This creamy pumpkin pasta sauce is the perfect autumn dinner recipe! Anyone you serve is sure to love this easy gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan meal.
The idea for this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe came to me one night when I was craving pasta but didn't feel like any of my go-to sauces. I wasn't in the mood for my spinach and basil pesto, sausage and eggplant pasta, or vegan mac and cheese recipes. I also happened to have bits and bobs of pumpkin in the fridge from all of the fall baking I had been doing.
Then it hit me - wow, a pumpkin pasta sauce would be really good. And this gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan pumpkin pasta sauce was born. Pumpkin actually has several health benefits, and this sauce is creamy all on it's own from the thick purée. Keep reading to learn how to make a pumpkin pasta sauce in just 20 minutes!
Ingredients you need
The great thing about this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is that you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry and fridge! It is super quick and easy to whip up the sauce in the time your pasta cooks. Here's what you'll need:
Gluten-free pasta: Use your favourite brand. This pasta sauce works great with long or short noodles. Here I used rice flour capellini from Jovial Foods.
Extra-virgin olive oil: Because every pasta sauce needs a little bit of oil to fry up the flavour!
Garlic: Rounds out the flavours in the sauce. I am the proud owner of a 1kg jar from Costco and it is so convenient.
Tomato paste: This is the magical ingredient here. When I tried the sauce the first time without this, you could absolutely tell something was missing. Just a little bit of tomato paste deepens the flavour and makes this pumpkin sauce super savoury. If you don't have this on-hand, you can totally sub an equal amount of jarred tomato sauce.
Pumpkin purée: The star of the show! Be sure that you're using plain pumpkin purée - we don't need any pumpkin spice in here! The small quantity required makes this recipe perfect for when you can't quite finish the tin with your holiday baking.
Dairy-free milk: Just a little bit goes a long way to making this sauce creamy. I like a neutral flavoured milk like unsweetened cashew.
Vegetable broth: For more deepness of flavour and consistency. Ensure that your veggie broth is gluten-free because they can be sneaky sometimes. This brand is great.
Seasoning: Salt and pepper are a given, but a little dash of nutmeg really helps to give this sauce a warm and cozy flavour.
Optional (but recommended) ingredients
Spinach: I love to sneak in a portion of veggies anywhere I can in my cooking. You really cannot taste it here when coated in the sauce and it adds a nice colour contrast to the dish. I used fresh but I imagine frozen would work the same.
Toasted walnuts: The crunch on top of the pasta is such a welcomed textural change. All you have to do is buy chopped walnuts, throw them in a small skillet on medium heat, and shake every few minutes while you're making the sauce. It's worth it, trust me.
Parmesan: You could use the real deal, a vegan parmesan product or even nutritional yeast! Any of those will add a nice finishing flavour to the pasta, as well as wow with presentation.
How to make gluten-free & vegan pumpkin pasta sauce
The beauty of this recipe is how everything comes together at the same time - and in under 20 minutes, you have a delicious, healthy, and allergy-friendly meal.
The first step is to boil water for the pasta. Once ready, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions.
In the meantime, if you choose to garnish with toasted walnuts, add a handful of chopped walnuts to a small skillet over medium heat. Shake occasionally as you make the sauce, and remove from the heat when fragrant and dark.
While both of those are going, you can prepare the pumpkin pasta sauce. Begin by adding the olive oil, garlic, and tomato paste to a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Sauté until fragrant and the garlic is golden, 3-5 minutes.
Next, add the remaining sauce ingredients. This includes the pumpkin purée, dairy-free milk, vegetable broth, and spices. Whisk to combine and cook on low until the pasta is finished, about 5 minutes.
When just about ready to serve, add the spinach if you wish and wilt for about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce skillet. Coat the pasta and cook in the sauce for 1 minute.
Plate the pasta and garnish with toasted walnuts and parmesan or a vegan alternative. Now it's time to enjoy this delicious autumn pumpkin pasta!
This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is creamy, cozy, and the ultimate fall comfort meal. Not to mention it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Perfect for anyone you serve it to!
Have you made this pumpkin pasta sauce? Be sure to leave a comment telling me how much you loved it, and tag me on instagram @liv.glutenfree! I hope you enjoy as much as I do!
Looking for more gluten-free pasta recipes? Check these out!
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Pumpkin Pasta Sauce [Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan]
- 2 servings pasta long or short works great
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove fresh garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste could even use jarred tomato sauce if you have it
- ½ cup pumpkin purée
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free milk
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- pinch salt, pepper, and nutmeg
- 1 cup spinach
- handful toasted walnuts chopped
- sprinkle parmesan or nutritional yeast
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. The sauce can be made entirely while the pasta cooks.
- If you wish to top with toasted walnuts, ensure they are chopped small and place in a small skillet on medium-low heat. Let them sit, shaking every few minutes, while you make the sauce. Once they start to darken and are fragrant, remove from heat.
- Heat the olive oil, garlic, and tomato paste in a pan over medium heat until fragrant. This should take 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic brown too much.
- Then add in the pumpkin purée, dairy-free milk, and vegetable broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add a pinch of nutmeg for spice. Whisk to combine and cook for another 5 minutes, turning the heat to low.
- When almost ready to serve, add the spinach if you wish and cook for 2 minutes until wilted.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Cook in the sauce for 1 minute.
- Top with toasted walnuts and parmesan (or nutritional yeast) and enjoy!