This creamy vegan pumpkin pasta recipe is easy to make in 20 minutes with just a few basic ingredients.

A small bowl of creamy vegan pumpkin penne pasta topped with bits of fresh sage..

This was delicious! I just found my new favorite pasta recipe!

—Tieste

Introduction

This vegan pumpkin pasta has all the comforting fall flavours you love and is ready to enjoy in just 20 minutes.

The pumpkin sauce is made with pumpkin puree, coconut milk, garlic, butter and paprika for a yummy combination of sweet and savoury flavour.

Whether you’re planning a date night at home, holiday meal, or a simple family dinner, this cozy fall dish is always a hit. Don’t forget the garlic bread for the perfect fall meal.

For more delicious pasta recipes made without cream, get this Creamy Spinach and Tomato Pasta, Vegan One Pot Pasta with Kale and Mushroom, Vegan Carbonara and Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta on your list next!

For more pumpkin recipes, these Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats, Vegan Soft Pumpkin Cookies, Vegan Pumpkin Pie Fudge and No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Tarts are all crowd favourites.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients for making vegan pumpkin pasta recipe each labelled.

The full ingredient list with measurements is located in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Pasta: Combine the pumpkin sauce with your choice of pasta shape such as penne, farfalle or orecchiete or rigatoni. You can use regular pasta, whole wheat pasta or gluten-free pasta.
  • Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin puree. I like Farmer’s Market or E.D. Smith brands. Make sure it’s pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Coconut Milk: Use canned full-fat coconut milk. You can substitute light coconut milk or cashew cream if you prefer but full-fat coconut milk works well for a creamy sauce.
  • Vegan Butter: Use your choice of plant-based butter or regular butter, or you can substitute olive oil. If you prefer an oil-free recipe, you can omit the oil and use some broth to cook though I’d suggest using butter here for the best flavour.
  • Garlic: Use fresh/raw garlic for the best flavour. I wouldn’t recommend substitute garlic powder.
  • Paprika: You can use regular paprika or smoked paprika to add a bit of smokiness to the sauce.
  • Sage: Sage leaves are nice for serving but optional.

Additions

  • Fresh herbs. Fresh herbs like basil, sage, rosemary and thyme are lovely in this recipe. Add 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs when you add the paprika.
  • Cheesy: Mix up to 1/4 cup shredded cheese such as cheddar or mozzarella, or 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast into the sauce for a cheesy flavour.
  • Mushroom Pumpkin Pasta: Sauté a variety of mushrooms like cremini, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms before starting until they’re softened and brown. Remove them from the pan then stir them back in at the end when you add the pasta.
  • Spicy Pumpkin Pasta: Add up to 1 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for some heat.
  • Spinach Pumpkin Pasta: Add in 1-2 cups fresh spinach or kale at the end.
  • Roasted Vegetable Pumpkin Pasta: Roast a mix vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, and bell peppers and stir in at end.
  • Sausage: Brown plant-based sausage of choice before starting the recipe then remove from the pan and add back in at the end.
  • Substitute canned butternut squash puree, homemade squash puree, or sweet potato puree for the pumpkin.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Start boiling water to cook your choice of pasta. Don’t forget to salt the water! Get that cooking as soon as the water boils and cook until al dente according to the package instructions.

Step 2: Sauté the garlic.

Melt the vegan butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the garlic and cook it for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Garlic being sautéed in melted butter in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop..

Step 3: Add pumpkin, coconut milk, paprika, and salt.

Add the canned pumpkin, coconut milk, paprika and salt. Stir it well then let it simmer over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes until thick and creamy.

If you’d like to make the fried sage, you can do that now while the sauce is cooking.

Creamy pumpkin pasta sauce being stirred with a whisk a skillet on the stovetop.

Step 4: Combine pasta and sauce.

Once the pasta is done and drained, add it to the pan with the sauce and stir to combine.

Quick Tip: Reserve some of the pasta water before draining. To add extra creaminess and adjust the consistency of the sauce, stir in a little of the reserved water at the end.

Dumping cooked penne pasta into a skillet of pumpkin cream sauce on a stovetop.

Enjoy your delicious pumpkin pasta with crispy sage and fresh cracked black pepper.

Creamy pumpkin pasta on a small white plate.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of pasta can I use?

You can use any kind of pasta but I like short shapes for this sauce such as penne, ziti, rotini, orecchiette, farfalle, macaroni or fusilli. That being said, you can definitely use linguini, spaghetti, pappardelle or fettuccini too!

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes! The pumpkin pasta sauce itself is naturally gluten-free so simply combine with your favourite gluten-free pasta such as brown rice, quinoa or chickpea pasta.

Can I make this low-carb?

Yes! To make this recipe low-carb, use zucchini noodles, carrot noodles or spaghetti squash instead of pasta. For higher-protein pasta, though not low-carb, use edamame pasta, lentil pasta or chickpea pasta.

Can I use almond milk instead of coconut milk?

I think unsweetened almond milk would be too thin unless you use thick homemade almond milk. If you can’t do coconut milk, I suggest homemade cashew cream.

Prepare cashew cream by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews in boiled water for 1 hour then blending with 1 cup of water and using it to replace the coconut milk.

After you stir it into the pumpkin, you can add a bit more water or vegetable stock to adjust the consistency.

Can you use homemade pumpkin puree?

Sure! You’ll need about 1.5 cups of pumpkin puree to replace the canned pumpkin.

Just make sure your homemade puree is nice and smooth. If it’s not, process the puree using an immersion blender, food processor high speed blender beforehand to make sure it’s nice and creamy.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes. This recipe can be doubled without additional adjustments.

How to Fry Sage

To serve your pasta with crispy sage:

  1. Remove the fresh sage leaves from the stem, wash and and pat them dry.
  2. Warm some vegan butter or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  3. Once hot, add the sage leaves in a single layer.
  4. Fry for 30-60 seconds until the edges start to darken.
  5. Flip and cook another minute until they’ve darkened and are crispy.

Topping Ideas

In addition to, or instead of crispy fried sage, try topping your pumpkin pasta with:

  • Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds): Sprinkle with tasted pepitas for a nutty crunch.
  • Nuts: Toasted walnuts, pine nuts and pecans all work well for topping.
  • Toasted Bread Crumbs: Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top for texture.
  • Vegan Parmesan: Sprinkle parmesan cheese. or nutritional yeast over the dish for a cheesy umami flavour.
  • Chopped Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil just before serving.
  • Crispy Chickpeas: Add texture plus fibre and protein.
  • Vegan Bacon Bits: Top your pasta with crispy vegan bacon bits for a smoky and savory touch. Try coconut bacon or tempeh bacon.
A plate of pumpkin penne pasta topped with bits of fresh sage on a small plate with a fork resting on it. A bowl of pumpkin pasta can be seed in the background.

Storing & Reheating

  • You can make the sauce in advance, reheat and mix in your choice of pasta.
  • Leftover pasta can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat leftovers in a saucepan over medium-low until heated through, stirring in a little bit of water, milk or vegetable broth to thin the sauce as it will thicken after storing.
  • You can also reheat pumpkin pasta in the microwave.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Print
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Bowl of creamy pumpkin penne topped with fresh sage.

Vegan Pumpkin Pasta

  • Author: Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
Save Recipe

Description

This creamy pumpkin sauce is warm, savory and perfect for a cozy fall meal. For those who aren’t fond of coconut, fear not. The taste is barely detectable beneath the flavorful layers of pumpkin, garlic and paprika.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb (454 g) penne pasta or other pasta of choice
  • 1 ½ tbsp (22 g) vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-oz [425-g]) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 (13 ½ -oz [382-g]) can coconut milk
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • Fresh or crispy sage leaves, for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Cook Pasta: Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. Once cooked, reserve a little of the pasta water then drain the pasta.
  2. Heat Butter and Saute Garlic: Meanwhile, melt the vegan butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until fragrant.
  3. Cook Sauce: Stir in the pumpkin purée, coconut milk, paprika and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Add Pasta to Sauce: Add the cooked pasta to the pumpkin cream sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine. If you’d like to adjust the consistency, add a little bit of the pasta cooking water you reserved. If not, that can be discarded.
  5. Serve: Garnish with fresh or crispy sage leaves if using, and serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe has been re-printed with permission from Frugal Vegan by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 603
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 457 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 96 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 18 g

Keywords: pumpkin pasta

This recipe was originally published on August 28, 2017.