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Perhaps the best vegan pumpkin Mac and Cheese you will ever eat! Macaroni tossed with a creamy vegan pumpkin cheese sauce and sprinkled with fragrant panko-sage breadcrumbs – plant-based comfort food at its highest level!

vegan pumpkin mac and cheese

Pumpkin pasta has never been creamier, tastier, nor easier to cook! I dare to call this pumpkin mac and cheese recipe one of the best fall soul food of all time. 

Pumpkin and pasta are a great combination, but it gets even better when you transform the two into a modified version of Macaroni and Cheese.

The pumpkin pasta sauce is a mixture of pumpkin puree and vegan cheese sauce, making it incredibly delicious, smooth, and creamy. Besides, pumpkin adds healthy nutrients to this pasta dish and a vibrant yellow-orange color.

And as if that’s not enough! Aren’t vegan pumpkin mac and cheese even better with a crunchy topping? That’s why we top them off with golden brown toasted sage-panko-breadcrumbs!

pumpkin mac and cheese in a large bowl with golden cutlery

No matter what your plans are, you can serve a loaded bowl of this dairy-free pumpkin pasta for your next date night, family, dinner, or a cozy TV night. 

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

It’s rather simple to make a plant-based mac and cheese sauce. All you need is pumpkin puree, cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, and a few spices. 

Toss everything in a blender and blend it into a smooth and creamy sauce! No expensive dairy-free cheese substitute needed – nor is any cooking involved.

Don’t get fooled at how liquid the sauce might seem. Once you toss it with the cooked pasta, it starts to thicken into a perfect mac and cheese sauce!

macaroni with pumpkin pasta sauce and panko sage topping

Best Pasta for Mac and Cheese

Traditionally, as the name already reveals, mac n cheese is made with macaroni. Regular macaroni or elbow macaroni!

However, you can use any kind of short pasta to make this pumpkin pasta recipe.

Especially recommended are:

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Pipe Rigate
  • Cellentani
  • Conchiglie Rigate (Shell Pasta – go for the smaller ones)
  • Penne
  • Rigatoni
  • Rotini

Use gluten-free pasta (I love the ones from Barilla with corn and rice flour) to make a gluten-free pumpkin mac and cheese version, and skip the breadcrumbs. The pasta sauce is already gluten-free.

How To Make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This step-by-step guide will help you along the way – definitely recommended if you’re a cooking beginner! It’s even easier if you watch the recipe video!

The exact quantities can be found in the recipe card below.

Before you start: This recipe calls for pumpkin purée, which I highly recommend making from scratch following this homemade pumpkin puree recipe!

  • Cook the pasta in boiling salt water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add sage and panko and toast until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
panko sage recipe step 1
  • Meanwhile, add all ingredients for the pumpkin cheese sauce to a blender.
recipe step 2
  • Blend until creamy.
pumpkin mac & cheese recipe step 3
  • Add cooked macaroni and pumpkin cheese sauce back into the pot (in which you cooked the pasta) and stir to combine for one minute over medium heat. Season to taste with additional salt & black pepper. → The pumpkin sauce thickens quite a bit once hot! Feel free to add vegan cheese, yet it’s unnecessary as the sauce is already super creamy!
recipe step 4
  • Sprinkle with the toasted panko breadcrumbs. Enjoy! 😉

Recipe FAQ & Tips

How long can I store leftovers? For up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freeze the pumpkin cheese sauce for up to 3 months in a freezer bag. Thaw it in a pot, toss with cooked pasta, and you have a ready meal in a matter of minutes!

How do I reheat leftovers? Either in the microwave or in a pot over medium heat. Add some water to liquify the sauce.

Do I have to soak the cashew nuts? It’s not necessary to soak them if you have a high-speed blender. However, if you have a lower quality blender, soak them for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Do you love Baked Mac & Cheese? Toss the cooked pasta with the pumpkin cheese sauce directly in a baking dish, sprinkle with the toasted panko, and bake it for 10 minutes in the preheated oven at 395°F (200°C). 

More Vegan Recipes You’ll Love:

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📖 Recipe

vegan pumpkin mac and cheese

Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Perhaps the best vegan pumpkin Mac and Cheese you will ever eat! Macaroni tossed with a creamy vegan pumpkin cheese sauce and sprinkled with fragrant panko-sage breadcrumbs – plant-based comfort food at its highest level!
Author : Aline Cueni
5 from 6 votes

Click on the stars to leave a vote!

Prep Time :5 minutes
Cook Time :15 minutes
Total Time :20 minutes
Servings : 3
Calories : 559kcal

Ingredients
 

Mac and Cheese

  • 10.5 oz (300 g) macaroni or short pasta of choice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sage fresh or dried
  • ¼ cup (20 g) panko breadcrumbs

Pumpkin Cheese Sauce

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta in boiling salt water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add sage and panko and toast until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, add all ingredients for the pumpkin cheese sauce to a blender and blend until creamy.
  • Add cooked macaroni and pumpkin cheese sauce back into the pot and toss to combine for one minute over medium heat. Season to taste with additional salt & black pepper. → The pumpkin sauce thickens quite a bit once hot! Feel free to add vegan cheese, yet it’s not necessary as the sauce is already super creamy!
  • Sprinkle with the toasted panko breadcrumbs. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Cashew Nuts: It’s not necessary to soak the cashew nuts if you have a high-speed blender. However, if you have a lower quality blender, soak them for about 10 minutes in boiling water.
  • Panko: I highly recommend using panko for this recipe. Those Japanese breadcrumbs are coarser and crispier than regular breadcrumbs. However, if you don’t have panko at hand, replace it with regular breadcrumbs.
  • Keeps fresh for 3 days. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a pot over medium heat and add some water to liquify the sauce.
  • Freeze the pumpkin cheese sauce for up to 3 months.
  • Love baked macaroni and cheese? Toss cooked pasta with pumpkin cheese sauce and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle with the toasted panko breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven (395°F/200°C).

Nutrition

Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 830mg | Potassium: 584mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 12827IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @aline_made on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a few “best” vegan macs and this is by far the easiest and most delicious! I didn’t have breadcrumbs this time so I put a little sage in the sauce and it turned out great so I can only imagine how good it will be when I add them next time. Thank you—My new go-to recipe to impress everyone!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely feedback, Kim! So glad you liked the recipe that much! 💕

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe. The only complaint to this great tasting dish is that a tsp. of salt is way too much. Probably a pinch is sufficient. Will definitely make it again, but with much less salt.

  3. 5 stars
    Sooooo gooood!! I was looking up a pumpkin recipe because I had an open can in the fridge…this exceeded my expectations. I didn’t have sage so I used thyme for the breadcrumbs. My word the flavor…those toasted breadcrumbs really take this dish to the NEXT LEVEL! My husband says it is more of a “pumpkin pasta” than Mac & cheese but it is still absolutely delicious and ultimate comfort food! Will definitely be making again this fall.

    1. I am so happy you and your husband like this pumpkin pasta recipe so much! Thank you for letting me know, Deanna! ❤️ Feel free to add some dairy-free cheese to the sauce, your husband might like it! 😉