An Easy and Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese that is delicious, flavorful, and plant-based. Perfect comfort food for fall and winter!
With Halloween over and Thanksgiving fast approaching is high time to use up any leftover pumpkins!
And what better dish to turn them into than a creamy, cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese?
This recipe is as simple as it is delicious! The sauce is made with a roasted pumpkin puree that we made from scratch, which is easy and just takes 20 minutes of oven-roasting. But, if you don’t have pumpkins lying around, canned pumpkin puree will work just as well.
Then, to the pumpkin puree, we add pantry staples and blend into a thick, rich, creamy, and cheesy sauce that you will want to eat day in and day out.
It may just become your new favorite recipe, and just in time for a delicious Thanksgiving side, too!
How to make pumpkin puree?
Start off with your pumpkin puree. For this, you can either use canned or make your own pumpkin puree. When making your own pumpkin puree you can even make it a day or two ahead, to save time or when meal-prepping.
Get a pumpkin (we use a red Kuri pumpkin, small in size, but other pumpkin types will work just as well). Cut it in half, remove the seeds, then slice it up. No need to peel the pumpkin. Drizzle the pumpkin slices with a bit of oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and bake at 200°C / 390°F for about 20 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and starting to get caramelized with dark brown spots as seen in the picture above.
Remove from oven and allow to cool down a bit, then scoop the pumpkin flesh into a blender (measure out about 1 ½ cup) and discard the skin.
You can use any leftover baked pumpkin in a soup or other recipes.
Can I use canned pumpkin puree?
Yes, you absolutely can use canned pumpkin puree for this recipe! It will cut your prep time significantly, plus it will make for a great pantry meal.
Make your Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Sauce
Place pumpkin puree in a blender, and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more milk if your sauce is too thick. That’s all! It’s so easy and simple, and you can whip it up in a minute.
Cook the pasta and combine with the pumpkin cheese sauce
All that remains is to cook your pasta according to package instructions (we always cook it al dente, which means it still has a bite to it and is not an overcooked mush). Always reserve a cup of pasta water before draining the cooked pasta.
Then, add the cooked pasta back into the pot and pour over your pumpkin cheese sauce.
At this point we also added about a tablespoon of vegan cream cheese and cooked everything on low for a minute or two, stirring regularly, adding the saved pasta water as necessary until the pumpkin mac and cheese looked creamy and well combined.
Make your crunchy breadcrumb topping
No mac and cheese is complete without a toasted breadcrumb topping for crunch. To make it, melt a teaspoon of vegan butter in a pan, then add in a tablespoon of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and gently cook, stirring regularly, until toasted to a golden-brown color.
You can make the crunchy breadcrumb topping while cooking your pasta, so it’s ready when the pasta is cooked.
Serve the vegan pumpkin mac and cheese with a sprinkle of the toasted breadcrumbs and some fresh thyme and black pepper on top.
And now on to the kitchen to use up any leftover Halloween pumpkins and have a comforting dish on the table in minutes.
Pumpkin cheese sauce:
- 1 ½ cup pumpkin puree (we used red Kuri pumpkin that we oven-roasted and then pureed)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup plant-based unsweetened milk (we used Koko)
- 250 grams pasta of your choice
- 1-2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (optional)
- 1 tsp vegan butter
- 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
- fresh thyme to top
- If you don't have pumpkin puree start by getting a small pumpkin, cut it up, and remove the seeds. Then, cut the pumpkin into slices, drizzle with some oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and proceed to bake in the oven at 200°C / 390 °F for about 20 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and starting to get caramelized. Remove from oven and cool down.
- Once cooled, scoop the pumpkin flesh into a blender (measure out about 1 ½ cup) and discard the skin.
- Place 1 ½ cup pumpkin puree in a blender, and add the rest of the ingredients: 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and about 1 cup plant-based unsweetened milk. Blend until smooth, adding more milk if your sauce is too thick.
- Cook your pasta al dente according to package instructions (our pasta took about 8-9 minutes). Once cooked, reserve a cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta back into the pot and pour over the pumpkin cheese sauce. Add a tablespoon of vegan cream cheese and cook on low for a minute or two, stirring regularly, adding the saved pasta water as necessary until the pumpkin mac and cheese looks to your liking.
- While the pasta cooks, in a pan, melt a teaspoon of vegan butter, then add in a tablespoon of breadcrumbs. Stir to combine and gently cook, stirring regularly, until toasted to a golden-brown color.
- Serve the vegan pumpkin mac and cheese with a sprinkle of the toasted breadcrumbs and some fresh thyme and black pepper on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 866mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g
Nutrition data is automatically calculated using Nutritionix and may not be accurate.
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