Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese that’s gush-worthy. This is what it is.

This Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is creamy and tangy and orange and bright. It’s comfort food, seasonal, and Paleo-friendly. (Haha just kidding on the last one; Paleo friends, you might want to look away.)

It has  a full can of pumpkin, a full cup of Greek yogurt, and I did use whole wheat macaroni, but I didn’t even try to fool myself into thinking that this is healthy. I can say that it’s healthier than regular mac and cheese, but make no mistake, each bite is a taste of pure indulgence. A cheesy, smoky, rich-tasting indulgence that I think you should all experience right away.

I wanted to make a hearty, pumpkin-based dish for my company’s Annual Halloween Party and Potluck last week, and this fits the bill perfectly. I’ve made a couple of versions of pumpkin mac and cheese before, but they were just okay (thus they never made it to the blog). But this recipe, oh this one, is a keeper.

The smoked gouda had a lot to do with it. I like smoky flavors but I don’t want it in overwhelming doses. The sharpness of the smoked gouda was tempered nicely by the mellow pumpkin puree and the tartness of the Greek yogurt.

I topped the whole dish off with more cheese – sharp cheddar – plus breadcrumbs and crumbles of crispy fried sage, a genius idea from Sues at We are Not Martha. I actually looked into two of my favorite blogs for inspiration for this dish, so my recipe is sort of like a lovechild of We Are Not Martha’s Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and Sugarlaws’ Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.

I love the idea of using one big casserole and a couple of little ramekins – this way I can bring an untouched pan to the potluck, and have a couple of portion-controlled ones left for me.

The only problem is that it was so good, I was tempted to eat two ramekins worth in one sitting.

Yield: serves 8

Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese


1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups grated smoked gouda
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1/2 cup whole wheat Italian breadcrumbs (you can also use plain or panko)
10 sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt, stir until smooth, cooking for a minute.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium low. Pour in the vegetable stock and cayenne pepper , stir until smooth, cooking for 3-5 minutes. Add in all of the gouda cheese and 1 cup of the sharp cheddar cheese, reserving 1/2 cup for later. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add cooked elbow macaroni to sauce, tossing gently to combine. Spoon onto a baking dish (and/or individual ramekins).
  6. In a small frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Fry up the sage leaves for about 30 seconds on each side, then transfer to a cutting board and chop finely.
  7. Top the macaroni with the remaining cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs and fried sage. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.

Now wait for the gushing compliments to come rolling in.

On another note, I received a fun Halloween treat last week from Equal Exchange (remember the chocolate and beer pairings I tried several months ago?). They sent over a couple of boxes of chocolates, which I shared with my co-workers and friends:

I tried a few of the milk chocolate minis, as well as the new Fair Trade candy bars. My favorite was the Milk Chocolate Crisp with Puffed Rice and Quinoa. (Yup, quinoa in a candy bar!) It reminded me of a Nestle crunch with a slight nuttiness from the quinoa. If you guys are interested in trying out the new Equal Exchange candy bars, you should check out their Candy Bar Game at their Facebook page, where you can enter to win a candy bar gift basket. You might be tempted to eat a couple of bars in one sitting.

But don’t. We’re all about individual portions and self-control here.

Except maybe when it comes to mac and cheese?



35 Responses to “Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese”

  1. #
    christina posted October 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

    This looks heavenly. I need to cook with sage more. So delicious.

  2. #
    Jenny @ BAKE posted October 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

    this sounds amazing! I might have to have a try at this soon!

  3. #
    Sues posted October 30, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Aww yay! I was just looking at my recipe last night and thinking about how I need to re-make it! Now I think I need to make this version… It’s beautiful!

  4. #
    Ashley posted October 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Oh, now this looks delicious! The comfort of mac and cheese with pumpkin and sage and smoked gouda…it’s got everything! And I’ve been eyeing the chocolate with puffed rice and quinoa for awhile, and now I am going to have to try it.

  5. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted October 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Love the sage and smoked Gouda combination! I generally rely on the standard Cheddar and Gruyere…

  6. #
    Meghan @ After the Ivy League posted October 30, 2012 at 11:37 am

    This is one of those recipes that gets pinned immediately!! I’ve been craving a nice baked pasta dish, and this looks absolutely perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  7. #
    Samantha Angela posted October 30, 2012 at 11:45 am

    That sounds SO good. :d

  8. #
    Shannon posted October 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    crispy sage is pretty fantastic, and i love the sounds of this mac n cheese :)

  9. #
    Juliana posted October 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Wow, this look great…love the idea of pumpkin in the mac and cheese and the crispy sage is sure an great feature.
    Thanks for the recipe Bianca and have a wonderful week ahead :)

  10. #
    Liz @ EatingPlaces posted October 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Mmm such a great combination of flavors and I love how the pumpkin makes the pasta a vibrant orange.

    I have the same portion control problem – I make individual sizes of something and then eat three of them! But when it comes to homemade deliciousness like this, I think it’s okay :)

  11. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted October 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I made something similar the other weekend but with butternut squash…and now I wish I had thought to use smoked gouda! Sounds perfect.

  12. #
    Daisy posted October 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    wow Bianca, this version of mac n cheese looks so good!

  13. #
    Amy (Savory Moments) posted October 31, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Delicious! I recently made and similar mac n’ cheese and we loved it! Perfect for fall.

  14. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted October 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

    This dish looks divine, Bianca!! Just like something out of the pages of a magazine!

  15. #
    AllieNic @ Frisky Lemon posted October 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Nooo!! This looks SO good…my Paleo eyeballs have been seared by the mac and cheesy goodness! It’s all I can think about now…maybe I’ll use some gluten-free noodles and make it into a nice treat meal ;)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted October 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Haha it’s definitely a treat meal! Happy halloween!

  16. #
    honeywhatscooking posted October 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    looks delicious and so much healthier than your traditional mac and cheese. bookmarking. great job!

  17. #
    Megan posted October 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    This looks so, so good. I almost made butternut squash mac and cheese tonight but we were out running errands. Will probably make it tomorrow. I’m wishing I had some Gouda for it now!

  18. #
    Katie@Cozydelicious posted October 31, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Oh wow, this looks amazing! So creamy and full of flavor. I love smoked gouda – and I love pumpkin! I have to try this!

  19. #
    The Squishy Monster posted November 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    There’s nothing about this that I don’t LOVE!

  20. #
    CCU posted November 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Healthy and yet so tasty and delicious :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  21. #
    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings posted November 2, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Oh, Bianca! I have a weakness for mac ‘n cheese. I should be avoiding this now because I am on a “diet” (ahem) to lose 15 pounds before I go back to work! But you are certainly tempting me to make this for the weekend for la familia! They are going to love this, I just know! I haven’t used smoked Gouda in cooking before…very interesting – have to change try it soon!

  22. #
    El posted November 2, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I love mac and cheese. I’ve never tried making it with yogurt before- thanks for the tip!

  23. #
    Joanne posted November 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Really…I could kiss you right now. After the marathon. this is SO happening.

  24. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted November 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    This sounds great! I can never find a good pumpkin mac and cheese recipe…I feel like it’s too pumpkiny. But I feel like the smoked gouda in this would balance it out. It looks SO cheesy and delicious :)

  25. #
    Lilly Sue posted November 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Oh my goodness, I might need to make this!! I love mac n cheese. I love gouda and I love pumpkin :D

  26. #
    Leah posted November 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    This seriously looks and sounds beyond amazing. I just pinned this so I remember to make it… sooner rather than later! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  27. #
    Ashley - Baker by Nature posted November 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Whoa – incredible flavors here!!! Sounds like some sensational mac and cheese!

  28. #
    petit4chocolatier posted November 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    This looks so good!!! I love Mac and Cheese, and am always looking for different ways to prepare it!!

  29. #
    Ashley posted December 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I LOVE mac n cheese. Never thought of adding pumpkin in it before, though! Can’t wait to try it!

  30. #
    Allison posted December 1, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Looks delicious! If I am going to cook this in a large casserole instead of the individual ramekins, how long should it bake for??

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted December 1, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Hi Allison, 15-20 minutes :) Enjoy!!


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