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Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta

A new take on baked ziti with this lightened up saucy baked pumpkin pasta with creamy pumpkin puree, ground turkey sausage, red bell pepper, mushrooms, marinara, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley and your favorite pasta!

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

baked pumpkin pasta with text overlay

Welcome back to #AKPumpkinWeek! Today I’m sharing a deliciously creamy pumpkin baked pasta that’s gonna knock your socks off.

Admittedly, pasta isn’t something I usually go for. Growing up, it wasn’t something that was on our dinner menu all that often. If anything, I had more noodles during my college years in the form of $1 creamy chicken ramen noodles with peas and extra cayenne pepper (thank you very much).

Even when Olive Garden was the place to be in high school, I’d find myself eating their warm breadsticks and endless salad bowls instead of a big old bowl of fettuccine alfredo. (Honestly though, how good are their glorious breadsticks?!)

baked pumpkin pasta in a baking dish with a spoon

Later on in life, I met my now husband, who adores pasta (he’s Italian so I can’t blame him). It’s taken me a bit of time to truly adore pasta but more recently I’ve fallen in love with how I’ve been able to incorporate veggies into our main pasta dishes; and admittedly, how easy it can be to throw a pot of pasta together when I’m feeling like I just wanna watch Billions.

For example a few weeks ago, I made a super creamy thai peanut butter pasta on Instagram; it was fabulous and literally took 30 minutes from start to finish.

But before I bring you that recipe, we MUST start with this baked pumpkin pasta, guaranteed to make you cozy this fall and winter.

meat sauce, noodles, and cheese in a bowl to make baked pumpkin pasta

You see, sometimes pasta requires a little love and care to make it really, really good. So I started with a pumpkin puree infused marinara sauce mixed with turkey sausage, onion, garlic, mushrooms and red bell pepper.

SO delicious and slightly sweet, plus you get the benefit and simplicity of using your favorite jar of sauce and a can of pumpkin puree (or make your own here)!

pasta noodles, cheese, and sauce mixed in a bowl with a wooden spoon to make baked pumpkin pasta

Now it’s time for a little cheese!

While the pasta boils, you’ll mix together ricotta, fresh chopped mozzarella (you can also use shredded), parmesan and parsley. Then add the pasta to get it nice and coated with cheesy goodness. The cheese isn’t overdone here, it’s well balanced and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.

baked pumpkin pasta in a baking dish ready to bake

You’ll mix a little of the sauce with the pasta/cheese mixture, then begin to layer in a pan. Pasta, sauce, extra mozzarella and then… repeat!

lifting a scoop of baked pumpkin pasta out of a baking dish

Finally, you’ll bake it up and end up with a bubbly pasta dish packed with veggies, lean ground meat and delicious pasta. It’s creamy and SO comforting and you get a BIG serving.

If you’d like, you can freeze this recipe for later and reheat too! It makes excellent meal prep leftovers and is paired well with my famous crunchy herbed garlic bread.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. And of course, I hope you’re LOVING pumpkin week so far. Xoxo!

baked pumpkin pasta on a plate with a fork

More healthy pumpkin recipes you’ll love:

Slow Cooker Black Bean Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Spicy Black Bean Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sour Cream Sauce

Nourishing Yellow Chickpea Pumpkin Curry with Coconut Brown Rice

Healthy Pumpkin Seed & Avocado Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Black Bean Quinoa Pumpkin Chicken Chili

Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta

5 from 4 votes
Course Dinner, Pasta
Keyword baked pumpkin pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
A new take on baked ziti with this lightened up saucy baked pumpkin pasta with creamy pumpkin puree, ground turkey sausage, veggies, marinara, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley and your favorite pasta!

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 pound 94% lean ground turkey*
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or a dash of cayenne pepper)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar marinara pasta sauce (or whatever sauce you love best)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 8 ounces ziti or pasta of choice (use gluten free pasta if GF)
  • For the cheese mixture:
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small bite sized pieces and divided (you can also use about 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • To garnish:
  • Fresh chopped parsley or sage
  • Extra parmesan

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot and place over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until onions begin to soften and mushrooms cook down, about 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Next add in ground turkey, breaking up the meat, and cook until turkey is no longer pink. Add in the seasonings: italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Stir for about 30 seconds. to incorporate seasonings into the meat, then immediately add in the pasta sauce and pumpkin puree. Stir together, and reduce heat to low and simmer while you cook your pasta.
  3. Add water to a large pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Once boiling, add your pasta and cook until pasta is just barely al-dente. We want the pasta to have a nice bite to it. Once pasta is cooked, drain, then rinse with cool water.
  4. While the pasta cooks: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch pan (or 9x9 inch) with olive oil. Set aside.
  5. Next make your cheese mixture: In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, ½ of the mozzarella pieces and parmesan cheese until just combined. Stir in the cooked pasta and 2 cups of the meat sauce. Add a little salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add half of the pasta mixture to the prepared pan. Top with half of remaining meat sauce and then half of remaining mozzarella pieces. Repeat with remaining pasta, meat sauce and mozzarella.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pasta is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and parsley before serving. Serves 6-8.

Recipe Notes

To make vegetarian: Use 1 can of white beans instead of the turkey. It will still be delicious! Just stir in the beans to the tomato sauce/veggie mixture.

To make gluten free I suggest using your favorite gluten free pasta. I love Banza pasta brand.

Nutrition
Serving size: 1 serving
Calories: 481kcal
Fat: 18.5g
Saturated fat: 8.3g
Carbohydrates: 45.8g
Fiber: 6g
Sugar: 7.9g
Protein: 34.1g

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