Healthier Pumpkin Mac and Beer and Cheese

12 Sep
The jackets come out of storage, the scarves get wrapped around necks, and the windows which once let in a warm summer breeze are now shut tight. Yep,it’s fall. And I’m pretty happy about that. Baking, cute coats, boots, sweaters, hot tea, and….PUMPKIN! All things pumpkin.C’mon, jump on board the gourd train and join in the obsession. At least it’s a healthier one!

Healthier Pumpkin Mac and Beer and Cheese |

Yep, it really is that orange in color!

This dish screams Wisconsin. The beer and cheeses used are all made in my home state, so you know it’s going to be good. We do cheese (and beer) right.

Warm up your house, hearts, and stomachs with this amazing pumpkin mac & cheese. Beer replaces some of the milk, real Wisconsin cheeses make this decadent, whole wheat pasta ups the fiber content, and Greek yogurt adds a nice dose of lean protein. Pair it with a salad and you’re good to go.

Healthier Pumpkin Mac and Beer and Cheese |

Too bad you can’t smell this – it was amazing!

It’s comfort food taken to the extreme – you’ll definitely want seconds!

Healthy Pumpkin Mac & Beer & Cheese, adapted from The Lemon Bowl

Serves 6

  • 14 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 C nondairy or skim milk
  • 1 C (8oz) beer (I used a summer ale – drink the rest!)
  • 1.5 C shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar and edam – both Wisconsin-made)
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 and spray a medium-sized casserole dish (8×8″) with olive oil PAM.

In a large pot, cook pasta to al dente. Drain, return to pot, and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium sauce pot and saute diced onion until transparent. Add the milk, beer and flour and continuously whisk over medium heat until it begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.

Tip: use your food processor to speed up the cheese shredding. Cut your cheese off the block in 1″ cube chunks, and pulse until you reach a consistency that will melt into the sauce. Do the same for the parmesan that goes on top!

Stir in shredded cheeses, pumpkin, mustard, grated garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk mixture until cheese is melted and sauce thickens even further, about 5 more minutes.

Pour pumpkin cheese sauce over the pasta in the pot and mix until pasta is evenly coated. Taste and make sure you like it. Stir in yogurt, then pour entire mixture into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan with olive oil until evenly coated. Sprinkle on top of the pasta. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until the cheese bubbles and a crust forms on top. Serve and eat hot. Enjoy!

Healthier Pumpkin Mac and Beer and Cheese |

Look at the crispy noodles; the melty cheese, the browned panko. YUM.

Not sure what to do with your leftover pumpkin puree? Transfer to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge until morning, when you can make a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!


4 Responses to “Healthier Pumpkin Mac and Beer and Cheese”

  1. genevieve y September 12, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Oooo, I have bee on the gourd train for a very long time! I can’t resist anything pumpkin, haha. Love the idea of this mac and cheese- yum!

    • xtinaluvspink September 12, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      Thanks!! Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

  2. Leigha September 12, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    This sounds amaaaaazing!! I love mac&chese so much. I wonder how I would like the beer in it. I like beer bread, but I’m not a huge fan of plain beer! I live just north of you in Wisconsin in the Upper Peninsula. Have you ever been up here? 🙂

    • xtinaluvspink September 24, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      The beer really is only a supporting flavor. Depending on the type you use, it really will only add liquid to it (think PBR).

      I have never been further north than Shawano – the UP is so far!!!

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