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:

Get This Recipe In Your Inbox
Share your email, and we'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus, enjoy daily doses of recipe inspiration as a bonus!

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

rate this recipe:
4.94 from 91 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 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.

Ingredients

  • ½ small butternut squash, halved vertically and seeded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped (⅔ cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 12 ounces rotini pasta
  • Sauteed broccoli, for serving, optional

Instructions

  • 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 shallots 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.
  • Measure 1 cup of the roasted squash flesh and transfer to a blender with the shallot, peeled garlic, water, cashews, olive oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, sage, thyme, ¾ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of 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 ½ 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.

139 comments

4.94 from 91 votes (47 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Julia
    02.06.2024

    5 stars
    Yum this was delcious! I accidently forgot the pasta water….but came out great anyway. Added some apple cider vinegar for tang.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Julia, so glad you loved it!

  2. Katie
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    Fairly easy to make and absolutely delicious! I will 100% be making this on the regular!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      Hi Katie, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Lainey
    01.17.2024

    4 stars
    Jeanine,
    I finally got around to making this recipe its been an intention for a long while. I had a butternut squash in the fridge and needed to use it up.
    Followed the recipe as described and it came out great. I gave it 4 vs 5 star simply because I found it a bit too heavy on the sage for my taste. I used 10 fresh as suggested but for me that was too much. I spent some time trying to neutralize the flavour. I added some maple syrup 1-2 tsp, I am Canadian after all 😉 I added the full cup of pasta water, I added a bit more salt and pepper. I even sprinkled some fresh parmesan on top before serving it. The only other thing I also thought is maybe I over blended it in the Vitamix came to mind?

    Next time I would gradually add the sage leaves and taste as I go. Or try dry 1/4 tsp at a time.

    I haven’t had a turkey dinner in over 35 yrs as a vegetarian, but memories of that is what came to mind while I ate it. Maybe I’ve just never liked sage, I have to say I can’t think of many recipes where I’ve ever used it.

    Best
    Lainey.
    Ps – I did have the steamed broccoli side, and for the leftovers I plan to add some toasted Panko on top for some added texture.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.19.2024

      Hi Lainey, I’m glad you enjoyed the pasta! It could be that your sage leaves were on the larger side—the size can of course vary. Like you said, next time I’d add the sage a little at a time until you find a balance you like. You can also skip it here if you prefer!

  4. Claire Reynoso-Mazoy
    01.13.2024

    5 stars
    This is probably the best non-dairy pasta sauce I’ve ever had. We absolutely love this recipe and have added it as one of our staples. Can’t recommend it enough!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.15.2024

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  5. Abby
    12.17.2023

    5 stars
    Delicious! I was worried it would turn out too sweet but the vinegar and sage help even it out (I also added a squeeze of lemon at the end t00). Made much more than I anticipated so freezing the leftover sauce- can’t wait to enjoy it again soon!!

  6. Anne
    12.07.2023

    5 stars
    This recipe makes a delicious sauce! I used dried herbs but otherwise followed the recipe. It tastes even better the next day. I’m going to try replicating it using pumpkin next time, and just omitting/reducing other liquids.

  7. Abby Jacobson
    11.07.2023

    Can you freeze the sauce?

    • Liz
      11.17.2023

      5 stars
      Blend it with coconut milk in place of water for extra deliciousness!

  8. Robyn
    11.06.2023

    Is the nutritional yeast a must? Just got back from grocery store and realized I missed that as something I needed to buy. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.09.2023

      You can skip it!

  9. Curious taster
    11.03.2023

    4 stars
    I really enjoyed this sauce, my husband was more neutral about it. I went to two stores and couldn’t find raw cashews, so I used tahini. I doubled the recipe so I could use the whole squash and it was plenty of sauce for a pound of pasta.

  10. 5 stars
    This was sinfully delicious and soooo easy to make. 11/10 would serve this again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2023

      I’m so happy to hear!

  11. Bridget Cassun
    10.31.2023

    5 stars
    Delicious! Loved the creaminess of this mac and cheese and the addition of the balsamic vinegar!! My new go to vegan Mac and Cheese!

  12. Mik O.
    10.31.2023

    5 stars
    My wife and I love this butternut squash recipe. It is the ultimate autumn comfort food. We are gluten-free, so we used buckwheat pasta and served it with broccoli. I highly recommend this recipe. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.06.2023

      I’m so glad you’ve loved it!

  13. Annika
    10.27.2023

    5 stars
    I loved it. It’s so comforting!

  14. Dottie
    10.24.2023

    5 stars
    This was amazing! I used gluten free fusilli and adorned with sauteed broccoli. The combo of the fresh hersb with nutritional yeast made it so unctuous! will def make again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.27.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  15. Far
    10.24.2023

    My husband and I loved it!

  16. Stevie Smith
    10.21.2023

    5 stars
    So good, nice to have a healthy and delicious Mac and cheese!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.23.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Jean
    10.17.2023

    I just made this into a pasta bake with fresh mozzarella and chopped lacinato kale mixed in. I will let you know how it turns out!

  18. Shira
    10.13.2023

    5 stars
    We loved this and it was surprisingly easy to make. Just roast stuff, blend stuff and cook your pasta! A perfect fall dish.

  19. Laueie
    10.04.2023

    Looking forward to making this one

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.