If you’re like me, you love pumpkin just as much in savory dishes as you do in sweet ones.
Take my tomato and pumpkin pasta sauce or my vegan pumpkin risotto, for example.
But today, we’re talking about another savory dish...
Mac and cheese to be exact.
So, what are you waiting for?
Let's make some pumpkin mac and cheese!
Why you'll love this pumpkin mac n cheese
- It has a creamy pumpkin cheese sauce
- Ready in about 15 minutes
- Perfect fall appetizer or side dish, especially during pumpkin season
- Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, and dairy-free pumpkin mac n cheese
- A healthy option that adds a hefty helping of vitamin A among other nutrients to the mix
- Still has that cheesy flavor that kids crave and can become a fall-flavored new favorite recipe
Ingredients you'll need
- Gluten-Free Pasta - use the shape of your choice such as rotini, elbows, shells, etc.
- Canned Pumpkin Puree - using canned pumpkin puree saves time and makes this recipe super easy, but if you're feeling up for it, you could definitely use fresh pumpkin!
- Light (or Lite) Coconut Milk - adds the perfect amount of creaminess expected in a regular mac and cheese recipe
- Nutritional Yeast - nutritional yeast flakes give the mac and cheese vegan cheese sauce a "cheesy" flavor
- Arrowroot Starch/Flour - thickens the sauce
- Ground Mustard - just a bit for flavor
- Garlic Powder - also for flavor
- Salt - for balance
How to make vegan pumpkin mac and cheese
Cook your choice of gluten-free pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, start the creamy sauce.
Add pumpkin puree, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, arrowroot, salt, ground mustard and garlic powder to a high-powered blender.
Blend on high, scraping the sides as needed, until ingredients are well-incorporated.
Transfer pumpkin sauce to a saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking frequently, until heated throughout.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce after draining.
Stir to combine.
Enjoy your delicious vegan pumpkin mac n cheese.
Substitutions and variations
- Light Coconut Milk: You can use unsweetened vegan half & half instead, but if you want to keep this recipe oil-free, ensure the brand you are using does not have any oil in the ingredients.
- Arrowroot: You can use cornstarch instead, but note that it does make the sauce thicker. Therefore, you might not need as much cornstarch as you would arrowroot.
- Add ingredients: You can use some complementary flavors to this savory pumpkin recipe, like onion powder, rosemary, sage leaves, or nutmeg. If you like heat, add a dash of red pepper flakes and some coarse black pepper.
- Even more cheesiness: Try adding in some vegan cream cheese or vegan parmesan cheese as a garnish to really knock out the mac and cheese flavor.
- Love pumpkin even more? A dash of pumpkin spice would be a great addition - this really brings that cozy fall dinner vibe to the vegan pumpkin macaroni and cheese.
Ideas for serving
This pasta dish pairs perfectly with our maple Dijon baked tempeh, marinated tempeh, chickpea veggie loaf, baked BBQ tofu or your favorite veggie burger or an autumn-inspired salad.
Of course, you could just simply enjoy a bowl of it on its own too!
It's awesome garnished with vegan Parmesan, hemp seeds, crushed red pepper flakes and even crushed up kale chips.
I used Brad's Original Crunchy Kale on mine. 🙂
You could also mix in some cooked kale, spinach or peas.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you sure can. I love doing this, making a big batch of mac and cheese and having it for lunch and another dinner for the next day or two. It's such a versatile recipe that can be used with so many main dishes. I suggest making some extra sauce to reheat and add with it when you reheat it, making it the best vegan mac and cheese with pumpkin all over again.
As I just mentioned, I love freezing this mac and cheese. I suggest letting your pumpkin mac cool to room temperature before transferring it to a freezer safe bag or freezer safe airtight container and then placing it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Don't forget to label it so you know what it is and when to use it by!
Storing and reheating leftovers
Store leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat in a covered microwave-safe dish in the microwave until warmed throughout.
You can also reheat in a pot on the stovetop until warmed throughout, stirring frequently. However, note that the pasta might start to fall apart with this method.
More vegan mac and cheese recipes
Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- 12 oz gluten-free pasta of choice (you can use wheat-based pasta if not avoiding gluten)
- 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
- 1 cup canned unsweetened light (or lite) coconut milk *see substitutions below
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch/flour *see substitutions below
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt, plus more to taste, if desired
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Cook your gluten-free pasta of choice according to package directions. Be sure not to overcook. While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce.
- Add pumpkin puree, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, arrowroot, salt, ground mustard and garlic powder to a high-powered blender.
- Blend on high, scraping the sides as needed, until ingredients are well-incorporated. Taste test and add more salt, if desired.
- Transfer pumpkin sauce to a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking or stirring frequently until sauce is thoroughly heated.
- When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs and other helpful information for this recipe)
This post originally appeared on Watch Learn Eat on October 11, 2019. It has been republished to reflect both recipe and photo revisions. Changes to the story were also made.
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This sauce sounds sooo good and i bet it's super versatile!!! I love that the base is made with butternut squash!
Thank you so much, Christie! 🙂