Baked Ziti with Pumpkin & Sausage

Level: Intermediate
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Cooling Time:
Yields: 12 servings


Providing wholesome flavors and nutritious benefits, this baked ziti dish has a healthy twist and includes pumpkin, spinach and chicken sausage. It's sure to delight your family's taste buds and have them asking for seconds!


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 cups (12 oz.) dry regular or whole-wheat ziti
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Fat Free Milk
  • 4 links (12 oz.) fully-cooked Italian-seasoned chicken sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) or about 4 cups pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim or 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese


PREHEAT oven to 425º F. Spray 4-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

PREPARE pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and set aside for later use. Drain pasta; return to cooking pot.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE pumpkin, flour, garlic powder, salt, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in medium skillet over medium heat. Slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Pour over pasta in pot. Add sausage and reserved pasta cooking water; stir well.

SPREAD half of the pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with spinach. Cover with remaining pasta mixture. Lightly spray piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Cover ziti with foil, greased side down.

BAKE for 20 minutes or until heated through. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in small bowl. Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.


by J. JoAnn , PA on May. 2013

this is an awesome, healthy dish! We loved it. Only changed a few things...added spinach with arugula, minced garlic and sea salt and added half of the cheese on top of spinach, then baked and added the remaining cheese...full of flavor!

Good but needs more flavor

by C. Cynthia , Killeen,tx on Oct. 2011

First time making it for my family. They liked it but dont love it. Simple ingredients but needs more flavor to add that kick

Not impressed

by w. wahida , Pennsylvania on Oct. 2011

I made this dish last night and it was terrible. I will not be making this again.


by S. Sarah , Sun City, CA on Mar. 2010

I would add cheese into it next time.


by P. Patty , on Dec. 2009

I thought this recipe would be so great with flavor and vitamins. It was rich with health, but not flavor :( it lacks. My family wouldn't eat it, even when I added more seasonings.

Baked Ziti with Pumpkin/Sausage

by J. Jayne , Lake Elsinore, CA on Nov. 2009

Way too easy to make and very delicious. The only problem was getting people passed the color and notion of using pumpkin as a sauce. But that's okay -- more for me!!!

Who Knew??

by P. Pam , Saint Johns, FL on Nov. 2009

Made this dish to share with neighbors and no one could guess it had pumpkin. Everyone asked for seconds. I left out the spinach and added more cheese so the kids would try it but will put spinach next time. It was a hit, will make again.

This one's a keeper!

by J. Judie , on Oct. 2009

This was excellent... the perfect meal for a chilly fall night. The only change I made was using the "bulk" sausage I had on hand (sauteed and crumbled). And I think I'll stick with that for the next time, too. Delicious!

Great Taste and Easy to Make

by S. Sue , Bowling Green, MO on May. 2009

This was easy to put together. My family liked it and has requested that I make it again soon.

Loved it!

by P. Pat , Sarasota, FL on Apr. 2009

Always looking for ways to incorporate more healthy ingredients into my cooking. This did that & also tasted very good. Will make this again.