High protein pumpkin cottage cheese pasta bake

As we’re nearing the end of October, it’s safe to say many people are enjoying the stereotypical (but still awesome!) fall favourites. Most of us are getting back into delicious comfort foods; enjoying warm tastes and aromas; eating more casseroles, soups, and stews; and of course, indulging in all things pumpkin. Enter: this easy to make, high protein pumpkin cottage cheese pasta bake!   

Being a busy working mom with 2 little kids, I often look for recipes that I can make ahead of time or that come together quickly on busy weeknights.  The post-school/daycare hanger is no joke!

I wanted to recreate a family favourite cottage cheese pasta bake recipe, modified to include more of those nutrient-dense foods that can also help us get through cold & flu season (we need all the help we can get, right?!)

The end result?

A pumpkin cottage cheese pasta dish that hit all the important points and that the whole family enjoyed:

  • Creamy and delicious comfort food
  • A meatless meal that still contains a good dose of protein
  • Nutrient-rich veggies (I was still able to harvest some swiss chard and kale from my garden!)

Here are some highlights and swaps that you can make if you’re in a pinch or to add variety:

Whole grain pasta: Provides nutrients like fibre, protein, and iron. 

Easy swap: feel free to swap out for a legume-based pasta like chickpea pasta for even more protein + fibre

Swiss chard:  This powerhouse veggie provides nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and cancer-fighting antioxidants.  

Easy swap:  Try spinach or kale if you have those on hand instead. 

Cottage cheese:  This is the protein booster in the recipe.  One ½ cup serving of cottage cheese contains 15 grams of protein! 

Easy swap: Try ricotta cheese if you want an even creamier dish!

Pumpkin puree:  This autumn darling provides a whopping dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, and some fibre.  You can use canned pure pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie filling!) or make your own pumpkin puree. 

Easy swap: Try mashed/pureed butternut squash.

Looking for other pumpkin inspired recipes? Check out our 5-minute Pumpkin Oat Greek Yogurt muffins and our Plant-Powered Pumpkin Lentil Soup

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High protein pumpkin cottage cheese pasta bake

High Protein Pumpkin Cottage Cheese Pasta Bake

  • Author: Cara Kasdorf, RD

Description

A spin on a creamy, tasty, comfort food dish that will still provide a boost of protein and nutrients.


Scale

Ingredients

340 g uncooked pasta (I used penne, but any small shell or tube pasta will do such as gemelli, ziti or rigatoni)

2 cups (500 mL) of your favourite jarred tomato sauce

2 cups cottage cheese

1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 large egg, slightly beaten

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 cup finely chopped swiss chard/kale/spinach (any of these)

2 tsp dried parsley flakes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs


Instructions

  1. Cook pasta as per directions.
  2. Combine: 1 cup tomato sauce, egg, cottage cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, pumpkin puree, chopped swiss chard/kale/spinach, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, garlic powder.  Mix in with cooked pasta.
  3. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Cover with pasta mixture.  Top with remaining ½ cup tomato sauce, remaining ½ cup shredded cheese, and Panko bread crumbs.
  4. Bake covered with tin foil at 375 for 45 minutes.  Take cover off and bake for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.