I’m a sucker for pumpkin. It’s a problem. Especially this time of year, where there is pumpkin everything at the grocery store. Pumpkin bagels (yeah, I bought them). Pumpkin cream cheese (bought that too). Pumpkin creamer (at least I bought the sugar free kind).
Talk about diet hazard!
Most of the time, pumpkin is associated with sweet things, but it can be very effective and delicious in savory foods as well. And in the right hands, pumpkin is very healthy! It’s a squash, so it is in the starch family. Ie, it’s a not a “free food” like most vegetables. You shouldn’t gorge yourself on pumpkin. But it’s still a very healthy starch option.
If you’re looking for something with pumpkin for Thanksgiving that isn’t standard fare but would fit right in, give this a try. It’s kind of like a grown up mac & cheese bake with added pumpkin and chicken sausage. It’s got a bit of a peppery kick too, but it’s the crunchy topping that makes this savory dish memorable.
Yields: 6 servings
Cook Time: including stove top and oven, about 45 minutes, plus time for water to boil
1½ cups short pasta such as farfalle, penne, or ziti
3 Tbsp light butter
1½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
¼ cup water
1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin
3 Italian chicken sausage links, cut into ½ inch pieces
5oz reduced fat gouda, such as Skinny Gouda, shredded
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
½ cup grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
½ cup Italian panko bread crumbs
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine water and evaporated milk. Then melt butter in the large pot over medium heat. Add flour and pepper, stirring constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and water mixture and cook until slightly thickened and bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the pumpkin, sausage, cheese, and sage. Stir to combine and continue to cook over medium heat until cheese melts.
3. Remove large pot from heat and stir in the set-aside pasta. Spoon mixture into a non-greased casserole dish.
4. Combine Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in a small bowl, then sprinkle on top of pumpkin pasta mixture. Place casserole in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Let casserole cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist…these are just the calculations I’m pretty sure are close to correct. I use BodyMedia to generate my information.
Saturated Fat: 5.2g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6g
Dietary Exchange: 2 Meat, 1½ Starch servings
Jenny Craig: Perfect for lunch or dinner.
Weight Watchers: 6 Points (using calculatorcat.com).