This delicious Pumpkin Mac and Cheese recipe got a little bit of a makeover. It’s loaded with healthy pumpkin and kale but is still the creamy and delicious carbs you love.
- 1 lb. macaroni (gluten-free, if needed – I recommend using Chickapea Pasta)
- 1/2 lb. thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1 teaspoon crumbled sage
- 1 cup pasta water
- 1/4 cup panko (gluten-free, if needed)
The cheese sauce:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten-free, if needed)
- 2 cups milk of choice
- 1 cup each: grated sharp cheddar and grated mozzarella (avoid using pre-grated cheeses)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 – 15 ounce can of pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Put a large pot of salted water on high heat. When it comes to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Remove 2 cups of the pasta water from the pot then drain the pasta. Add it back into the pot and set it aside. (Don’t overcook the pasta as it will continue to cook in the oven.)
- While the water is heating/ pasta cooking, prepare the rest of recipe. In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is crispy then remove it from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and let it cook until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and sage and let the kale wilt. Set the pan aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add the milk all at once and bring it to a boil. When it thickens, add the cheeses, Dijon mustard, and sea salt and whisk until the cheese melts. Stir in the pumpkin and heat through.
- Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and add the bacon and onion/ kale to the pot. Stir the pot well and add as much pasta water as you need to loosen the pasta – I normally add about a cup.
- Transfer the mac and cheese to a 13-inch casserole dish, sprinkle the top with panko and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the sides are bubbling and the top starts to brown.