Mini Pumpkin Mac & “Cheese” Bites

Written by Eydie Desser

Back in “the day” when I was on the Standard American Diet, I developed a recipe for three-cheese Mac & Cheese hors d’oeuvres.  I baked them in advance and then stashed them in the freezer to be at the ready for dinner parties and last minute guests. Everyone loved them and it was so easy to just pop them in the oven to reheat!  Just ask Ed! I missed having delicious hors d’oeuvres ready to go. It’s almost Thanksgiving and we are abundant with squash, especially the delicious Cinderella Squash the French so much adore. That’s when it came to me to create a plant-based worthy mac & cheese using the left-over cooked squash.   Enjoy and please comment below and let us know what you think! 


  • ¼ cup oat milk (recipe below)
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese (recipe below)
  • 1-½ cups canned pumpkin puree or other cooked orange fleshed squash 
  • ¼ cup raw cashews soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • 8 oz. Tinkyada brown rice elbow macaroni, or other mini macaroni of your choice
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ⅛ tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp. Onion powder
  • ½ tsp. Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. Turmeric
  • ¾ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese
  • Paprika to garnish

Equipment:  3 non-stick mini muffin tins


Preheat oven to 400℉

1- Make the oat milk (recipe below)

2- Make the vegan Parmesan cheese (recipe below)

3- If using uncooked squash, peel, seed, dice in ½ inch chunks and steam until tender and cooked through. Remove from pot and reserve.

4- Cook the macaroni  according to package instructions.  If using Tinkyada brown rice macaroni, I found that the pasta cooked in 8-10 minutes instead of the 15 minutes the package suggests.  Just check after 8 minutes to see if the pasta is cooked through. Drain and reserve

5- In a high speed blender, add the squash and ¼ cup of oat milk.  Blend to combine.

6- Add soaked and drained cashews, nutmeg, smoked paprika, cayenne, onion, garlic and turmeric powder and Dijon mustard.  Blend until smooth. The sauce should be thick like cheese sauce.  

7- Toss the cooked macaroni with the pumpkin “cheese” sauce.

8- Stir in ¼ cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Bake the Mac & Cheese:

1- Using a spoon, scoop the pasta mixture in each of the mini muffin cups, packing the mixture tightly.

2- Sprinkle a little more Vegan Parm on top of each muffin.

3- Place in center of oven and bake for 10-12 minute or until the tops are golden brown.

4- Remove muffin tins from oven and let cool before removing.

5- Using a small spoon, scoop out bites and serve.

To freeze: let the Mac & Cheese bites cool completely.  Place the tins in the freezer for a couple of hours.  Then remove frozen bites from tin and place in freezer safe bag. 

To reheat:  Place bites on a parchment lined sheet pan in 350℉ and heat for about 10 minutes.

Oat Milk:

In a high speed blender place ½ cup oats and  1-½ cups water and blend until smooth.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese:

  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • 3 TB Nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder

Place the ingredients in a food processor and process until just blended and the nuts are the texture of coarse sand. This will make more than you need for the recipe but it keeps well refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

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