Pumpkin Stuffed Pumpkin Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Pumpkin Stuffed Pumpkin Mac ‘N’ Cheese recipe by Ilene Godofsky Moreno in The Colorful Family Table

Total time: 20 minutes (plus time for roasting pumpkin)
Active time: 20 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

From Ilene: The all-time most popular recipe on The Colorful Kitchen blog is the original version of this dish, which uses sweet potato instead of pumpkin as the base. This dairy-free mac ’n’ cheese is always a guaranteed hit for dinner, and it’s easy to subtly switch the flavor up by using different varieties of sweet potato, pumpkin, and squash. Use your favorite pasta to make it your own—I like gluten-free brown rice elbows. This variation is extra fun because it uses a whole pumpkin: the flesh provides the base for the sauce, the shell forms the serving dish, and the roasted seeds add a pop of crunch on top.

6 servings of your favorite pasta, uncooked
1 Roasted Pumpkin (see instructions below; alternative in note)
1 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups packed greens of your choice
1/3 cup chopped Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

2. To prepare the sauce, scoop 1 cup of flesh from the pumpkin (scoop half from each side so the sides are even) and place it in a blender. If using canned puree, transfer it to the blender.

3. Add the nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, tamari, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the blender, and blend until smooth.

4. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the greens with 1 tablespoon of water until they wilt, 2–3 minutes. Stir in the sauce and pasta, and heat until warm, 4–5 minutes.

5. To serve, place the pumpkin halves on a serving dish and transfer as much of the pasta as will fit into the hollowed-out centers (serve the rest of the pasta on the side if necessary). Top with the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (if using) and enjoy warm.

Notes:
Greens likes kale and chard can be tough for toddlers to chew. To make this recipe more kid friendly, steam the greens until tender, then blend them right into the sauce.You can substitute 1 cup canned pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato puree for the roasted pumpkin. The presentation might not be as fun, but the dish is just as delicious.

Roasted Pumpkin

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Slice the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the stringy parts and seeds. Discard, or save for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

3. Place the pumpkin pieces sliced side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 40–55 minutes, until the flesh is tender. The amount of time will vary depending on the size of your pumpkin.

Note: To make homemade pumpkin or squash puree, follow the steps above, then scoop the flesh into a blender and blend until smooth.

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