The perfect combination of savory, cheesy goodness with just a bit of spice. Pumpkin pepper jack macaroni and cheese is a delicious and fun side dish that will have them asking for seconds.
This recipe has everything you’d want in a gourmet macaroni and cheese. There’s the pasta, the cheese, the bacon… and the pumpkin! Even if you’re skeptical, you should do yourself a favor and give it a try.
I created this recipe on a whim. When thinking pumpkin, my brain naturally tends to think sweet.
Instead of just whipping up pumpkin dessert after pumpkin dessert, I thought it would be fun to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit.
Now adding squash to macaroni and cheese isn’t completely foreign to us. I made an acorn squash macaroni and cheese years ago.
But this time pepper jack was calling my name. I don’t know why really, but pumpkin pepper jack macaroni and cheese was tumbling around in my head.
At first I thought it was a wonderful idea, but then I wasn’t so sure. So I did what one does when faced with a dilemma and looked on pinterest for recipes.
I figured I’d read some comments and reviews and see if other people think combining pumpkin and pepperjack is a good idea.
Unfortunately I didn’t find much. I suppose I could have taken that as a sign that it shouldn’t be done, but instead I forged on.
Do you know what? I’m glad I did! This recipe has the perfect balance of savory saltiness from the bacon, earthiness from the pumpkin and creamy cheesy spice from delicious pepper jack cheese.
Now my husband thinks he doesn’t like pumpkin. Little Dude avoids pepper jack for fear of it being too spicy.
So I pulled a sneaky kitchen magic trick and made it when neither were looking.
My boxed mac and cheese loving guys enjoyed it. They went back for seconds even! Good thing I neglected to tell them what it was!
The pumpkin gives the mac and cheese a natural orange color. It also keeps the mac and cheese from feeling too dry.
The cheese added just a bit of spice and that creamy cheesy goodness you’d expect in a good macaroni and cheese.
I highly advise you don’t skip the bacon. That smokiness really ties the whole thing together.
While I’m sure it would be good without, it is great with it. Though I can’t say I’m surprised, it is bacon after all!
So we’ll see if my husband spies these pictures on social media and notices the title… it’ll be interesting to see what he says! 😉