Are you looking for a fall dish that won't take you hours to make? This ultra-creamy pumpkin puree pasta comes together in 15 minutes and makes an easy weeknight dinner. I promise you've never tried a creamier vegan pasta sauce before! You might also like these tomato pumpkin sauce gnocchi.
Fall season means squash season, right? It's the time of the year where we can go all-in on pumpkin puree recipes.
If you're busy but still want to treat yourself to some comforting, savory squash dishes, this recipe is for you! The canned pumpkin puree and cashew butter allow you to make your own healthy vegan pumpkin sauce in 15 minutes (maximum).
Did I mention that this sauce is revolutionizing pumpkin pasta? It's made without cream, cheese or butter and really good for you. Simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make it gluten-free.
How and when to serve pumpkin pasta
You can serve pumpkin pasta as a vegan main dish or as a side dish. If you're wondering what you should serve with it, think about roasted vegetables such as Brussel sprouts or spinach.
This dish is great for a casual fall dinner party with friends. Serve it with a glass of chardonnay or this cinnamon apple cider cocktail. It's also an impressive vegan pasta dish to serve on a date night with your crush or significant other.
Last but not least, make sure to save this healthy pasta sauce somewhere because it will be life-saving in between the holiday feasts. A light dinner that is quick to throw together will be welcome during the period around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Chose the right pasta. We love gluten-free fusilli as creamy sauces like this one really stick to the curves of the pasta. You could also use red lentil pasta for a protein boost.
- Use pure cashew butter made from 100% cashews. It allows you to make the creamiest pumpkin pasta sauce without adding cream. It also saves you from soaking cashews for hours and turns pumpkin puree into a vegan cashew sauce within minutes. When choosing the cashew butter, make sure it has a relatively mild taste to avoid overpowering the pumpkin flavor.
- Use 100% pumpkin puree. Real pumpkin puree made from steamed pumpkin is the key ingredient of this recipe. Make sure it is free from spices and add-ins as they could interfer with the taste and texture of the sauce. You could also use homemade pumpkin puree made from scratch.
- Don't skip the nutmeg. Warm spices like nutmeg make the sauce taste less bland and enhance the pumpkin flavor (that we usually associate with such spices). You could also use all spice or pumpkin spice.
Step-by-step with pictures
Mix up the sauce (you DON'T need a blender). For a silky smooth texture, blend the pumpkin puree, cashew butter, nutmeg, garlic and salt in a food processor. However, you can also combine the ingredients in a bowl without blending them. If it's difficult to stir, pop the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds and try again (the cashew butter should be softer).
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain when cooked and toss in the pumpkin sauce. Reheat shortly over the stove.
Tip: cook pasta in vegetable broth. This will add a ton of flavor to your meal. Chose low-sodium broth or adjust the seasoning of the pumpkin puree sauce accordingly (add less salt if the broth is already pretty salty).
Substitutions and add-ons
- You can swap nutmeg for all-spice or even pumpkin spice.
- You can try using white tahini instead of cashew butter to make it nut-free. Don't use regular brown tahini as its taste would overpower the subtle pumpkin flavor.
- Add some nutritional yeast to the sauce for a cheesy taste. Blend it up until smooth.
- Sprinkle some dried rosemary, sage or red pepper flakes on top of the finished pasta dish if you'd like.
- Top it off with some crushed, toasted walnuts for some crunch.
Storage and reheating tips
Storage tips. Preferably store the sauce and the pasta separately. It prevents the gluten-free pasta from getting brittle and soggy. You can store the pumpkin puree sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Reheating tips. To reheat the pumpkin sauce, add a splash of dairy-free milk, veggie stock or water.
Freezing tips. This vegan pumpkin pasta sauce freezes well. You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently asked questions
To avoid having leftover pumpkin puree, you can make some extra pumpkin pasta sauce and freeze it away. Otherwise, add it to your latte with a dash of pumpkin spice or into oatmeal or overnight oats. If time allows, bake a loaf of pumpkin bread.
It's not unusual for pumpkin pasta sauce to only have a subtle pumpkin taste. That's partly due to the fact that we associate pumpkin flavor with warming spices, which is why you shouldn't skip the nutmeg in this recipe. Try to buy premium pumpkin puree or make your own from scratch. Homemade pumpkin puree made from roasted pumpkin tends to be more flavorful due to the caramelization process.
Usually, one serving of dry pasta is 2 ounces (approx. 60 grams). If it's the main dish, the serving size can be raised to 3 or 4 ounces (approx. 80-110 grams) per person.
More vegan weeknight pasta ideas
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Creamy Pumpkin Puree Pasta Sauce (Vegan)
- 2 servings of gluten-free pasta see notes
- Vegetable stock to cook the pasta optional
For the sauce
- ½ cup (130 g) pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup (70 g) cashew butter
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Bring water or vegetable stock to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain when cooked and add the pasta back to the pot.
- Combine the pumpkin puree, cashew butter, nutmeg, garlic and salt. You can do that in a bowl or blend it up in a food processor for a silky smooth texture.
- Add the sauce to the pot with the pasta and reheat it for a minute while stirring.
- One serving of dry pasta is usually 2 ounces (approx. 60 grams). As a main dish, you can increase the serving size to 3 or 4 ounces (approx. 80-110 grams) per person.
- You can use gluten-free red lentil pasta for a protein boost and to make this dish more filling.
- Use canned or homemade pumpkin puree. Here's how to make your own in 3 different ways.
- Use pure cashew butter made from 100% cashews. It allows you to make the creamiest pumpkin pasta sauce without adding cream. Make sure it has a relatively mild taste to avoid overpowering the pumpkin flavor.
- Don't skip the nutmeg. Warm spices like nutmeg make the sauce taste less bland and enhance the pumpkin flavor. You could also use allspice or pumpkin spice.
- Storage tips: preferably store the sauce and the pasta separately. It prevents the gluten-free pasta from getting brittle and soggy. You can store the pumpkin puree sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- This vegan pumpkin pasta sauce freezes well.
- To reheat the sauce, add a splash of dairy-free milk, veggie stock or water.
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