Creamy, savory, and healthy, this cheesy baked pumpkin pasta is the perfect Fall dinner recipe. It’s sure to be a hit with the whole family!
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This cheesy baked pumpkin pasta with brussels sprouts is one of my favorite healthy Fall-flavored dinner recipes!
This cheesy baked pumpkin pasta with brussels sprouts hits all the notes you could want from a baked pasta recipe: cheesy, creamy, savory, and chewy without being soggy.
Thanks to the addition of canned pumpkin, this healthy pasta recipe doesn’t require any heavy cream or butter. It’s also a bit lighter on the cheese thanks to using Romano, which is a more strongly-flavored cheese.
Being a dietitian, I also couldn’t help myself and threw in some roasted brussels sprouts as well. While this does add an extra step, I promise it’s 100% worth it as the brussels add a great caramelized note to the dish!
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or the whole family, this cheesy-yet-healthy pasta dish will be a hit!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Made without any heavy cream or butter.
- Packed with veggies.
- Filled with a variety of textures and flavors.
- Wonderfully creamy and cheesy.
Ingredients Used to Make Healthy Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta
- Banza penne pasta: I love both the nutrition stats and the texture of Banza chickpea pasta. While I’ve been able to find it at all the major grocery stores near me, you can also buy it online.
- Canned pumpkin: Make sure to use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. You can also make your own homemade pumpkin puree.
- Brussels sprouts: Don’t like brussels sprouts? Feel free to use broccoli or cauliflower instead.
- Pecorino Romano cheese: This is the key for being able to use less cheese as Romano has such a strong flavor. Don’t go cheap on this! If you can’t find Pecorino Romano, asiago or parmesan will work too.
- Shredded mozzarella: For that melty cheesy goodness, you’ll need shredded mozzarella. Use full-fat for a more indulgent bake or part-skim to cut back on calories and fat.
- Organic chicken sausage: My go-to brand is Applegate as it’s free of nitrites, nitrates, and many other potentially harmful additives. You can also use ground turkey instead, just make sure to brown it first and season with salt and pepper.
- Olive oil: Option to also use avocado oil.
- Shallot: I love how shallots are slightly sweet, as they pair so well with pumpkin. You can also use half of a small yellow onion.
- Garlic: Freshly minced or jarred.
- Nutmeg: Just a little will add warmth and a depth of flavor.
- Chicken broth: Vegetable broth will also work.
Is chickpea pasta healthier?
Chickpea pasta is a healthier alternative to regular pasta as, compared to regular pasta, it generally has:
- 2x more protein.
- 3x more fiber.
- 30% fewer net carbs.
Plus I love the texture of it! There are many brands out there but I’ve only tried Banza. If you have a go-to brand let me know in the comments!
Can I use regular pasta noodles instead?
Absolutely! Whole wheat ones will provide a little more fiber, but honestly it’s fine to use regular penne noodles as well.
How to Make this Healthy Pumpkin Pasta Recipe
The key to making this healthy pasta recipe is having a strategy. At first it may look like a lot of steps, but it really goes by quickly. I recommend getting the brussels sprouts going first.
Then, while they’re cooking, boil your pasta. And while the pasta is boiling, make your sauce. Everything should be done around the same time, so all that’s left is to mix it all together and bake.
Here are all the detailed steps condensed into the 3 main ones:
- Roast the brussels sprouts for 20 minutes to get them lightly browned with that slight caramelized flavor.
- While the brussels are roasting, cook your noodles and make the pumpkin sauce. By the time the brussels sprouts are ready, the pasta and sauce will be too.
- Mix everything together and bake!
How long does leftover baked pasta keep in the fridge?
Leftover baked pasta can keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. I just recommend storing it in an airtight container for optimal quality.
I don’t recommend freezing leftovers of this dish as I’ve found the pumpkin gets watery and the pasta is too mushy after thawing and reheating.
Tips for making this recipe
- While I love the flavor of roasting the brussels sprouts, to save time you could also just quickly saute shredded brussels sprouts in a pan before mixing them into the pasta.
- Don’t over-cook the pasta! You really do want it al dente (so just chewy) to prevent it from getting soggy as it bakes.
- Prep and cook this pasta bake on the same day to prevent it from getting soggy.
Can you make this healthy baked pasta recipe vegetarian?
Simply leave out the chicken sausage and use vegetable broth instead of chicken. For more protein, add 1 can of drained white beans or roasted chickpeas.
More healthy pasta recipes to try
If you tried this Healthy Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta with Brussels Sprouts recipe or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below!
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Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Brussels Sprouts
Two of my favorite fall flavors combine for the ultimate cheesy pasta bake that is also good for you! Indulge in all the cheesy goodness for less than 300 calories per serving.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
- 1 lb brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 oz Banza penne pasta or whole wheat penne
- 12 ounces organic apple chicken sausage cooked and diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
- ½ cup shredded part skim mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover large baking sheet with foil.
Prepare sprouts by cutting off the bottoms and removing the outer leaves.
Cut sprouts in half and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut-side down.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned on the bottom. Remove from oven, but do not turn off oven.
While sprouts are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for water to boil, place medium saucepan over medium heat and add oil, garlic, and shallots. Sauté until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in pumpkin, chicken broth, nutmeg, 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano Cheese. Stir well then add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Once boiling, follow package directions on pasta for al dente. Once cooked, drain past water and add pasta to pumpkin sauce.
Add cooked chicken sausage and brussels sprouts to saucepan and give a quick stir. If your saucepan isn’t large enough, combine in a large mixing bowl.
Pour mixture into a 9×13” dish and top with remaining shredded Romano and mozzarella cheeses.
Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges slightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes then dig in!
Nutrition for 1/6 of recipe: 286 calories, 5g saturated fat, 32 g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 19g protein
Adapted from SkinnyTaste