I was skeptical of this vegan pumpkin pasta during the testing phase. Anytime I’ve tried it before, it turned out too sweet. The thing is, in previous iterations, I tried it with almond or coconut milk, or non-dairy cheese, or blended cashews – all bad ideas. Those tend to make already sweet pumpkin into a dessert instead of a main.
In this case, vegetable broth, olive oil, and lemon juice make up the base of the sauce along with the roasted pumpkin. Adding a little pasta water, what’s left after cooking the pasta, is the secret here. The starchiness keeps the sauce creamy without adding any unwanted sweetness.
This recipe was inspired by my pumpkin & mushroom shepherd’s pie. Essentially, I wanted the same thing in pasta form, because it’s awesome. And although I love some butternut squash mac and cheese, this is a bit more refined and less “give me carbs right now” kind of thing. Both good, just different.
To keep the mushrooms from getting rubbery, they’re roasted instead of pan-fried, along with garlic, spices, and herbs. The garlic is blended into the sauce. Then the pasta, sauce, and roasted mushrooms get mixed up along with a little rucola, and that’s it!
You can cook the mushrooms while the pasta cooks and everything is cooked in about 20 minutes. With pretty minimal prep time you’re about 30 minutes away from having pumpkin pasta on the table.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Pasta: I always use spelt pasta. For a gluten-free option, use a good GF pasta like red lentil (which will also boost the protein content).
- Mushrooms: these aren’t mandatory and can be left out if you prefer, but they do add an additional savoury note to the dish.
- Garlic: you’re roasting the garlic in the oven, so it adds a nice garlic flavour without being overwhelming. I don’t recommend subbing raw garlic.
- Rucola: aka rocket or arugula. Substitute baby spinach or any other baby hardy greens like chard here.
You can use pre-made pumpkin puree for the sauce. I’ve never tried this with canned pumpkin (we can’t get it here) and I think it might change the taste a lot.
This vegan cream cheese, even though it’s made with cashews, is quite neutral tasting. So if you do want to add another creamy note, you could stir some of this into the sauce.
How to Store
Storage: the sauce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. The pasta will soften and soak up the sauce as it’s stored, so it’s fine, but not great.
Freezing: the pumpkin sauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.
- Choose a good pumpkin: a variety that contains less water, like hokkaido, is perfect for this recipe. You want a very flavourful pumpkin or winter squash so that it carries through the sauce.
- Season to taste: the salt listed in the recipe is what I would consider the minimum amount, and you should taste and add seasoning as needed for your personal preference. This goes for the acidity level as well.
More Pumpkin Recipes
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Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
- 200 grams mushrooms sliced
- 3 cloves garlic skin on
- 2-3 teaspoons sage leaves minced
- 1 teaspoon rosemary minced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 500 grams pasta 1 whole package
- 60 grams rucola or other baby greens
- 1 handful walnuts broken into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the mushrooms, garlic, herbs, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper onto a large baking sheet and mix until the mushrooms are coated.200 grams mushrooms, 3 cloves garlic, 2-3 teaspoons sage leaves, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Roast for 18-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden. While the mushrooms are in the oven, cook your pasta in well salted water according to package instructions. Make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the water when you drain the pasta.500 grams pasta
- To serve, add the sauce, mushrooms, and rucola into the pot with the hot pasta. Stir to coat, and serve hot, with walnuts if desired.60 grams rucola, 1 handful walnuts
- Place all of the ingredients into a blender, and blend on high speed until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender. Taste and season further if needed.400 grams pumpkin puree, 3 cloves roasted garlic, 180 ml vegetable broth, 125 ml pasta water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Juice 1 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.