This green chile and pumpkin pasta casserole combines lean ground turkey, canned pumpkin and black beans, chopped chiles, fontina cheese, and low carb chickpea pasta to create an ultra creamy dish the whole family will love. Each massive serving has 35 grams of filling protein with just 390 calories.
Pair this pasta bake with a side salad or roasted veggies for a super filling 500 calorie dinner!
Pumpkin Pasta Casserole Ingredients
I set out to make a barebones, 5-ingredient recipe and got pretty darn close. If you don’t count the spices or salt and pepper, you’ll only need 6 things!
- canned pumpkin and black beans
- ground turkey, chicken, or even beef
- chickpea pasta (or a low carb pasta alternative)
- roasted chopped green chiles
I used Bueno hatch chiles from the frozen foods section. If you can’t find them or a similar product, you can use canned. To be honest, I think the flavor differences are minor.
Banza is my favorite pasta alternative and I’ve used it in similar recipes like my cajun sausage pasta bake and taco pasta bake. The recipe calls for casarecce but as far as the pasta shape goes, avoid angel hair or spaghetti and you’ll be just fine.
Disclaimer: Banza sent me their new casarecce pasta when it released a few months back for free.
And finally, the cheese. You want to go for a soft melting cheese. Bonus points for using something that pairs well with pumpkin like fontina, mozzarella, provolone, gruyère, or goat cheese.
How to Make This Pasta Casserole
Similar to the ingredient list, the recipe process is pretty straightforward. I’ll drop a few tips and important points below.
How to Cook Ground Turkey
I’m sure you know how to cook ground turkey. But like I recently ranted about in my chipotle black bean chili recipe, you can make ground meat so much better!
The secret? Leaving the meat alone long enough to develop a good sear (see middle photo above). This browning that occurs produces great flavor that you don’t get by immediately crumbling and constantly stirring the meat during cooking.
Side note: The recipe calls for cooking spray instead of oil to reduce the fat content and leave room for extra cheese. But using a bit of oil and spices directly on the meat can produce flavor explosions like in my Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers.
Adding the Chiles, Pumpkin, and Black Beans
If you’re using the frozen chiles, be sure to let them thaw ahead of time or take the steps to thaw them before adding to the cooked ground turkey. You don’t want too much liquid in your pasta casserole. So be sure to drain and rinse the black beans well while you’re at it!
And by the way, you could definitely cut the beans out if you wanted to.
Incorporating the Pasta and Baking the Pasta Casserole
If you’re using Banza pasta, here are a few important tips for cooking chickpea pasta:
- You don’t want the pasta to sit at room temp after cooking and draining. It will stick together, and you’ll have trouble folding it into the pumpkin and ground turkey mixture.
- Speaking of, it’s generally more fragile than wheat pasta so don’t go crazy mixing it together. Give it a few folds and go straight in the casserole dish.
- Even more so than regular pasta, don’t over cook it!
You can see in the far right photo that I used freshly shaved fontina cheese. Fresh cheese is definitely the move if possible. You’ll get far better melting action and flavor than using pre-shredded cheese.
Final Recipe Notes for This Pasta Bake
I always like to mention the spice level in this section. I’d give this pumpkin pasta casserole a 7 out of 10 on the spice scale with the full tablespoon of chili powder. I’m sure the type of chiles used will affect this as well. But if you’re sensitive to spice, I’d use the lower end of the chili powder recommendation. (Or maybe even none at all.)
Aside from that, I think that covers it.
If you have any questions about this pumpkin pasta casserole or make it with a modification that’s worth sharing, let us know! Drop a comment at the bottom of this post or join my Facebook group with 10,000 other healthy home cooks and share it with the gang.
- 1 lb Lean Ground Turkey, I used 97/3
- 15 oz can Pumpkin
- 15 oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 C (360g) Roasted Chopped Green Chiles, I used Bueno Hatch Autumn Roast (thawed from frozen)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
- 1/2-1 Tbsp Chili Powder, to spice preference
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 8 oz Banza Casarecce , or your choice of pasta
- 4 oz Fontina Cheese, or a soft melting cheese
- Preheat an oven to 400F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (to cook the pasta).
- Add salt and pepper to one side of a pound of ground turkey while heating a skillet over medium-high heat with nonstick spray. Place the meat seasoned side down in the skillet once hot.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, untouched, before flipping and crumbling the meat to finish cooking. Cook until no pink remains.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, and chiles. Cook for 2-3 minutes before reducing the heat to low.
- Drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the skillet with the canned pumpkin. Stir everything together.
- Cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than instructed on its packaging. Add the cooked pasta to the turkey mixture, gently folding everything together.
- Add the mixture to the casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbling around the edges.
Each serving has 6 Smart Points.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Servings Serving Size: (290 g)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 390Total Fat: 12gCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 35g
More Healthy Pasta Recipes I Think You’ll Like
- Fettuccine Bolognese
- Low Carb Pasta Carbonara
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Mac and Cheese
- The Easiest Low Carb Lasagna
- Breakfast Mac and Cheese