20-Minute Vegan Pumpkin Pasta

This rich umami creamy vegan pumpkin pasta sauce is loaded with toasted garlic, pumpkin, and sage flavors. It’s soooo good and such an impressive dish that no one will believe it took you just fifteen minutes to throw together!

Warning – This is NOT a light super healthy pumpkin sauce to go with your zoodles kinda recipe, we are talking DECADENCE here. Be prepared for some serious tastiness.

I add in chopped walnuts to toast with the garlic, and lots of fresh baby spinach to wilt near the end of cooking. If you prefer, you can substitute any other nut, use regular spinach or rocket in place of baby spinach, omit the walnuts and spinach altogether, or add in some other chunky ingredients.

If you do want to add some things, I’d recommend:

  • Chickpeas
  • Cubed cooked aubergine
  • Caramelized onion
  • Cooked chopped potatoes
  • Thinly sliced portobello mushrooms
A black cast iron pan on grey background with pumpkin walnut spinach spaghetti

At first, when I came up with this recipe, I was just trying to veganize my vegetarian no-boil pumpkin pasta bake.

But my imagination ran away with me a bit while creating this recipe and I’ve ended up with something really addictive and possibly my favourite recipe on the website (although it is in for some stiff competition from my creamy coconut chickpea curry).

You just add the chopped walnuts and garlic to a pan with some hot olive oil for a few minutes, puree the rest of the ingredients, toss them in, simmer for ten minutes, and voila, the best vegan pasta sauce ever!

Toss with freshly cooked pasta and crack black pepper over. It tastes AMAZING with my easy vegan garlic bread (also ready in 15 minutes!) or if you’re going for an impressive spread for entertaining, how about some easy herbed focaccia with bruschetta dip?

Top down view of pan full of orange spaghetti, walnuts and spinach on a grey teatowel

Substitutions

You can, of course, substitute the canned pumpkin puree I use in this pumpkin pasta recipe with homemade pumpkin puree if you prefer.

The tabasco sauce in the recipe does not result in a very spicy sauce, it’s more there to complement the pumpkin, so if you have a low spice tolerance don’t worry about it. If you like it hot, taste the sauce at the end and add more if you wish.

If you don’t have Tabasco sauce you can add in between 1/4 to 1/2 half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes when you add in the sage, rosemary, and nutmeg.

I use both soy cream and coconut milk in this recipe as I find this combination gives the most neutral flavor and creamy consistency, but you can substitute the soy cream for the same amount of coconut milk (just be aware that as a result there may be a slight coconut flavor in the finished dish).

Close up of spaghetti with orange sauce walnut halves and wilted spinach

If preferred you can also swap out the soy cream for any other non-dairy cream that is unsweetened, doesn’t have a strong flavour, and can hold up to cooking (i.e. won’t curdle).

This dish has got lots of garlic flavour, and that’s the way I like it, but if you prefer a milder more subtle hint of garlic, only add 1 clove instead of two to the blended sauce, and just one instead of three cloves chopped to the pan with the walnuts.

Tips

You can really serve this with any type of pasta. Shorter shapes with more texture such as rotini will hold the sauce better but as long as you don’t rinse the pasta after cooking, any type will do.

Rinsing the pasta will make it slippery and the sauce will slide right off. Adding the pasta straight away to the pan with the sauce after draining it, and tossing well will ensure the sauce sticks to it.

Don’t serve the sauce on top of drained pasta. As it sits like that the non-rinsed pasta will stick together as it gets cooler, instead of the sauce coating and sticking to all the individual pasta pieces or strands.

A black pan with spaghetti tossed in creamy pumpkin sauce mixed with spinach and walnuts

This recipe makes enough for four large servings but if you add a side salad and a small serving of protein you can flesh it out to six.

The sauce can definitely be made ahead of time and mixed with the freshly cooked pasta just before serving.

If you’re making extra to have another day, store the pasta and sauce separately. Although leftover vegan pumpkin pasta actually keeps quite well when mixed together, you’re still better off storing the sauce and pasta separately if possible to stop the pasta from absorbing more sauce and becoming gummy.

The pumpkin pasta sauce will keep up to five days in the fridge and freezes really well.

Got leftover fresh pumpkin? Then try making these unusual overnight refrigerator pumpkin pickles. Leftover canned pumpkin puree? I’ll be posting some pumpkin cookie and pumpkin pancake recipes soon!

How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

As usual in this section, I’ll take you through the recipe in detail along with some process pictures so you can scroll back up and check if you’re unsure at any point about how the pumpkin pasta sauce is progressing.

First, prepare your pasta. You’ll need 12oz of uncooked pasta (you could even stretch to 12.5oz). Set salted water on to boil and measure out the pasta.

Then get onto the pureed sauce part. Don’t be tempted to toast the garlic and walnuts first, as you’ll run the risk of burning the dried herbs while if there’s a delay getting the puree ready.

Grab a food processor or high-speed blender, and chuck in two cloves of garlic (just add one for a more subtle garlic taste), 1.5 tsp of garlic salt, 1 packed cup of pumpkin puree, 1 small peeled onion (roughly chopped), 1/2 a cup of soy cream, 2 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and a cup of coconut milk.

A blender with cream and onion and pumpkin puree on the left and orange puree on the right

Blitz until smooth, which may take up to two minutes. Add in the vegetable stock, and blitz again until combined (10-15 seconds).

The water should be boiling for your pasta now so add it.

If your blender or food processor is a bit “lazy” and you’re not too confident about it pureeing everything properly, then I’d recommend crushing the garlic cloves and chopping the onion finely, blitzing them as smoothly as possible, and then adding in the other liquids bit by bit. You could even ue a stick blender with this method.

Next, chop the garlic (reduce to one clove if you only want a subtle garlic taste but I recommend sticking with LOTS) and walnuts and pop the olive oil in a large saucepan on high heat.

Don’t waste your high-quality extra virgin olive oil here as it will lose a lot of its flavor at a high heat. Do NOT skimp on the oil here, it adds a lot of flavor and “mouth-feel” as well as creaminess.

A black pan with oil and garlic and walnuts on the left, mixed together tosted and topped with dried herbs on the right

Add in the garlic and walnuts and cook stirring often for one-two minutes until the garlic is slightly browned. Add in the rosemary, sage and nutmeg, mix and fry around 20 seconds then reduce the heat to medium.

Add in the pureed pumpkin/onion/coconut mix, stirring fast to avoid splattering. You may want to partially cover the sauce to stop it splattering your work top. Cook for eight minutes until the oil separates from the sauce (you’ll see it at the sides of the pan).

A pan with orange sauce and baby spinach leaves on the left, and with the leaves mixed in and wilted on the right

Add in your baby spinach and cook for two minutes until wilted. Your pasta should be finished cooking about now, drain it and reserve a cup of pastawater. Add the hot drained pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss the pasta well until it’s evenly coated with the pumpkin sauce.

If desired, add a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce (I normally add about a quarter cup). Grind lots of black pepper over and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

A black cast iron pan with spaghetti in orange sauce with spinach

Need more amazing pasta sauce recipes?Your wish is my command, try these delicious easy ones:


Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations!

Yield: 4 large entree servings

20-minute Vegan Pumpkin Pasta

Black cast-iron pan with orange spaghetti

Rich creamy vegan pumpkin sauce with toasted garlic, walnuts, and wilted baby spinach make an irresistible quick meat-free weeknight dinner or last-minute dish for entertaining.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12oz dried pasta
  • 6 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1.5 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 packed cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup soy cream
  • 2 tsp tabasco (or any vinegar-based hot sauce)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp Sage
  • Freshly ground black pepper to serve

Instructions

  1. Boil the water for the pasta and measure out the dried pasta.
  2. In a food processor or high-powered blender, add two of the garlic cloves (peeled), and the next seven ingredients (from garlic salt to coconut milk).
  3. Blend until smooth (about two minutes). Add in the vegetable stock and blend until incorporated (15 seconds). Your pasta water should be boiling so add your pasta and set a timer.
  4. Add the oil to a large saucepan and heat on high. Chop the remaining (four) cloves of garlic and the walnuts and add to the pan when hot. Fry until light brown.
  5. Add in the rosemary, nutmeg and dried sage and fry 20 seconds.
  6. Add the pureed pumpkin/onion/coconut mix and stir well. You may want to cover partially with a lid while sputtering. Reduce heat to medium and cook eight minutes.
  7. Drain pasta, reserving a cup of cooking liquid when the timer for your pasta goes off.
  8. Add the baby spinach to the pumpkin pasta sauce, mix well and cook two minutes more.
  9. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss until evenly coated. Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water, if desired, to loosen the suace. Serve with lots of frshly ground black pepper sprinkled over.
  10. Enjoy!

Notes

You can sub the soy cream out for coconut cream or coconut milk (it will make the flavour a bit more "coconutty" though, and just coconut milk will lessen the creaminess a bit) or any other unsweetened plant-based cream.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 593Total Fat 46gSaturated Fat 21gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 34mgSodium 763mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 5gSugar 5gProtein 10g

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