Believe it or not, I posted a version of this recipe almost 7 years ago when I started this blog! Revisiting the recipe today brought back all the feels, and whether or not you like it, I’m going to share them with you. Skip this part if you don’t care.
- I have been blogging for 7 years (!!!!!). When I started, I was a 3-year-married but still childless third year pediatric resident at MGH. I used to eat dinner at 7:30 PM (or 10 PM, or whenever I damn well pleased), made whatever I felt like eating for dinner, and did not have to worry about anyone complaining. I worked 80ish hours per week, but still found time to cook. I can’t even comprehend that lifestyle anymore.
- This recipe is one of those recipes I keep on rotation, year after year. It’s apparently timeless, for me at least.
- I rarely follow recipes. When I arrived at this post to make updates, I was amazed that I used the same measurements that I did 7 years ago, without even knowing it.
Back to the recipe, though. I’m here to add value to your life, not suck away all of your time. Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with chickpea pasta turns out to be just as epically delicious as regular mac and cheese, but has the added bonus of being FULL of protein and fiber. When I first made this recipe, chickpea pasta wasn’t yet a thing. Now, it’s my number one way of tricking my kids into eating a big bowl of chickpeas that they think is a bowl of pasta. We all win.
Adding pumpkin is a nice way to add a fraction of a serving of veggies into the meal without drawing too much attention to it. To wrap up the meal, I served each kid and grown up a few big steamed broccoli florets (which would taste awesome mixed in and smothered in cheese sauce), and I didn’t hear a single complaint about it.
Let’s recap, here: mac and cheese (win). Extra fiber and protein (win). No complaining from children or adults (big win). Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with chickpea pasta is a winner.
Want to change it up?
- Use regular pasta–I suggest something small, like elbows or shells.
- Use more pumpkin.
- Use pureed orange squash of some kind instead of pumpkin.
- Try a different cheese, like all cheddar, all jack, or maybe even some Swiss.
- Don’t bake it (and save time)! Just mix the sauce with the pasta, and serve.
Did you try it?
Comment below, tag me on the ‘gram (@whitecoatpinkapron), or comment on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you!
Looking for similar recipes?
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with chickpea pasta is an easy way to get fiber and protein into your diet with minimal effort. This recipe is just as creamy and cheesy as regular mac and cheese, but with the benefit of added nutrients from chickpeas and pumpkin.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk I used 1%
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 8 oz chickpea pasta (or you can use regular elbows)
- 1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or cheddar/monterrey jack mix)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (Italian style preferred, but you can use panko or plain)
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Start by boiling a pot of water for the pasta on the stove. While it's heating, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low.
When melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes (this is a roux). Whisk in the milk, trying to fully incorporate the roux.
Add the garlic. Cook on medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened (about 7-10 minutes). Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
When the water is boiling, add about 1 tsp of kosher salt, and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions. When done, drain, and keep in a colander.
While the pasta is boiling, return to the sauce. Over low heat, very slowly whisk the cheddar into the milk sauce, about 1/4 cup at a time. The sauce should continue to look like a sauce, and should not have clumps or be stringy. If it starts to get stringy, slow down! Once the cheese is fully incorporated, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the pumpkin to the cheese sauce, and whisk to combine.
In a baking dish large enough to fit the pasta, combine the pasta and sauce. Stir gently to combine well. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.
Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs begin to brown and the cheese sauce becomes bubbly.
Each serving has 46g protein and 17g fiber.