Do you want to sneak a little extra produce onto the dinner table? This pumpkin mac and cheese will win over even picky eaters. It’s a quick and easy side dish that will be a hit with your family.
Sneak pumpkin puree into creamy macaroni and cheese for a great meal. Serve it as a side dish or make it the star of the show.
It is a great way to sneak an extra serving of vegetables into the menu. I like to use whole wheat pasta to up the fiber content even more.
I have been serving versions of this recipe and acorn squash mac and cheese for years. I just never told the guys in my life about it.
Both are professed pumpkin haters, so I knew they wouldn’t try it if I revealed the truth. So I just quietly served it and watched them eat it time after time.
Little Dude and I made homemade pumpkin puree in the instant pot and we needed some recipes to make with the puree. I instantly thought of this macaroni and cheese, but knew that meant I would have to out myself.
I suggested it and he was skeptical. Then I told him he had eaten it several times before and he was shocked.
I’ll let you watch the video to see how it went over with him knowing the secret. Then you can also see exactly how easy it is to make too.
Tips and tricks
Feel free to use your favorite shape of pasta. Elbows are classic but shells or penne work well too. Curly celantini are a fun shape too.
Whole wheat pasta works great in this recipe. You could also use gluten free pasta or your favorite variety.
For the best coverage of the pumpkin flavor, you will want to use a stronger cheese. Sharp cheddar gives that classic flavor.
Feel free to experiment with other cheeses. Smoked gouda would be tasty and we’ve even made pumpkin pepper jack macaroni and cheese.
Also experiment with seasonings. Whatever you normally add to your favorite Mac should work in this recipe as well. Nutmeg, mustard, garlic, paprika or whatever you like can be tried.
Also, feel free to use mashed acorn or butternut squash instead of pumpkin. Any similar puree should work well.
Toss in some chunks of ham or chicken to make it a meal. Or top it with leftover pulled pork and BBQ sauce to take it to a whole new level.
More great macaroni and cheese recipes
5 minute mac and cheese allows you to have a single serving of creamy cheesy pasta in a jiffy. The easy recipe basically makes instant macaroni and cheese and it’s so simple a kid can do it without help. It is perfect for lunch or a quick and filling snack.
Making super cheesy mac and cheese in the instant pot is so quick and simple. It only requires a few simple ingredients and almost no effort.
Try making creamy shells and cheese in the instant pot. It is dripping with golden cheesy goodness.
Or for something different, try making creamed spinach mac and cheese. It has a creamy white sauce and lots of spinach making it a fabulous side dish.
If you like the idea of using produce in your sauces, you will have to check out butternut squash alfredo sauce as well. It is creamy, cheesy and loaded with squash.
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- 16 oz. pasta
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (or a 15 oz can)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Set aside.
- In a large pan heat pumpkin over medium heat. Add cheese and stir until the cheese starts to melt add 1 cup of pasta water and stir until smooth.
- Stir in pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Feel free to add additional spices that you like in your mac and cheese. Nutmeg, paprika, garlic or mustard would be good options.
- Serve warm.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 406mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 18g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.