This simple but delicious Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce — made with basic pantry ingredients — will help you keep it healthy, even on your busiest nights. Bu-bye, take-out!
This post has been updated.
The Perfectly Versatile Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Recipe
Like the perfect little black dress, you can dress this baby up or down for the occasion. This recipe includes instructions for a basic, sauce-and-pasta-only version. There's also an option to add sautéed mushrooms, fresh sage, white wine & toasted walnuts—the perfect complements to this creamy pumpkin sauce.
For dinner in a snap, gather up your basic sauce ingredients (silken tofu, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion & garlic powder and nutmeg) and toss it all together in a food processor or blender. Pour it over pasta and dinner's on the table in about 20 minutes—including boiling the pasta water.
Everything you need to make this vegan pumpkin pasta sauce—except for the fresh lemon juice—is an ingredient you can stock in your pantry. (You can sub apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice in a pinch.) So even if you’re in desperate need of a trip to the grocery, you can still pull off a healthy meal.
Wanna jazz things up? Saute your favorite sliced mushrooms (I like shiitakes here), and some fresh sage in a little white wine. For garnish, toast some walnuts. For added richness, this pasta would be amazing finished with a dollop of homemade almond ricotta.
(Note: If you're going for the basic sauce but still want to use the white wine, just add a splash right to your vegan pumpkin pasta sauce as you're warming it.)
Why I love this easy pasta sauce recipe
I love this vegan pumpkin pasta sauce because even though it’s rich and creamy like an alfredo sauce, it’s still good for you. In fact, if you switched up the spices, added dates, and baked it in a whole-wheat crust—you’d have yourself a healthy pumpkin pie!
It’s also much lighter, and—if you’re anything like me—infinitely easier on your digestive system than a dairy-based cream sauce could ever be.
I could see this vegan pumpkin pasta dish becoming a family favorite, even with younger kids. It’s really tasty, and not too much of a palette shift from other pasta sauces, like tomato. Plus, you can always play around with the spices to see what goes over best with your brood.
Don’t you just LOVE that feeling when you open the pantry door, and—SCORE!!!—you spy an ingredient or two you can build an entire healthy dinner around?! (And don’t you just hate that feeling when you get busted doing your pantry happy dance?!)
I LOVE hearing from you! It would make my day if you’d be so kind as to:
- Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
- Rate this recipe and/or leave a comment if you make it. (Under the recipe picture or below the recipe.)
Thanks bunches and happy, whole-food cooking!
If you like this whole food plant-based recipe, you might like my Mushroom Walnut Bolognese Sauce, 5-Minute Vegan Alfredo Sauce, Chickpea Cheese Sauce, Vegan Carbonara, Roasted Vegetable with Pesto Pasta, and Easy Instant Pot Tomato Sauce. Check out this collection of over 30 Healthy Vegan Pasta Recipes!
A Few WFPB Pastas
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 1 12 ounce package silken tofu (soft or firm, not extra firm. Or sub cashew cream. See notes)
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about ½ lemon. Or, sub 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- sea salt to taste
- 1 pound pasta (GF if desired-see notes)
- ¾ cups +/- RESERVED pasta water (if needed to thin the sauce)
- 1 large shallot finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, smashed and minced
- 16 ounces Shiitake mushrooms sliced (or other mushrooms)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts for garnish
- Heat a large pot of water and a pinch of salt to boiling for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to directions and drain, RESERVING ABOUT ¾ CUPS OF THE PASTA WATER.
To Make the Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- To a food processor or blender, and add the tofu, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and nutmeg. Process on low, about 15-30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed.
To Assemble your Pasta Dish
- Pour the pumpkin sauce from the food processor into the pot you used to cook the pasta. On medium heat, warm the sauce gently but don't boil. Add reserved pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook a few minutes until hot.
- If desired, garnish with toasted walnuts and/or crushed red pepper flakes.
To Make the Optional Sauteed Mushrooms & Sage (See Notes)
- Heat about 1 tablespoon of water in a large skillet. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute about 3-4 minutes or until soft.
- Add the sliced mushrooms, and stir to mix. If using white wine, add it to the pan when the mushrooms are just beginning to cook. Cook the mushrooms on medium-high heat until they've released most of their liquid, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the chopped sage and saute another 3-4 minutes.
- Mix the mushrooms right into the pasta and sauce, or pile them on top.
- Tofu. You can use either soft or firm (but not extra firm) silken tofu for this sauce. If using firm, you may need to add more pasta water to achieve the desired consistency.
- Cashew substitute. You can swap cashew cream for the tofu. Just soak 1 cup of raw cashews in very hot water for 15 minutes, then blend (in a high speed blender) with ½ cup of low sodium vegetable broth or water. Note: if you have a large blender, it helps to double the recipe so there's enough volume to blend properly.
- Nutritional information shown for pasta with sauce only.
- I really enjoy this pumpkin pasta dish with veggies on top. However, for a simple 20-minute meal, you can skip the sauteed veggies and just whip up a quick batch of pumpkin pasta sauce while your pasta is cooking. If you'd like to include the wine, you can add it right to the pumpkin pasta sauce and simmer on medium-low about 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- If you're making the mushrooms and sage, get these going first as they take longer than the pasta sauce. Plus, it's easier to reheat the mushrooms (if needed) than the sauce, which can get too thick if overcooked.
- I like to keep some pasta water set aside and add to any leftovers, as the sauce will tend to thicken as it cools. If you forget to reserve the pasta water (can't count how many times I've done this!), just use a bit of regular hot tap water or broth instead.
- Make sure to choose a whole wheat, legume or brown rice pasta to make it WFPB compliant.