This time of year, pumpkin is everywhere. But it doesn’t always have to be added to sweet recipes. Sometimes, savory dishes like this healthy pumpkin pasta sauce are just what you need for a fantastic pasta night.
This creamy sauce is a great way to enjoy pumpkin season. And as long as you store the pasta sauce separate from the pasta, it’ll be just as delicious the next day! This is a comforting sauce that is rich and creamy without any added dairy! There’s no greek yogurt, no heavy cream, no cream cheese, not even any full-fat coconut milk! And yet, it’s still an easy pumpkin pasta sauce to throw together. No standing over the stove for an hour.
If you want to round out your pasta dish, add some extra veggies for extra nutrition! You can even mix in a little ground meat if you want that. This pasta sauce will go with just about anything you want to add to pasta!
About This Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
This is a dairy-free, creamy pumpkin pasta sauce. The creaminess is achieved by the use of soaked cashews. I learned this technique in culinary school and I have used it for many a delicious sauce since.
You will need a high-powered blender to get a smooth sauce. That’s not to say it won’t work in a regular blender, but if your blender is on the older side, you may not get the texture you’re hoping to get out of this. It will still taste the same, but it will have a bit more texture to it.
You could also make this with butternut squash or sweet potato instead if you prefer those to pumpkin. In fact, just about any winter squash would work here.
Best Type Of Pasta For Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
While this will work with whatever pasta you want to put it on, there are a couple of pasta types that this works really well with. The first is rotini pasta, and the second is penne pasta. Both are excellent options for using this sauce.
And while it’s best to cook your pasta to package directions, I always like mine a little bit al dente. The choice is yours. Cook your pasta as you normally would for any pasta dinner.
The only type of pasta I would avoid here is a really short pasta like macaroni or orzo. But again, that’s my personal preference. I just think the sauce needs a bigger noodle to hang onto, otherwise, you’ll end up with a thick “stew” of sorts.
But no matter what pasta you choose, use a large pot with plenty of salted water to make it. Adding a good portion of salt (at least 1 tbsp.) to your pasta water will give it tons of flavor without over-salting the pasta.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
If you prefer to make your own fresh pumpkin puree, here’s how to do that.
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Ingredient List
(Note: To print this recipe, see recipe card below.)
1 lb pasta – Cooked to package directions in salted water. This can be any type of pasta you prefer (see notes above). I used chickpea pasta.
1 cup of pumpkin purée – Make sure it’s NOT pumpkin pie filling! You want a can of pumpkin puree that only has pumpkin listed in the ingredient list.
1 cup soaked cashews – These need to be soaked for a minimum of 4 hours. Overnight is better.
1 cup vegetable broth – Look for broth with no added sugar or oil. You can use chicken broth if you prefer, but in this case, use a ½ cup chicken broth and a ½ cup water to equal the full cup of liquid. Using all chicken broth can really change the flavor of the finished sauce.
½ tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever you normally use for cooking.
½ tsp. ground nutmeg – You can purchase this ground, or grind it fresh yourself.
½ ground cinnamon – Make sure this is just cinnamon. No added sugar.
½ tsp. black pepper – You can also use white pepper if you prefer it.
½ teaspoon garlic granules – Garlic powder works just as well.
I did not use these, but I thought they would make tasty additions if you like them. These are suggestions only and are not called for the recipe. None of these are meant to be used together, but rather as individual additions. Pick one, not all of them.
¼ tsp. ground sage leaves – I didn’t use it, but it would be tasty. You can also garnish this with some fresh sage that you quickly fry on the stovetop.
¼ tsp. chili powder – This will add just a little be of “kick” to the sauce.
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice – Yes, pumpkin pie spice can be used in savory dishes too! But if you use it, avoid the optional addition of sage.
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper – This will make your sauce spicier than using chili powder. Adjust to taste on this one.
How To Make Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
Soak your cashews for a minimum of 4 hours. You can soak them overnight if it’s easier, but they must be soaked for this recipe to work. The minimum for that is 4 hours.
Place all ingredients (except the pasta, of course), into a high-powered blender.
Blend until smooth.
Add water or more broth to get your desired consistency. Blend again to combine.
Pour over cooked pasta and serve.
Note: If you don’t have to worry about being dairy-free, grated parmesan cheese is great on this!
How to Store and Reheat
- Store – This is just as good the next day, so leftovers are not an issue in the flavor department. Keep in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheat – You can either reheat for 2- 3 minutes in the microwave, or you can reheat slowly over a low or medium-low heat to medium heat on your stovetop. In either case, you may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water or vegetable broth if you notice that it looks a little “dried out” or it gets too thick to smoothly cover your pasta. This is totally normal. Nothing to be alarmed about. Just keep in mind that a little bit of water goes a long way. So don’t over do it.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Pasta Sauce?
Perhaps, with some recipes, freezing will work. But not with this one. Once thawed, the texture just isn’t the same.
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Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Recipe
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce (Dairy-Free)
CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!
- 1 cup soaked cashews (soaked for 4-24 hours)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup vegetable broth (If you want to use chicken broth, use ½ broth and ½ water)
- 2 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic granules (or garlic powder)
- 1 lb. pasta (cooked to package directions)
- Soak your cashews for a minimum of 4 hours. You can soak them overnight if it's easier, but they must be soaked for this recipe to work. The minimum for that is 4 hours.
- Place all ingredients (except the pasta, of course), into a high-powered blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add water or more broth to get your desired consistency. Blend again to combine.
- Pour over cooked pasta and serve.