Healthy Meal: Pumpkin Pasta

With the Atlanta Marathon coming up on Thursday and me still being completely exhausted (though most people dread going to the doctor, I cannot WAIT for my doctor’s appointment next Wednesday to find out all my test results, and am counting down the days), my nutrition leading up to the race is extremely important. I’ve been gaining quite a bit of weight lately, and even if I were feeling in tip top shape, the extra weight would probably slow me down. Therefore, I’m trying to eat foods that are highly nutritious but still with tons of carbs. One of my standard pre-race meals is pasta with marinara sauce and whatever seafood I can get (shrimp, mussels, calamari, scallops, etc), but in honor of it being Thanksgiving, I decided to prepare a more seasonal dish. Behold: my pumpkin pasta.

I first made this about a year ago, adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe. Those of you who watch Rachael Ray know that her recipes are indeed very easy and very delicious… but not quite as “figure friendly” as she likes to pretend. I’ve made this in the past with chicken sausage (but there is NO need to fry it in oil – just boil it to heat it, and I promise the flavor of the sauce will more than compensate). Today I opted to stay vegetarian, and I filled out the bowl with a ton of zucchini and yellow summer squash. Okay, so maybe the yellow squash wasn’t quite seasonal, but it gave some nice color contrast and was pretty delicious!

To make the recipe the healthier way, spray the pan with a bit of olive oil instead of dousing it with a tbsp of vegetable oil. You’ll need to keep a closer eye on the onions and shake them up to distribute their natural juices, and you won’t cook them as long to brown them. Add the sage, white wine, and bay leaf, but use low-sodium chicken broth (I like Herb Ox Sodium Free Chicken Seasoning) or vegetable broth, cut with water if you really want to keep it light. Don’t be shy about adding lots of pureed pumpkin – I actually use a little bit more than Rachael recommends, in order to thicken it up. Just be sure you have pure pumpkin (Libby’s makes a good can if you’re not making it from scratch) and not pumpkin pie filling or something with tons of additives. Because I’ve used extra pumpkin for thickening, I use a dash of almond milk instead of 1/2 cup of heavy cream – that still gives it the creaminess, but without the fat/calories. Add your seasonings, dump in your boiled whole wheat penne and squash, and give it a good stir. Finally, a bit of parmesan or grated veggie topping finishes it off!

389 calories for the pumpkin pasta with grated topping (original recipe here)

Review: 5/5 stars
This is one of my favorite recipes – it’s creamy and filling, but still very light on both calories and fat, and won’t leave you with a heavy feeling in your stomach. The flavors of the sauce are absolutely amazing – pumpkin and sage and cinnamon and nutmeg go surprisingly well with pasta. Health wise, you really can’t go wrong – filling the dish out with zucchini and squash instead of more pasta mean you get tons of bang for your buck, as well as a lot more nutrients. For any of you with winter races coming up, this is the stuff to carb load on!


  1. Yum! That pasta looks yummy. Maybe I will try it this weekend when I start carbo-loading for the CIM. I can’t wait to find out the results from your doctor’s appt on Wednesday, either!

  2. that looks awesome! I have a large bag of frozen zucchini & a lot of pumpkin puree in my freezer – I think I know what I’m having for dinner tomorrow!

  3. That sounds and looks delish – thanks for sharing!

  4. yum – looks great and I will have to try this. have a great holiday!

  5. That sounds amazing! I’m for sure making it some time this week.

    Good luck at the doctor.

  6. That looks goooood! I love seafood + mrinara + pasta and whatever veggies I can scrounge up. Definitely a fave meal.
    Have you tried taking a multivitamin with Iron?? Running takes a big toll on Iron stores, and it’s unlikely that you’ve got an Iron-deficiency, it could really be a contributing factor to the fatigue. Red meat is the best source :) lean ground beef for taco night is usually my ‘healthy’ way of fitting it in!
    but seriously. pumpkin pasta. yummm

  7. OMG… that looks SO yummy! I am definitely making that this weekend. Thanks for posting it!

  8. that looks YUMMY… i make something very similar minue the pumpkin. i am not a fan of pumkin :(

    have a great thanksgiving and good luck on your marathon!!!

  9. I love pumpkin in pasta!!! And you’re totally right about Rachael Ray…I posted about lightening her stuff up in August. We have some of the same tips! :)

  10. Yum. This looks delicious. Im on the Elimination Diet for the next 2 weeks but once i can have pasta, i will try this.

  11. That looks great!!! Hope everything goes well with the Dr appointment.
    We’ll definitely have to meet up at a race (or 2 or 3!) in 2009!
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Have you ever been to Raffetto’s on West Houston? They have been around since 1906 and they make/sell their own pasta, ravioli, etc. And they are reasonably priced. I just picked up some pumpkin ravioli there the other day. I highly recommend it!

    They don’t have a website, but info about them can be found here:

  13. This sounds really delicious. I will have to try it next time I want to both carb load and cook! Maybe even next week before I leave for Las Vegas.

  14. now this is a new recipe to me..I’m going to have to put this on the list of recipes I need to try.

    I LOOOOOVE seafood. I mean oh baby it just makes me happy.

  15. Great recipe and thank for sharing. Good luck in Atlanta this weekend! I hope your energy is up!

  16. SWEET!!!

    Now i know what will be for dinner tomorrow night!!!

    Thanks Laura!!! Good luck on Thursday and keep us posted on the docs report!!!

  17. Hi Laura,

    I work for and I wanted to let you know that we are running a contest on our media site, in which we will be promoting the newly designed New Balance running shoes. The reason I am contacting you is to see if Absolutely Fit would be willing to network with us during this promotion. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please contact me at for details.


    Gloria Y

  18. I’ve made this receipe! Sooooooooooo good! I love pumpkin and pasta so how could this not be delicious.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge