Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

This butternut squash pasta is healthy, comforting, and delicious! Roasted squash, sage, and thyme fill the creamy sauce with cozy autumn flavor.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

The first time I made this butternut squash pasta sauce, Jack couldn’t stop talking about it for days. “That sauce!”, he kept saying. “That sauce!” Of course, I teased him for it, but if I’m being totally honest, I was completely smitten with it too.

Looking at this butternut squash pasta, you might expect it to taste like mac and cheese. But don’t be fooled. The creamy sauce is rich and nutty, with bold autumn flavor from herbs like sage and thyme. Because it’s so flavorful and complex, this butternut squash pasta would make a show-stopping vegetarian main dish at a special occasion dinner (pasta for Thanksgiving, anyone?). Still, it’s really comforting and easy to make, so go ahead and enjoy it on regular old weeknights too. On cold nights, Jack and I have been loading it into bowls and cozying up on the couch. One bowl is plenty to warm us up, but it tastes so good that we always go back for seconds…or, in Jack’s case, thirds.

Butternut squash pasta recipe ingredients

Butternut Squash Pasta Recipe Ingredients

If you love butternut squash, you’ll go crazy for this pasta sauce! In it, the squash is front and center, adding to the creamy texture and supplying sweet autumn flavor. You’ll need 1/2 small squash to make this recipe, enough to yield 1 cup cooked flesh. Chop up the other half and roast it, or save it for a salad or soup. In addition to the squash, gather these ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Shallots and garlic – They roast along with the squash, becoming sweet, nutty, and tender.
  • Cashews – My go-to ingredient for making sauces rich and creamy.
  • Nutritional yeast – It adds umami flavor to this butternut squash pasta sauce.
  • Balsamic vinegar – For tang.
  • Sage and thyme – They add earthy autumn flavor to the creamy sauce.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Last but not least, you’ll need some pasta! I like to serve this sauce over rotini, but you can use any pasta shape you like. I recommend a shape with lots of folds and creases to catch the delicious sauce.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Butternut squash pasta sauce in a blender

How to Make Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

This butternut squash pasta sauce is super easy to make! However, the first step is roasting the squash and shallots, which takes about 30 minutes. If you’re crunched for time, feel free to roast the veggies up to 2 days in advance. The rest of the recipe comes together in no time:

First, roast the veggies. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then, place it cut-side-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Wrap the shallots and garlic in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and add them to the baking sheet too. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°, or until the squash is tender.

Then, blend the butternut squash sauce. Add 1 cup roasted butternut squash, the shallots, peeled garlic cloves, cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, herbs, salt, and pepper to a high-speed blender. Pour in some water and olive oil to get the blender moving, and blend to form a thick, creamy sauce.

Butternut squash pasta in a skillet

Next, cook the pasta! Add it to a large pot of boiling water, and cook until al dente. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

Finally, add the pasta back into the pot. Stir in the sauce, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Squash rotini with broccoli

Butternut Squash Pasta Serving Suggestions

When you’re ready to eat, scoop the creamy butternut squash pasta into bowls. Garnish it with thyme leaves, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked black pepper. Jack would tell you to add some shaved Parmesan cheese too!

Jack and I have been loving this recipe with a scoop of sautéed broccoli on the side. Roast the broccoli if you prefer, or replace it with roasted cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts, or sautéed kale. A fall salad, like my Pear Salad, Caesar Salad, or Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad, would pair nicely with this recipe too. If you like, round out the meal with crusty bread or homemade focaccia to wipe up any sauce that’s left at the bottom of your bowl. It’s so delicious that you won’t want one drop to go to waste!

Butternut squash pasta recipe

More Cozy Pasta Recipes

If you love this butternut squash pasta recipe, try one of these delicious pastas next:

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

rate this recipe:
4.95 from 54 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4
Roasted squash, sage, and thyme fill this creamy butternut squash pasta with cozy autumn flavor. Serve it with sautéed broccoli or any veggie side dish you like.


  • ½ small butternut squash, halved vertically, and seeded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped (½ cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, plus a few leaves for garnish
  • 12 ounces rotini pasta
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sauteed broccoli, for serving, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drizzle the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place cut-side down on the baking sheet. Wrap the shallot and garlic cloves in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  • Scoop 1 cup of the squash flesh and transfer to a blender with the shallot, peeled garlic, water, cashews, 2 tablespoons olive oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, sage, thyme, ¾ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Blend until creamy.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in a pot of salted boiling water. Reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Stir in the sauce, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta. Season with ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt. Top with freshly ground black pepper, a few thyme leaves and sautéed broccoli, if desired.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Nanette Olsen

    4 stars
    I started with a box of butternut squash soup (. Puréed.) I bought it at natural grocers, and it was reaching its date, so I looked up recipes for how to use it.
    While I boil the water for noodles, I put the cashews, spices, garlic, and shallots in a dry pan heated to medium, medium high. I stirred that for a couple of minutes and then added the olive oil. I used my ninja shake attachment. That together with the butternut squash, and added a tablespoon of arrowroot powder.
    Then I added the balsamic vinegar and returned it to the pot in which I had a Roasted the garlic mixture to thicken slightly. I didn’t need any of the reserved pasta water for consistency. I added the salt and pepper at the end, before combining with the noodles. It worked great! I even used a combination of vegetable rotini and chickpea, rotini, and I didn’t notice the “gluten-free” texture that I usually have with non-traditional noodles.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you enjoyed the pasta!

  2. Judy Sandeen

    Do you have suggestions as to what to do with the rest of the cooked squash?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Judy, depending on how much you have, you could blend some into hummus, using this recipe as a guide, or make the filling for this butternut squash ravioli. I also love mashed squash in quesadillas!

    • Jenna

      I ended up using a whole butternut squash but kept all the other recipe amounts the same. The sauce still ended up with the perfect consistency.

    • Liz

      Butternut squash Mac and cheese is really good.

  3. Jessica K

    Can ground sage be used in replacement of sage leaves? If so, do you have any quantity recommendations? Thank you.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Jessica, dried sage will work fine here. I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more to taste.

  4. Louise

    This looks amazing! And also not super difficult 🙂 If I can’t find sage leaves at the grocery store, how much sage seasoning should I use? Thanks much! 🙂

  5. Nina

    Hi, excited to try this recipe! If I don’t have nutritional yeast, could I use parmesan cheese instead?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Yeah, Parmesan would be great here! You might need a bit more to get a good balance of flavors. I’d start with the 1T grated and add more to taste. Hope this helps!

  6. Hillary

    Hi! I have a cashew allergy-what could I substitute for the cashews?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Hillary, You could use 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds or 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds. Hope this helps!

  7. Lainey

    Can’t wait to try it. Was previously buying a very expensive healthy Dave’s bottled version.
    Will let you know.

  8. Ashley

    5 stars
    This is amazing! My family and I are now dairy free because my daughter is allergic. We all miss Mac and cheese but not anymore! This is fantastic!!! Thanks so much for the allergy friendly healthy alternative!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Ashley, I’m so glad you and your family love the recipe!

  9. Kristen

    This recipe is incredible. I make a double batch and freeze it. My toddler gobbles it down.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad she’s enjoyed it!

  10. Amy

    5 stars
    I am a lover of butternut squash pasta and have used several recipes over the years. This one is the best. Thank you so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  11. KJ

    Can you freeze the sauce?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kirsty, it freezes ok – the texture gets a little grainy after it thaws.

  12. Alice

    Can I use raw almonds or hazelnuts in place of cashews ? This is what we have on hand

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Alice, cashews make it the creamiest. Almonds work ok, but the skins will make it grittier – I usually use slivered almonds that don’t have skins. I don’t think hazelnuts will blend as smooth.

  13. Grace

    Hi! Can I use bay leaves instead of sage? I only have rubbed sage and I think it might be old.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Grace, I would try using rosemary instead, another warm fall flavor. I think bay leaves would have an odd taste here.

  14. Sarah

    This looks so good. Can the sauce be made ahead of time and reheated?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yep! It’ll thicken – if it’s too thick, just stir in a bit of water as you reheat it.

  15. Erica Grace

    5 stars
    Wow wow! This was absolutely delicious! Really liked the herb flavors… I wondered about how much it calls for but no, it’s absolutely perfect. Thank you 🙏💕 for all you do. I am hooked on your work!

    Btw, i soaked the cashews for 30 mins in very hot water just to make sure they blended easily.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Erica, I’m so glad you loved the pasta and all of the herbs!

  16. Mary

    Hi! I am going to give this a try. I’m using cashews this time but is there any other thing I can use in place of them next time? I should only have walnut, macadamia and pecans. ..which just aren’t the same as cashew. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Mary, walnuts would be delicious, the sauce just won’t be as creamy.

  17. Eileene

    I’m sensitive to yeast. Any suggestions for a substitute?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Eileen, you can just skip it in this recipe.

  18. Cali

    Hi! Could I replace nutritional yeast and cashews with parmesan cheese or cheddar or mozzarella cheese? Trying to replace what I don’t have with what I do! 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Cali – I haven’t tried this, but I would try about 1/3 cup parmesan cheese in place of both the cashews and nutritional yeast. Instead of 3/4 cup water, I would start with 1/2 and add more if the mixture is too thick (easier to add more than take some away). I think the other cheeses might be weird in this blender sauce but the parmesan should do the trick. In step 5, you might not need the additional salt.

      Hope that helps!

  19. Kathryn

    5 stars
    This is so good! A new favorite!

  20. Tisha

    5 stars
    SO GOOD!!! I am in love with this sauce.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.