October is finally here! The temperatures have dropped, and it’s getting chilly out. When it gets colder like this, I crave warm comfort foods. There’s nothing like a bowl of steaming pasta to make you feel cozy. Today’s DIY is going to be about how to make Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese!

It may sound odd since we’re used to seeing pumpkin used in sweet foods like lattes, muffins, and basically anything labeled “pumpkin spice,” but pumpkin is amazing in savory dishes, as well. If you want to give it a try, follow along with these recipes. I’ve included both a non-vegan and vegan recipe. Try them both and see which one you prefer! 

Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese

For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

2 cups elbow macaroni 

2 tbsp. butter 

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup whole milk

1 cup shredded Fontina cheese

1 15 ounce can pumpkin

½  tsp. dried leaf sage, crushed

½ cup soft bread crumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup chopped walnuts

1 tbsp. olive oil

Sage leaves (optional)

To make, first cook the pasta in a pot according to package directions. In a pan, make the roux by melting butter and adding in the flour, salt and pepper to make a paste. Add cream and milk to the roux, and then cook until thick and bubbly. (Make sure to whisk frequently so it doesn't burn). Stir in the Fontina cheese, pumpkin, and sage. Once the cheese is melted and the ingredients are well blended, add the sauce to the cooked pasta. Mix well and transfer to a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the pasta. Place the dish in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. 

Let cool for 10 minutes before diving in! This dish is great on its own or paired with herb chicken or salmon and a winter green salad! Find the full recipe and nutritional information here

Vegan Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese

For the vegan recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

1 (2-3 lb) sugar or pie pumpkin (or 2 cups of canned pumpkin puree)

10 ounces gluten-free or regular pasta

1 tbsp. avocado or coconut oil 

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp. arrowroot starch

1-1 ¼ cup unsweetened plain almond or rice milk 

½ tsp sea salt

3 tbsp. chopped sage or thyme (or half amount of both)

5 tbsp. nutritional yeast (Braggs)

4 tbsp. vegan parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

If you choose to bake your pumpkin, you’ll want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stem, cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Brush the inside of the pumpkin with avocado oil and place on a baking sheet with the skin side facing up. Bake for 45+ minutes until the pumpkin is soft. 

Cook the pasta according to package directions. In a high-speed blender, put the 2 cups of pumpkin (either the one just baked or the canned pumpkin), peeled roasted garlic, arrowroot starch, sea salt, sage, thyme , nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and red pepper flakes. Add the dairy-free milk in small increments as you blend to get the right consistency. The sauce should be smooth and creamy when finished! You can also adjust the herbs, cheese, salt and pepper to suit your taste. Pour sauce into a pan over medium, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Ladle onto a bowl of the prepared pasta and it’s ready to eat! 

Get the full recipe from the Minimalist Baker by following this link