Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
This creamy vegan pumpkin pasta recipe is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
About Pumpkin Pasta
This rich and decadent 20-minute pumpkin cream sauce is delicious served with your favourite pasta for a simple plant-based meal that’s pure comfort food.
Whether it’s a cozy date night at home or a quick family meal, this dish is perfect for any occasion. Creamy, comforting, flavourful and easy to make with wholesome ingredients, you’ll love it!
- Vegan (dairy-free).
- Can be gluten-free.
- Can be oil-free.
- Ready in 20 minutes.
- Pantry ingredients.
- Pasta: Combine the pumpkin sauce with your choice of pasta such as penne, farfalle or orecchiete or rigatoni.
- Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin puree. I like Farmer’s Market or E.D. Smith brands. Make sure it’s pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Coconut Milk: Use full-fat canned coconut milk. You can substitute light coconut milk or cashew cream if you prefer.
- 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.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best here.
- 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.
Step by Step Instructions
Before you Start: 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.
Melt the vegan butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the garlic and cook it for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add Pumpkin & Coconut Milk
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.
Add Cooked Pasta
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 cooking 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.
Enjoy your delicious pumpkin pasta with crispy sage and fresh cracked black pepper.
How to Fry Sage
To serve your pasta with crispy sage:
- Remove the sage leaves from the stem, wash and and pat them dry.
- Warm some vegan butter or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the sage leaves in a single layer.
- Fry for 30-60 seconds until the edges start to darken.
- Flip and cook another minute until they’ve darkened and are crispy.
This recipe is really easy to customize with different additions and variations. Here are a few ideas.
- Saute thinly sliced 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.
- For spicy pasta, add up to 1/2 tsp red chili flakes or cayenne pepper when you add the paprika.
- Add 2-3 cups fresh spinach when you add the pasta and stir until wilted.
- Brown plant-based sausage of choice before starting the recipe then remove from the pan and add back in at the end.
- Serve with vegan parmesan. Store-bought or try this cashew parmesan.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
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.
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.
I think 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 broth to adjust the consistency.
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 not, you can process the sauce in a high-speed blend before adding the pasta so make sure it’s nice and creamy.
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
This pumpkin cream sauce is warm, savory and perfectly suited to sweater season. For those who aren’t fond of coconut, fear not. The taste is barely detectable beneath the flavorful layers of pumpkin, garlic and paprika.
- 1 lb (454 g) penne pasta
- 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
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, melt the vegan butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until fragrant.
- 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.
- Drain and rinse your pasta and combine it with the pumpkin cream sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Garnish with fresh or crispy sage leaves if using, and serve immediately.
This recipe has been re-printed with permission from Frugal Vegan by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.
Keywords: pumpkin pasta, cream sauce, easy, comfort, plant-based
This recipe was originally published on August 28, 2017.
Oh, this sounds yummy! Do you know if I could use garlic powder as a replacement for garlic?
Hi, you could but this recipe really shines with raw garlic. If you want to use garlic powder, use 1 tsp and add it when you add the pumpkin and coconut milk. Thanks!
This was delicious. Thank you! I seasoned with a little more salt, basil red pepper flakes and crushed black pepper.
This was delicious and easy-peasy (and perfect for my lactose-intolerant daughter)! I doubled the amount of garlic; next time I’ll probably swap smoked paprika for the regular one as well. This is definitely going into dinner rotation!
This was so yummy. I just was wondering if the sauce can be frozen? I cook for one person, so I have left over sauce.
Hi Carolina! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, you can freeze the sauce. Let it cool then store it in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the fridge then reheat on the stovetop. Thanks!
This is SO good! It’s fine as is, but I made a few modifications. Per others’ comments, I added a bit of lime juice for acid and some rubbed Dalmatian sage to the sauce as it was cooking. I cooked it down a bit longer (about 20 minutes) so that it would thicken a bit. I also shredded some smoked Cheddar (of course, you could use vegan cheese) and added just a touch to mine as a topping. My husband added real bacon bits to his. Oh my.
Thank you for this recipe!
This is so amazing and easy to make! Never going back to boxed vegan Mac and cheese again! Highly recommend!!
So easy and delicious!!!!
Is it possible to use regular coconut milk (in a carton) as opposed to the canned coconut milk? If so, is there something additional I should add? Thanks!
You could but it won’t be as thick and creamy. Cashew cream would be a better alternative. Try blending 1 cup of soaked raw cashews with 1.5 cups water and use that to replace the canned coconut milk.
Made it. Loved it… Might’ve added ginger and cayenne pepper and my goodness, delicious.
Awesome! So glad you loved it. Thanks for the review!
I thought it needed more flavor, the sauce is very creamy but I found that I needed to add more spice to it and an element of acid. I added splash of lemon juice, splash of agave, about table spoon of ketchup, cayenne pepper, thyme, and fresh as well as rubbed sage.