
Keyword mac and cheese; baked mac and cheese

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Pumpkin Recipes

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)
baked white cheddar mac and cheese

Baked White Cheddar Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Baked white cheddar pumpkin mac and cheese made with white cheddar cheese, spinach and a walnut breadcrumb topping. A cozy and healthy spin on typical mac and cheese!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 4 -5 servings

Ingredients
  

  • For the pasta:
  • 10 ounces rigatoni cavatappi or pasta of your choice
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • For the pumpkin cheese sauce:
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk or milk of your choice
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese grated
  • ½ cup gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. salt plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • For the topping:
  • 2 tbsp. cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Heat a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter minced garlic, stir and heat until fragrant. 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. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and stir every so often, until the sauce thickens up.
  • Once the sauce has thickened up turn off the heat and stir in cheddar cheese and gruyere cheese,  salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  • Stir in the noodles and spinach until noodles are well covered and spinach has slightly wilted. 
  • Add mixture to a 9X9 baking dish. 
  • In a small bowl, mix chopped walnuts and breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle mixture on top of of the pasta and bake for about 25 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown. 
Keyword mac and cheese; baked mac and cheese

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