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!
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
- 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 cheese — If you have regular cheddar cheese on hand, that would work too!
- gruyere cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
- panko breadcrumbs – Omit or use gluten free breadcrumbs if making gluten free
Baked White Cheddar Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 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
- 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.
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