This satiny smooth and comforting Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is made with pumpkin puree, a short list of pantry staples, and warm fall flavors. With your pick of pasta, this luxurious sauce creates a vegan pasta dinner the whole family will love!
Creamy pumpkin pasta
Autumn is the best time of year for the pumpkin lovers of the world. It’s the best addition to warm coffee drinks (Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone?) and makes Pumpkin Pie the magical dessert it’s known to be.
But is there room for pumpkin on the lunch or dinner menu? I say yes!
Turn to this Pumpkin Pasta Sauce the next time you’re looking for a quick and easy fall or winter meal. It’s made with pantry-staple ingredients, like pureed pumpkin, tomato sauce, and coconut cream. Beautifully spiced with cinnamon and sage, every bite is deliciously warm and comforting.
Mix the vegan pumpkin sauce with pasta noodles, layer it in a lasagna, or freeze it for later. There are plenty of creative ways to personalize the presentation and turn this comforting pasta sauce into a dreamy meal.
Creamy pasta sauce is a must for fall and winter because it’s:
- A low-fuss weeknight dinner. The whole recipe comes together in under 30 minutes using everyday ingredients. You probably have most of them in your pantry already! The process is foolproof and perfect for weeknight dinners.
- It’s as nutritious as it is delicious. Pumpkin is incredibly healthy and a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. It packs this sauce with added nutrients as well as a warm, sweet, and earthy flavor profile.
- Easy to personalize. Play with the flavors and ingredients as much as you want. Add more spice, mix pureed winter squash in with the pumpkin, stir vegetables into the sauce, add vegan meat for protein, and so on. Anything goes!
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Olive oil – This is the first layer of flavor in the sauce, so use good quality olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, or vegetable oil.
- Sage – This is an aromatic herb found in many savory fall and winter recipes, from sauces to homemade bread.
- Oregano – If you don’t have dried oregano, replace it with another dried herb, like thyme, basil, or parsley.
- Cayenne – You can leave this out if you don’t like any heat.
- Cinnamon – A must for the deep warming flavors. Feel free to add a pinch of nutmeg too.
- Pumpkin puree – Make sure you buy canned pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. The latter has added sugars and spices, meaning it’s better suited for desserts.
- Tomato sauce – Any store bought jarred tomato sauce with no added flavors will work just fine.
- Coconut cream – This is added at the end for a silky smooth and creamy texture. Full fat coconut milk, cashew cream, or vegan heavy cream substitute will also work well. Dairy free milk could be used in a pinch but it won’t provide the sauce with as much of a luscious consistency.
- Pasta – You can use any pasta noodles you like but I recommend choosing a tubular pasta or noodles with ridges in order to trap and scoop up plenty of sauce. Penne, fusilli, orecchiette, conchiglie, macaroni, and cavatappi are all great options.
How to make pumpkin pasta sauce
Find the complete printable recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the water when the noodles are al dente, then set them aside while you make the sauce.
Saute the garlic in a large oiled skillet. Next, stir in the sage, oregano, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and salt. Let them toast for about a minute to intensify the aromas and warmth.
Pour the tomato sauce and pumpkin puree over the garlic and spices. Stir well and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
To finish, stir in the coconut cream and add more salt if needed. Add the pasta to the skillet and stir to coat.
Scoop the pumpkin pasta into bowls with vegan parmesan cheese and perhaps pepitas on top. Enjoy!
Upgrade every bowl of pasta by stirring sauteed mushrooms, shallots, bell peppers, kale, spinach, and other vegetables with the sauce and noodles. You can make it extra filling with sliced vegan chicken, marinated tempeh or tofu, vegan sausage, and Italian-style vegan meatballs too!
From there, finish each bowl with vegan parmesan cheese, toasted pepitas, hemp seeds, chopped walnuts or pecans, or crispy fried sage leaves on top.
Pumpkin sauce has plenty of more uses, all going beyond a simple bowl of pasta. Layer it in a fall-themed lasagna with vegan ricotta and vegan mozzarella on top, or use it to upgrade this pumpkin pasta bake.
Frequently asked questions
- What should I serve with creamy vegan pumpkin pasta? This is a satisfying meal on its own, but it’s even better with slices of crusty bread, a simple Caesar salad, and steamed vegetables, like asparagus, on the side.
- How long does homemade pumpkin pasta sauce last? This sauce will keep for 3 to 4 days when it’s stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Can you freeze it? Yes, it freezes well for up to 3 months.
Want more easy pasta recipes?
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper omit if you don't like heat
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut cream or unsweetened vegan creamer
- 12 ounces pasta of choice
- Cook your pasta according to package instructions, then drain in a colander and set aside while you make the sauce.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the sage, oregano, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and salt and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and pumpkin puree and stir everything together. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Lastly, stir in the coconut cream or other creamer. Taste; add more salt if needed.
- Stir in the pasta and serve. You can also mix in some baby spinach (just add a few handfuls to the sauce in the last few minutes to let it wilt).
Consider sprinkling some vegan parmesan cheese or pepitas on top. For added protein, serve with vegan chicken, marinated tempeh or tofu or other protein.
- For gluten free, use gluten free pasta of choice.
- Feel free to leave out the coconut cream for a less luxurious pasta sauce, or substitute cashew cream, full fat coconut milk, non-dairy unsweetened milk like almond or cashew, or plain vegan yogurt.
A nice alternative to traditional pasta sauce and very easy to make.
Perfect amount of heat. The spices, ugh. So so good. Pumpkin/tomato ratio, spot on. I can only imagine how fun it is at your house. You’re an awesome Mom.
Happy holidays, Nora 🤗
Oh Jules, thank you so much! Your kind words mean a lot to me! We do have lots of fun at our house! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback about the pasta sauce! I’m so glad you love it! Happy holidays to you!
This is the best pasta sauce we’ve ever made! I used pumpkin that I had roasted a few weeks ago and frozen- about 2 cups. So easy, and my kid also loved it. Perfect for a weeknight dinner. Thank you- We will make this again and again!
This pasta sauce is excellent! Very savory and delicious. I made it as a vegan side dish for thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. I made it exactly to the recipe and it was absolutely perfect. Another perfect recipe Nora!
Hi Riften. It’s great to hear this was a hit at your gathering! It’s a beautiful dish for TG! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback!
This looks amazing and I’d like to try it, do you think it would still be good made a day or two before I plan on serving it?
Hi Rifted. This sauce will keep for 3 to 4 days when it’s stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!
Thanks Nora! I can’t wait to try it. My bf and I love all of your recipes!
Another hit! This was mega easy to make and my kids loved it. I just mixed it with some ziti and it was delicious.
That’s great to hear, Caroline! Thank you for your wonderful feedback and review!
This is the BEST spaghetti sauce EVER. It is so delicious and rich and healthy. Even our picky little boys loved this sauce. Thank you for this great recipe.
You are welcome, Hannah! I’m thrilled to hear your family loved the recipe! I appreciate you taking time to share your fantastic review and feedback!
Is a wonderful sauce!!
Thank you, Kristine! Thank you for sharing your great feedback!