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A Dutch oven full of pumpkin mac and cheese with kale. There's a spoon setting in the pot of mac and cheese.

Stovetop Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Kale Recipe

Flavor packed and texture rich with sneaky veggies, Stovetop Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Kale comes together quick and is freezer friendly. The crispy shallots are optional, but recommended! | This recipe is vegetarian and easily gluten free.
*See blog post above for more tips! 
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword Gluten Free Mac and Cheese, Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Stovetop Mac and Cheese, Vegetarian Mac and Cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5 Servings
Calories 399kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


For the Shallots (optional but recommended!):

  • 3/4 cups (155 grams) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) Thinly Sliced Shallots about one large
  • Fine Sea Salt for sprinkling

For the Mac and Cheese

  • 8 ounces (230 grams) Pasta Shells or Elbows gluten free pasta if needed.
  • 1/2 pound (215 grams) Kale any variety, stem ends removed, about one bunch
  • 1 cup (225 grams) Homemade Cashew Milk (unsweetened) or heavy (whole) cream
  • 1 cup (245 grams) Pumpkin Puree homemade or from a can
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic fresh, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sage or Thyme fresh, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) Sharp Cheddar Cheese not pre shredded. I like raw white sharp
  • 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt plus more to taste
  • 5-6 dashes Tabasco OR 2 Tbs Vegetarian Worcestershire to taste


For the Crispy Shallots:

  • In a shallow sauce pot, add the olive oil. Heat on medium to medium high until the oil shimmers. To see if the oil is ready, toss in a slice of shallot. If it starts to fry, the oil is ready. Toss the shallots in the oil and fry for about 7-9 minutes stirring occasionally with a fork to loosen the shallots. Turn the heat to medium low, keep frying and keep an eye on them. When they start to evenly turn golden brown, remove from heat.
    Drain through a fine mesh sieve, reserving that now fragrant olive oil (sooo good in salad dressings or a drizzle in soup) in a glass jar and set the shallots on a paper towel to dab off any excess oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top and set aside to cool. 
    Store in a lidded container. They are best enjoyed on the day made. 

For the Mac and Cheese:

  • In medium Dutch oven or stock pot, fill with water to 2/3 full. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook the pasta according to package directions. Two minutes before the pasta is done, using tongs, plunge the kale into the water and cook for those two last minutes. Fish out the kale using tongs, and set the kale on a plate to cool. Drain the pasta, set aside and dry out the pot with a kitchen towel.
  • In the same medium Dutch oven or stock pot, whisk together the Homemade Cashew Milk or cream, pumpkin, garlic and sage or thyme. Heat on medium-low heat until the mixture starts to bubble and steam. Remove from heat and slowly, one small handful at a time, gently whisk in the cheese. Add more just when the previous handful of cheese has melted. 
  • Once all the cheese has been added, put the pot back on the stove, turn the heat on to the lowest setting and stir until that last handful of cheese has melted in and the mixture is warmed through, about 3-4 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, squeeze as much water as you can out of the kale, and chop it into bite size pieces. Add it to the sauce along with the salt and Tabasco or Worcestershire, stir then, gently stir in the pasta. Taste for salt and Tabasco or Worcestershire adjustment. Lid the mac and cheese and warm thorough on lowest heat for just a few minutes. 
    If the mixture seems too thick, add a splash or two of milk to loosen it up a bit.  Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with crispy shallots. 
  • Store in a lidded container for up to three days in the refrigerator. Rewarm on lowest heat, lidded with a splash or two of milk to loosen the mac and cheese. Freeze for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. 



If you find somehow you're in broken sauce territory, Food 52 has lots of helpful tips! 
Recipe inspired by Cafe Flora Cookbook. Crispy Shallots adapted from Epicurious
Nutrition is for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Kale, made with cashew milk (excludes the shallots):


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 804mg | Potassium: 481mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 12612IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 428mg | Iron: 2mg