pumpkin mac + cheese


Every since I tried using canned pumpkin in my Pumpkin Turkey Chili Recipe – I have never looked back.  It makes everything over the top creamy.  This is an ingredient you just cannot live without.

With this dish, the turkey bacon really adds great flavor and basically makes the dish.  If you’re thinking of leaving it out, you probably shouldn’t — just kidding, you can, I would probably add some fresh rosemary or sage while making the sauce to make up for flavor.


  • 1 lb fusili pasta, cooked al dente
  • 5-6 strips turkey bacon, cooked crispy
  • 1.5 cups low fat milk
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • large pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs tapioca flour (or cornstarch)
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumb
  • Optional: fresh chives, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Chop cooked bacon into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the 1 tbs tapioca flour with 1/4 cup water, until a thin paste forms.  Set aside.

In the now empty pot you used to cook the pasta, heat the milk, onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg and salt and bring to a simmer.  Next stir in the pumpkin until combined.  Add to it the tapioca ‘paste’ and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Shut the heat off and add the shredded cheeses, a 1/2 cup at a time until melted.  Add the pasta back into the pot and the bacon pieces, and mix all until combined/coated.  Transfer mixture to a baking dish and top with panko.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Put it on broil for a minute or two at the end, to get the top bread crumb golden brown – but make sure to watch it.  Remove from oven and top with fresh chives.

Yields 6 servings.

Special Notes:

  1. Make this dish gluten free by using gluten free pasta and subbing in 1 part almond meal and 1 part grated Parmesan cheese for the panko.  Or just get gluten free bread crumb.
  2. Feel free to use regular bacon, doesn’t have to be turkey.
  3. Any milk works with this.  Make it vegan by using vegan cheeses and almond milk.  And 86ing the bacon for broccoli.
  4. Make sure the canned pumpkin is just pumpkin — NOT pumpkin pie filling.

…delicious happens



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