Go Back
Cast iron pan with a dish towel around the handle and Creamy Baked Pumpkin Pasta with Kale

Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta with Kale and Bacon

This pasta may look decadent, but it’s creaminess comes mostly from a blend of low fat milk, cottage cheese, and pumpkin. It also delivers big time in terms of nutrition, boasting over 6 cups of added vegetables. 

Course Dinner
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 34 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 4 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 487 kcal
Author Katie Morford


  • 4 slices bacon (optional if you prefer a vegetarian version of the dish)
  • 16 ounces penne pasta (use whole-grain and/or gluten-free as desired)
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • One 15-ounce can Sprouts brand pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 ¾ cup lowfat milk
  • 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the pasta cooking water
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 dashes nutmeg
  • 3 cups coarsely grated, lightly packed Gruyere cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Lay the bacon slices in a deep 12-inch skillet, such as cast iron. Put in the oven to bake until crispy and brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven. Drain bacon on a paper town and chop. Drain grease from the skillet (don’t clean, since you will use the skillet again).

  3. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on the stove and add enough salt so it tastes like the sea. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. When the pasta is just nearly cooked, add the kale to the pot and cook until the pasta is done. Drain well. Return to the pasta cooking pot.

  4. While the pasta cooks, put the pumpkin, milk, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg into a blender and run until smooth with no bits of cottage cheese remaining. Pour into the pot with the cooked pasta and kale. Add 2 1/2 cups of the cheese and the bacon and stir well to blend. The heat of the pasta with melt everything together. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

  5. Transfer the pasta to the 12-inch skillet. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake until the top is nicely browned, 30 minutes.