Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

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This Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is the perfect way to celebrate pumpkin season! It tastes like a restaurant-quality meal, but it takes less than 20 minutes to make.

bowl of pumpkin pasta next to a white skillet

This creamy pumpkin pasta sauce is inspired by the Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce I saw at the grocery store. A pumpkin marinara sauce, with a creamy texture, is the perfect Fall twist on your traditional pasta night!

The flavor is so delicious, you can also enjoy it straight as a soup, or as a dip for a grilled cheese sandwich.

Ingredients You’ll Need

pumpkin pasta ingredients in glass bowls on white surface

What’s in pumpkin pasta sauce?

  • Pumpkin puree
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sage
  • Coconut milk (optional; for creaminess)

The combination is simple, but delicious! The pumpkin puree gives this sauce a velvety texture that’s a little heartier than traditional marinara sauce, and the coconut milk makes it creamy, without a significant flavor, for a dairy-free sauce.

Note: If you don’t need a dairy-free sauce, you could swap the coconut milk for a 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream.

fork twirling the pumpkin pasta in a white bowl

How to Make It

1. Saute. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the onion until it’s tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.

sage and garlic sauteed into onions

Add in the garlic and sage, and stir until very fragrant, about 1 to 2 more minutes.

2. Blend. Add the diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and sauteed veggies to a blender, along with salt and pepper. Blend until very smooth. (Blending before you heat the tomatoes and pumpkin makes it a little safer to blend, since everything won’t be piping-hot yet!)

blended pumpkin sauce in blender

Taste the sauce, and then blend in the coconut milk, if you’d like a creamy sauce. I highly recommend it!

3. Simmer. Return the blended sauce to the pan, and heat it until it’s gently simmering, stirring often. Taste the sauce, and adjust any seasoning to taste.

cooked pasta combined with pumpkin pasta sauce in skillet

Serve over your favorite cooked pasta, and enjoy!

Common Questions

Can I use a whole can of pumpkin? Yes! This recipe is very flexible. I purposefully decided to use only 1 cup because I wanted to use the rest of the can to make another pumpkin recipe. But if you want to use a whole can, or only 3/4 cup pumpkin in this recipe, you are welcome to do that.

Tomato swaps. If you don’t have diced tomatoes on hand, you can use a can of tomato sauce or strained tomatoes for similar results. When using tomato sauce as a substitute, be sure to cut back on the salt and omit the maple syrup, since tomato sauce may already have seasoning added.

Using dried herbs. I have tested this recipe using dried sage instead of fresh, and I love it that way! Use a 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage as a swap for the 1 teaspoon of fresh.

Is this recipe vegan? Yes! As written, this recipe is dairy-free and vegan. However, all of my family members are not vegan, so we usually add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top, for those who want it.

Also, don’t be afraid to add more seasoning to your liking! The most common mistake people make with cooking is not adding enough salt. I start on the smaller side with this recipe, because I don’t want you to over-salt your food, but I do intend on you adding more as you go. I use Real Salt brand, if you want to use the same kind I do.

I hope you’ll enjoy this pumpkin pasta as much as I do!

pumpkin pasta in skillet topped with parmesan

bowl of pumpkin pasta next to a white skillet
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4.94 from 29 votes

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is the perfect topping for a Fall-inspired meal. It takes less than 20 minutes to make, and is naturally dairy-free and vegan. (But feel free to add some shredded Parmesan on top, if you'd like to.)
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 98kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces spaghetti noodles (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced sage , plus extra for garnish
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • salt & pepper , to taste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (optional)

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the sauce by adding the olive oil to a separate skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until softened, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and sage, and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 more minutes.
  • In a blender, combine the tomatoes, pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of salt, a 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, maple syrup, and the cooked onions, garlic, and sage. Blend until very smooth. For an extra-creamy sauce, add in the coconut milk, too. (Highly recommend!)
  • When the pasta is done cooking, drain the noodles. Pour the blended sauce back into the large skillet, and heat it up, so it's ready to serve. Toss with the noodles, and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. I usually have to add at least a 1/2 teaspoon more salt, but that will vary based on how much salt the pasta absorbs while cooking. You can also adjust the flavor by adding a touch of lemon juice for more tartness, or another teaspoon of maple syrup for more sweetness.
  • Serve warm, with any extra pasta toppings you love. This recipe is vegan as written, but you can top it with a little Parmesan cheese if you don't need a dairy-free recipe. Leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Notes

Nutrition information is for roughly 3/4 cup of sauce, not including the pasta. This information is just an estimate, and not a guarantee.
If you don't want to use coconut milk, you can leave it out for more of a marinara sauce texture, or use another milk that you like instead!
I purposefully only use 1 cup of pumpkin puree in this recipe, because I wanted to use the rest of the can for a different recipe. If you want to use an entire can of pumpkin puree in this recipe, you can! And if you have a little less pumpkin to use up, it will work here, too. This recipe is very flexible, so adjust as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6356IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

If you try this Pumpkin Pasta Sauce, please leave a comment and star rating below so I’ll know how you like it!

Reader Feedback: Do you have any other Fall-inspired recipe requests? I’d love to hear them!

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Comments

Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

Yum! This sounds delicious!! I love all things pumpkin and this is brilliant…and isn’t a sweet 😉 I will definitely be making this soon for my family.
Thanks for sharing!

    Laura ~ RYG

    Agreed! I saw that same jar of pumpkin sauce at Whole Foods, but it was way too pricey for me!!!! Thrilled by the idea of making my own. My mother actually ended up though buying several bottles because she has no scruples, is retired and doesn’t need to worry about $$ and it was good!

Jacqueline

How much do you think you would need if you used dried sage? Will definitely make this week! 🙂

    Carmen

    I didn’t have fresh sage either and just used 1/2 teaspoon of dry. It is beyond delicious!!

GE

Why the maple syrup? Can we have any foods left natural or unseeetened. It’s bad enough store bought. I’d like to try it without.

    Megan Gilmore

    You’re welcome to try it without! The store-bought version that I was trying to mimic called for honey, and I find that a bit of sweetness helps to perfectly balance the acidity of tomatoes. But that’s just my taste buds… you might feel differently so taste as you go!

      Karen

      i completely agree with you Megan, just a touch of sweetness does help the bitterness!!! love your recipes!

      Christy

      I agree as well. It’s not too sweet. My husband who isn’t big on sweets loves this sauce. The sweet compliments the other ingredients.

donna

Tomato puree ? would that be tomato paste?

    Megan Gilmore

    No, it’s not concentrated like tomato paste. The product I buy is called “strained tomatoes”– it’s pureed tomato with the seeds taken out.

Sandra

Made only the sauce tonight will make pasta tomorrow and meal will be done.
It tastes awesome!!
I made the Argula potatoe soup and it was to die for, I am sharing my lunch with a co-worker and she is in love with the soup.
Thsnks fir this recipes!!

Holly

Megan this recipe sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it. For the coconut milk, do you use the “cream” or the liquid?

    Megan Gilmore

    It was warm enough in my kitchen that they were actually mixed, but if they were separated I would just use the cream.

Gloria

Thanks for your wonderful receipts I am a vegetarian trying to avoid shop products my only problem is some of the spices are hard to come by in Jamaica but managing. Excited to try this pumpkin sauce

Donna

Can’t wait to try this recipe! Question: my husband is not supposed to have night shades so need to delete the tomatoes. Any other suggestions of what I can use besides tom paste?

Mirjam

Dear Megan, I think we don’t have pumpkin puree to buy ready to use in my country. Do you think fresh made pumpkin puree will work as well? Thank you, also for all your great recipies!

Nicole

Thank you so much for all the vegan recipes. I first started following your blog five or so years ago, when I was vegetarian. Since becoming vegan, I’m still finding I can do about 99% of your recipes…Btw, I make a soup that also uses tomatoes, pumpkin puree, and coconut milk as the base (with water and vegetable broth to thin it out). It is a winning combination of flavors and texture. Will definitely be trying your recipe over spaghetti squash.

    Megan Gilmore

    Funny you should mention that, because I just tried turning this into a soup, too! The flavors are so delicious, I just wanted to eat it with a spoon. 🙂 Glad to hear you’re enjoying the recipes!

Bette

Hi Megan, I am so glad to see your recipe for this sauce. I seen the sauce at Bed bath and beyond and wanted to try it but as you I didn’t like the cream in the ingredients, I was thinking about doing my own creation but I see it has been done already for me. Can’t wait to make it. Will post to let you know how it turns out.

Katy

This is so delicious! My husband typically will lump something like this into the half of the week’s cooking that I will eat but he LOVED this. Looking forward to making more batches for the freezer. Love it.

Robyn

I just made this and OMG it was delicious! I am cooking for 1 so decided to make extra sauce so I didn’t waste ingredients and plan on either freezing the leftovers or eating as soup cuz it’s just that addicting! I pretty much doubled everything but the maple syrup- I only used the 4 tsp and it was perfect for my taste. I had to omit the onion because I’m allergic but it still had tons of flavor! I will definitely be making this again.

    Robyn

    PS- I tried to give this 5 stars but it would only let me click on 4. 🙁

Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

This was fantastic!! I ended up using a can of tomato paste and filling the rest of the 1 cup with water to thin it out. I may have added more water in the end to make it creamier as well. So glad you are sharing savory pumpkin recipes!!!

Thank you 🙂

Zoe Lau

This is beautiful! 🙂 I can’t help but stare at the pictures! I’ve come back multiple times and every time I’m in awe of how pretty it is! I’m definitely going to try it sometime soon! I’m not a huge pumpkin fan but this convinces me 🙂 Love this 🙂 Thanks for this simple recipe!

Cyrilla

I added a bit of chilli powder to this recipe and it was awesome!! I cooked some black bean noodles along with it… so delicious 🙂

eddie

Can you reccomend a good gluten free pasta?

    Trish

    Jovial brown rice pasta

Jo

Omg this was amazing! I made it using gluten free brown rice spaghetti, so good!!!!!!!!

Brianna

I was really skeptical at first and even when I was making this, I couldn’t imagine it tasting like a savory dish. Honestly, I was totally prepared to try it, not like it, and then make myself something else for dinner. But guess what?! It’s delicious! The combination of pumpkin and tomato works really well together. It’s a big bonus that the sauce takes basically 15 minutes to make. I am looking forward to leftovers! Also, I used soy milk instead of coconut, since that’s what I had on hand.

    LB

    me, too. And I was lazy and substituted onion powder (3/4 tsp) , garlic powder (1/8 tsp), dried sage (1/4 tsp) and left out the oil (nothing left to saute!. It was delish – and hubby wanted to know why he couldn’t eat the rest of the pot worth off the spoon!

Clarisa

Just made this and me and my husband love it. We are not even vegan. I tossed the sauce with some wholewheat spaghetti. This is so creamy and has great fall flavor without the cheese. It’s a great change from just regular tomato sauce.

Kelly

just made this…. absolutely delicious!!!

Carmen

This is just scrumptious! Eating it right now over spaghetti squash. I didn’t have strained tomatoes on hand so i used a jarred spaghetti sauce i had in the fridge (just organic tomatoes, basil, oregano) and it is amazing! I bought your second cookbook earlier this week and everything I’ve made has been so delicious!!

Angel de Goede

This is a brilliant recipe, thank you! we made it tonight and both of us immensely enjoyed it!!
instead of water, added chicken bone broth, extra garlic. Also included CHICKEn, spinach, and mushrooms. USED GF Tinkyada (ALL OF THEIR PASTAS ARE AWESOME) Can def see this dish becoming a regular comfort MEAL FOR US :).

sohani patel

I love really love pasta and this looks so delicious. I think I’ll make this tonight 🙂 i hope like my family spacial my bf i’m so exited for this pasta

cHLOE

Simple, fast and delicious. I ate it with zucchini noodles and sprinkled some nutritional yeast to give a nice cheesy taste. SO GOOD!!!!

Chloe Chabot-Denis

Fast, easy and delicious. Try it with zucchini noodles and sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. SO GOOD!!!

Arrow

SONOMA GOURMET butternut squash pasta sauce is sold in Safeway /Albertsons and is VEGAN.

Kristin

I have been making this sauce over the course of a year and it impresses each time. Last time we had it over tortelloni. Thanks for the super easy and delicious recipe!

Lauren

Is it possible to make this without tomatoes? My daughter is very sensitive to them and I want to be able to put some type of sauce on pasta for her. Thanks!

Ale

Thank you for such a delicious recipe! I love the touch of cinnamon. I used only 1 tsp of maple syrup and homemade tomato sauce instead of tomato purée + water. Scrumptious!

Sharon

This is amazing! We ate it with homemade vegan mushroom ravioli, and it was incredible! Megan – Do you know if it freezes well? I’d love to make 3-4 huge batches and keep them in my freezer so they are as easy as store-bought marinara.

katie

I feel like I wait all summer to make this sauce come autumn!! So, so, so, so, SO delicious. I top with a bit of crushed red pepper because I’m a spice fiend, but the sauce really does offer up a world of flavor on its own!

Christy

One of my favorite savory pumpkin recipes. I recently made for guests and it was a huge hit!

Candace

This sauce recipe is AMAZING. Husband and kids both ate it up. Will be making for life!

CL

Made this last night and it was delicious! Love the pumpkin/sage combination, perfect for colder weather. I made only a few modifications – 1 tbsp honey instead of maple syrup, dried sage instead of fresh, omitted the cinnamon (do not like it in savory dishes), and added some dried rosemary.

MarY

This was incredible!!! I used canned Italian seasoned diced tomatoes instead of purée, added hot paprika, red pepper flakes, and lots of pepper. I omitted the syrup- it was amazing! It turned out a bit spicy but you can’t tell it’s vegan at all. It’s so creamy.

Sage

This is delish!! I’ve never thought of making pumpkin pasta until the other day, thinking of something savoury and pumkin to bring to thanksgiving. Then I thought, “… can you make pumpkin sauce for pasta?”and voila! Thank uoufor posting this. The only thing I would say is itsa little tame for my tastebuds. I almost always add spicy flavours to me cooking. I was thinking of adding a little chili powder or chipotle for a bit of heat, but nervous to try because it’s so good as is.

Deea

I just made this sauce, it’s delicious!

Heidi

Absolutely delicious, so simple and perfect flavor for fall! I tripled it due to my large family but stuck to the recipe and it required nothing more! Flavors were so comforting. Perfect as written. Felt so fancy but was effortless to make.I don’t get out much but felt like something you’d find in a nice little bistro restaurant. I would also eat this as a nice thick creamy soup with a big piece of crusty bread, yum!!!

Amber

New favorite pasta sauce! Served over spaghetti squash, and it was A++. Thank you!

Christy

Made a double batch earlier this week so we’d have leftovers because we love it. Served over spaghetti squash. It was FANTASTIC! Used tomato sauce instead of puree because that’s what I had. I couldn’t tell any difference.

Nelly

Made this tonight and it was so delicious for something so simple!

Kayla Clark

You know those recipes you get obsessed with and make like 12 times in a row? This is one of them. So delicious!

Jen

I cannot eat tomato. Is there anything to use in lieu of that ingredient? Thanks.

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