Thanksgiving mac and cheese that doesn’t contain any cheese

It doesn’t matter if its boxed, homemade, store-bought mac and cheese is a southern staple on Thanksgiving Day.  In fact, in 2015 the data junkies at FiveThirtyEight set out to discover “the most disproportionately common Thanksgiving side dish by region” across the United States. Here in Cleveland, we lose our minds over biscuits and rolls (take that keto diet!) but if you’re in America’s southeast 35% of households consider mac and cheese to be “far more necessary” on the Thanksgiving table than the rest of the country.

So, what happens if the mac and cheese served this Thanksgiving doesn’t contain any cheese at all? This recipe is a little lighter than the classic, it’s also vegan, but once you try it there is no denying the “cheesy” gooey comfort finished with fresh rosemary is a great side dish for all seasons.

Pumpkin Mac ‘N’ Cheese


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (or gluten-free pasta)
  • 3 TB Olive Oil
  • 1/3 c. Flour (or GF all-purpose flour)
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree, unsweetened  (one can of puree, or get crazy and make your own!)
  • 3 1/2 c non-diary milk, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp thyme

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 2-3 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)


  1. Fill a large pot with salted water & bring to a boil. Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain and return to pot tossing with a little oil.
  2. In a medium saucepan warm olive oil and gradually whisk in flour creating a roux. Do this for 3 to 5 min over medium heat.

  3. Add the following to the saucepan pumpkin, milk, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic, soy sauce, Dijon, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, lime juice. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.
  4. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until thick.
  5. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Add pumpkin sauce, rosemary to pasta and toss to coat.
  7. Adjust seasoning to taste.