This simple creamy vegan pumpkin pasta sauce is rich and delicious. It’s a kid-friendly, one-pot recipe that is easy to whip up any day of the week.
Little Bear’s new favorite meal is this creamy, dreamy pumpkin and sage pasta. This cozy fall comfort food is full of flavor and nutrients. Needless to say, the recipe is on our current weekly rotation.
Even though it’s kid approved, it reminds me of a grown-up version of mac and cheese. It’s velvety smooth like an alfredo sauce, except there’s no dairy. And there are vegetables. (Well, pumpkin is technically a fruit.)
Unlike the sweet potato mac and “cheese” that I make with cashews that are soaked overnight, this recipe doesn’t require much planning, other than ensuring we have the ingredients — or making sure they’re on the grocery list.
Moreover, it doesn’t require much time to prepare or clean up afterwards. (I make the entire sauce in my cast iron skillet.) This dish is definitely mom approved.
Tips for Making One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta
You can use homemade pumpkin puree or canned. Either way, you’ll be getting lots of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C from the nutrient-rich food. Just make sure you aren’t using pumpkin pie filling.
Similarly, you can use homemade pasta or whatever you have on hand. From fettuccine and spaghetti to shells and macaroni, use your favorite kind. The man of the place prefers penne. I like farfalle because the pieces look like little bows and butterflies.
Miyoko’s Creamery makes a delicious organic vegan cream cheese that I highly recommend. Also, I encourage you to use an unfortified nutritional yeast. It will still be rich in certain B vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and selenium, but it won’t have any of the synthetic stuff.
Before I get the water boiling, I smash the garlic cloves. I wait around ten minutes before adding the minced garlic to the skillet, giving it time to release the compound allicin, which can boost the immune system.
An immersion blender is helpful for making this creamy vegan pumpkin pasta sauce super smooth; however, a standard blender works, too.
Recipe Add-Ins and Variations
I often incorporate various optional ingredients, and I’m convinced it would be difficult to mess up this easy, delicious pasta sauce recipe. I’ve substituted vegetable broth for the plant-based milk; I’ve also used them both together. Additionally, I’ve added a teaspoon of dijon mustard for extra tang and a tablespoon of coconut aminos for a pleasant savory taste.
I suggest sautéing sliced shiitake mushrooms with your onion and garlic. They are a good natural source of vitamin D, and they make the dish even more wholesome and substantial.
After you have blended the sauce, add fresh spinach or kale and gently stir until it has wilted. It won’t take long. Another way to include green veggies is to pair the pasta with roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
For more texture, try whisking the sauce instead of blending it. You can also add diced and roasted butternut squash before serving. By the way, if you’re out of pumpkin, you can substitute butternut squash, which will behave similarly in this simple recipe.
In the mood for more pumpkin spice? Add a few shakes of ground ginger, nutmeg, or cloves.
For a little crunch, top with toasted walnuts, pine nuts, or pepitas. I like to soak, rinse, and pat them dry before toasting. Since he’s a toddler, I only give nuts to Little Bear if they’re finely ground.
Garnish with fresh herbs. Sage is a classic choice, and it’s tasty toasted, too. You could also try rosemary, thyme, oregano, or parsley.
Sprinkle extra nutritional yeast or shredded vegan parmesan on top to make it taste even cheesier. For a nuttier flavor, add a spoonful of hemp seeds instead. We’ve also enjoyed this dish mixed with tempeh bacon crumbles and topped with fresh avocado.
How to Make Plant-Based Pumpkin and Sage Pasta Sauce
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
Then add the onion, salt, and sauté for about five minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.
Now add the dairy-free milk, vegan cream cheese, pureed pumpkin, and spices. Reduce the heat to low.
Once the vegan cream cheese has melted, add nutritional yeast and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Either pour the sauce over the pasta or add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat.
Add any optional toppings and garnish with sage. Serve and enjoy.
More Pumpkin Recipes We’re Enjoying on the Mountain
If you try this recipe and love it, I’d love if you would let me know in the comments!
- 2 scant cups pumpkin puree
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 package vegan cream cheese
- 3/4 cup dairy-free milk
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ceylon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- several grindings of fresh black pepper
1. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
2. Then add the onion, salt, and sauté for about five minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.
3. Now add the dairy-free milk, vegan cream cheese, pureed pumpkin, and spices. Reduce the heat to low.
4. Once the vegan cream cheese has melted, add nutritional yeast and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Either pour the sauce over the pasta or add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat.
6. Add any optional toppings and garnish with sage. Serve and enjoy.