This creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is perfect for fall. The sauce highlights the deliciousness of everyone's favorite seasonal gourd & is rich and creamy *without* any dairy! This hearty and elegant pasta will be a hit at dinnertime!
You might have realized I love pasta after trying some of my other favorite vegan pasta recipes (like my Lemon One Pot Pasta and Cashew Mac & Cheese), but once fall hits I'm also a pumpkin recipe freak.
I figured why not combine my two loves for the perfect fall dish? The end result is a tasty and creamy vegan pumpkin pasta that's fancy enough for company!
Aside from having all the best autumnal flavors, this easy recipe for creamy vegan pumpkin pasta sauce is made with just 12 ingredients in 30 minutes, making it well within reach for even the most harried home cooks among us.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This delicious pumpkin pasta recipe comes together with just a handful of ingredients, most of which are probably already in your pantry. Here's what you'll need:
- Canned Coconut Milk - We're only using the cream from the coconut milk here. If you have a can of coconut cream (NOT sweetened cream de coco), you can use about ⅓ of the can for this pasta recipe and save the rest for turning into vegan whipped cream for my Gingerbread Hot Chocolate.
- Onion - Red, white, or yellow onions will all work! You can also swap in shallots or leeks if you prefer.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - No need to get out the expensive finishing oil here; just your regular cooking oil will do just fine.
- Garlic - I prefer the bite of fresh garlic in this sauce, but you can use about ½ teaspoon of garlic powder if needed/
- Fresh Sage Leaves - Pumpkin and sage go together like PB&J. I feel like it elevates the vegan pumpkin pasta sauce and makes it elegant enough for a dinner party. Feel free to swap in ⅓ as much dried sage if needed.
- Crushed Red Chili Pepper Flakes - Adding a pinch of red pepper flakes gives the sauce a perfect amount of warmth without crossing over into "spicy" territory. Feel free to omit if you prefer!
- Dried Basil - If you only have fresh, use approximately 3x as much.
- Salt & Pepper - For seasoning.
- Nutmeg - For a touch of sweet, earthy warmth. If possible, use freshly grated nutmeg — whole spices will last indefinitely in your cabinets and the flavor is so much more potent than the pre-ground kind!
- Vegetable Broth - Homemade or store-bought will do the trick equally well.
- Canned Pumpkin Purée - Make sure to get 100% pure pumpkin, not the canned pumpkin pie filling that looks almost identical. You are also welcome to make your own homemade pumpkin purée, or you can swap in butternut squash or sweet potato purée instead!
- Balsamic Vinegar - A touch of acidity helps to waken the other flavors. You can also use white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar if needed.
- Nutritional Yeast - For yummy, cheesy vibes without a drop of dairy.
- Pasta of Choice - I like twirling long noodles for this sauce, but any shape will work. Feel free to use gluten-free pasta or zoodles if you prefer.
How To Make Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
While this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe has a few more steps than some of my other recipes, I promise it's still super easy to pull off. Here's how it's done:
Step 1: Freeze the can coconut milk to separate the cream from the milk.
Step 2: Boil Pasta according to package directions.
Step 3: Sauté Aromatics. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large saucepan. Add garlic and onion and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Step 4: Add Spices. Stir in sage, hot pepper flakes, basil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook for about a minute.
Step 5: Add Liquids. Add broth and pumpkin. Open the coconut milk and scoop out the hardened cream to add along with vinegar and nutritional yeast to the sauce. Do not add watery part of coconut milk. Stir to combine.
Step 6: Simmer. Bring the sauce to a boil then turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 7 (optional): Blend Sauce using an immersion blender, pitcher blender, or food processor. If I'm feeling lazy and don't want to do more dishes, don't even blend it. I just stir/whisk it all together.
Step 8: Assemble. Pour blended sauce over cooked pasta. Top with more sage leaves and my vegan parmesan. Enjoy!
While I love this creamy, dreamy vegan pumpkin pasta recipe, there's always room for customization here at V Nutrition and Wellness. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Make it spicy. Add extra crushed red pepper flakes to amp up the heat.
- Make it gluten-free by swapping in your favorite wheat-free pasta.
- Looking for something a bit more kid-friendly? Check out my Pumpkin Mac and Cheese!
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Want to use up any extra sauce? Leftovers can be used to make my Pumpkin Casserole!
- If you cool a can of regular coconut milk in the freezer the creamy fat part will float to the top and harden, so there's no need to go out and buy a can of plain coconut cream — unless you want to! Use the leftover coconut milk for making Smoothie Bowls or Vegan Overnight Oats to make sure you don't waste any of the goodness.
- Salt your pasta water to get the best flavor. Give it a taste before adding your noodles; it should taste like the sea.
- Don't rinse your noodles unless expressly told to by the directions on the package. All that starchy goodness helps the pumpkin sauce stick to your pasta!
Is Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Healthy?
This pasta is loaded with beta-carotene from the pumpkin. Beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A in our bodies and aids in vision health as well as a healthy immune system.
The sauce contains a nice serving of fat from the coconut milk. I know low fat is all the rage right now but unless you have a specific condition where fat is not allowed, you don't need to be scared of healthy fat like in coconut. It's totally good for us and keeps us full, plus our brains need fat!
Serve this vegan pumpkin pasta with a big green salad topped with a nice handful of nuts and you should be good to go nutrition-wise for dinner.
Don't forget to top this tasty dish with my parmesan cheese alternative! It adds that extra hint of cheesy flavor.
My creamy pumpkin pasta sauce is laced with earthy sage and warming spices like nutmeg and crushed red chili flakes. The flavor is rich, cozy, perfectly balanced between sweet and savory, and downright delicious. Go ahead and give it a try... I'll be shocked if you don't love it!
Unfortunately, the coconut milk that comes in the refrigerated section of the store won't work here because we're really after the coconut cream.
Canned coconut milk hasn't been fully homogenized, so the cream and milk will separate. The cartons of coconut milk have been formulated to have a uniform consistency, and often have added stabilizers to keep things smooth.
That said, you can also buy cans of straight coconut cream and skip the whole freezing step. You just won't find them in the refrigerated aisle.
More Amazing Pasta Dishes
If you make this recipe and LOVE IT, please give it 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
- 1 can coconut milk
- ½ onion , chopped
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic , minced
- 3 Tablespoons fresh sage leaves , chopped
- Pinch of hot pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Pasta of choice (gluten-free if needed)
- Place coconut milk upside down in freezer while making the rest of the meal.
- Make pasta (as much as needed).*
- While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large saucepan.
- Add garlic and onion and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in sage, hot pepper flakes, basil, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for about a minute.
- Add broth and pumpkin.
- Open coconut milk and scoop out the hardened top part and add that along with vinegar and nutritional yeast to pan (do not add watery part of coconut milk) and stir.
- Bring the sauce to a boil then turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, pitcher blender, or food processor blend the sauce (optional). If I'm feeling lazy and don't want to do more dishes, I just stir/whisk it all together. It's a little chunkier but still just as tasty.
- Pour over cooked pasta.
- Top with more sage leaves and my vegan parmesan.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel clear and confident about what is uniquely nourishing to them. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition information have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.