Pumpkin Pasta Surprise

After a year and a half of eating clean and a 43-pound weight loss, one of our readers shares a secret for sneaking added nutrition into a family favorite: pasta.

Love this pumpkin pasta recipe? Find more pumpkin recipes here.

Serves: 6
Hands-on time: 33 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes


  • 1 13-oz pkg whole-grain pasta or brown rice pasta
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 small zucchini, finely chopped (peel left on)
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 15 oz pumpkin purée
  • 1 10-oz jar pasta sauce
  • 1 tbsp low-fat plain cream cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. (TIP: Undercook it slightly as it will continue to cook a bit in the sauce.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, brown turkey for 7 to 10 minutes or until no pink remains. Drain any fat, return pan with turkey to stove and add onion and garlic. Sauté turkey mixture until onions are translucent. Add carrot, tomato and zucchini and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add red pepper, pumpkin purée and pasta sauce. (NOTE: if mixture is too thick, add a bit of water.) Cover and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until zucchini is soft. Add cream cheese, then turn off heat and let cream cheese melt.
  4. Add pasta and mix, cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Nutrients per 1-cup serving: Calories: 402, Total Fat: 3.5 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 62 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 25 g, Sodium: 72 mg, Cholesterol: 38 mg

Reader Recipe Tester 
Theresa Cochran
Calgary, AB
“I’m always looking for ways to sneak more vitamins and minerals into the foods I prepare for my family. Pumpkin purée makes for a great addition to sauces, sloppy joes and even tacos since it increases fiber and vitamin A – and my family doesn’t even know it’s there! Whenever I share this pasta with friends, they always respond, ‘Pumpkin? Really?’ Sop up any extra creamy, thick sauce with a piece of whole-grain baguette.”