RECIPE: Pumpkin & Ricotta Pasta Bake [VEGETARIAN]

Blood Orange or Tangerine as plant based diet for breast tenderness

Creamy Vegetarian Pumpkin & Ricotta Pasta Bake (can be made DF or GF)

We've got one of the best pumpkin and ricotta pasta bake recipes for you to try.

This recipe was selected by Chantelle as it's not only delicious, it also teaches that diet-culture is wrong about carbs. Carbohydrates are important for the body and brain to function well. We all know how on-edge we get if we haven't eaten enough.

Many people immediately suggest 'cutting carbs' as soon as you mention weight concerns. However, cutting carbs or even basing your health on weight is not going to help you thrive. We do help New Zealanders with weight concerns. However, Nutrition & Life Dietitians also advocate for a Health at Every Size (HAES) approach. We've outlined what you need to know about this approach in our previous 'every body is beautiful' blog.

Pumpkin and ricotta pasta bake

(serves 4)

Pumpkin and ricotta pasta ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg crown or butternut pumpkin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2x 400g cans of cherry tomatoes
  • 250 g penne pasta
  • 160 g ricotta*
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese*
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

See the notes at the end for substitutes.

Pumpkin and ricotta pasta method:

1.    Preheat the oven to 220ºC bake function. Lightly grease a casserole dish.

2.    Prep your pumpkin. Peel and deseed the pumpkin, then cut into 2.5cm cubes. Place in a roasting tray(separate to the casserole dish) drizzle in 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until soft and golden, turn once during cooking.

3.    While your pumpkin cooks, prep the rest of your ingredients. Place a large pot of water on to boil. Pre-cook the pasta – you want it almost cooked but not quite so try under cooking it by 2 minutes. Then drain and place to one side.

4.    In a large frypan heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Next, add the tomatoes and a few grinds of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 5 – 8 minutes.

5.    Finely chop the basil.

6.    In the casserole dish, mix together the cooked pumpkin, pasta, tomato and spinach mixture, ricotta cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle over the grated cheese.

7.    Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted, then place under the grill until golden.

8.    Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Then divide into the recommended number of serves.

You can learn more about Health At Every Size (HAES) with our HAES guide.

Recipe Notes:

*If you can't eat dairy or gluten you can make the substitutes.


  • Penne pasta can be swapped for gluten free pasta


  • Ricotta can be swapped for smashed tofu and a dash of olive oil and salt
  • Cheddar cheese can be substituted with dairy free cheese

Photo source: Vegetarianventures

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