Pumpkin Mac and ‘Cheese’ (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

pumpkin mac and cheese

As the days grow ever colder and darker, I’m slowly letting go of summer and embracing Autumnal comfort food.

For me, the best thing about Autumn is making huge bowlfuls of steaming hot, delicious foods. I then like to cosy up on the sofa with Amir and dig in. So much so that I look forward to them all day! Curries, soups, stews…

Anyway, one of my favourite ingredients for any comfort food is pumpkin. Beautiful, vibrant, delicious pumpkin. In fact, we are only in September, and already it seems I’ve gone pumpkin crazy!

Soups, curries, cakes, and now this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese…I can’t get enough of my favourite Autumn veggie.

Weirdly, I was never was never a big fan of mac and cheese when I was growing up. It wasn’t until recent years that I discovered the appeal of this creamy, cheesy classic.

Perhaps it was because I only ever tried those cheap, tinned varieties, or perhaps it was because I never truly appreciated just how comforting and warming it could be.

However, this warming Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is the perfect antidote to all of those disgusting tinned pastas you may find. It’s nutritious, creamy, delicious and oh-so comforting.

mac and cheese

Made using some of my favourite ingredients, including Nutritional Yeast, coconut yoghurt and gluten-free Rizopia brown rice pasta, this is perfect food for a cold and rainy day.

It’s completely vegan-friendly (unless you choose to use cheese!) and is made using only wholesome, nutritious ingredients. And, while it may seem like a shame to “healthify” such a staple comfort food, I promise you won’t regret it…

So, why use pumpkin as the base for a pasta dish?

Well, aside from the fact that I love my carbs, pumpkin is incredibly good for you! It’s full of fibre and vitamin A to support healthy eyes and vision. It’s also packed with tryptophan, which can help us to sleep better and boost our mood, while the seeds are high in anti-oxidants and zinc.

vegan mac and cheese

Plus, let’s face it, it gives the most beautiful colour to food…

Isn’t it lovely?

If you’d like to give this delicious dish a go, then the recipe is right below!

Dreamy, creamy and perfectly comforting for those days when only carbs will do…

Sam x

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Serves 2-4 –
  • 300g Rizopia brown rice pasta (I used fusilli)
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours
  • 1/4 cup Co-Yo coconut yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup or more Nutritional Yeast OR 1/3-1/2 cup your cheese of choice (to taste)
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • Large pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Optional Extras: I added a splash of some Roots Collective Carrot Zing in place of some of the starchy water for an extra nutrient boost.
  • To serve: black pepper, fresh parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, then drain, reserving the cooking water and setting to one side.
  2. In a separate pan, boil or steam your pumpkin, carrot and onion until tender. Tip them into a blender along with the other ingredients (apart from the pasta!) and around 200ml of the reserved pasta cooking water. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Pour your elbows back into a saucepan, then stir through the sauce and gently reheat. Serve topped with more black pepper, as well as fresh parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch, and enjoy!

Author: Sam

I'm a freelance health, food and fitness journalist, busy mama and recipe creator!

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