At the first hint of fall, I immediately crave pumpkin everything – pies, lattes, dips, muffins, smoothies, mac and cheese. That’s right, I said mac and cheese! Smoky Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, lightened up with Greek yogurt. Nothing like snuggling up with the ultimate comfort food while not feeling an ounce of guilt!
This mac and cheese just tastes like fall, and it’s a guaranteed instant cure for grey days. Besides making you not feel bad for going in for seconds (because you will), the Greek yogurt adds a blast of protein – about 14-17 grams, in fact, per 6 ounce serving. Yogurt also makes the mac and cheese extra creamy, which means extra delicious!
Greek yogurt is one of my secrets to making favorite typically higher-calorie recipes like pasta, dips and baked treats a little healthier. Especially during the holidays, where rich, decadent recipes seem to be following you, subbing Greek yogurt for heavier ingredients like sour cream, butter, dressing or heavy cream can help lighten things up. Plus, the protein helps cut down on unnecessary snacking because it keeps you fuller longer!
There’s just enough pumpkin in this mac and cheese to satisfy your craving, and it goes together with aged Parmesan and white cheddar like, well, mac and cheese!
Smoky Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese
- 10 minutes
- 1 hour
- 4 servings
1 head of garlic
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces white rice elbow macaroni noodles (can sub in whole wheat noodles)
6 ounces smoked white cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups, very firmly packed)
2 ounces aged Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
Sliced sage or parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F. Cut two small pieces of tinfoil, and place on top of each other, shiny side in.
- Cut the end of the garlic off, exposing all of the cloves, but leaving them stuck together. Place the garlic, cut-side up onto the center of the tinfoil. Drizzle with the olive oil, rubbing it into the clove.
- Fold the tinfoil up to make a packet and place onto a small baking sheet. Bake until the garlic is golden brown and the cloves are soft, about 40-45 minutes.
- Once the garlic is done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cool enough to handle, dice garlic.
- Once cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and then drain the rest of the water out of the pasta.
- Transfer the cooked pasta back into the pot, and place it on the stove set at medium-low heat.
- Add in 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Then, add in cheddar and Parmesan cheeses a little bit at a time. Stir between each addition, until the cheese is totally melted. Then, continue adding in at intervals until you’ve added in all the cheese.
- Stir the pumpkin, Greek yogurt and a pinch of salt and pepper into the noodles until smooth and creamy. Add diced garlic and mix into sauce to taste. Add a touch more of the reserved pasta water, if you don’t want it to be quite as thick. Garnish with sage or parsley (if desired) and DEVOUR.