Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This creamy pumpkin pasta sauce is the ULTIMATE fall comfort food! Roasted garlic, onion, and sage fill it with cozy, complex autumn flavor.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This creamy pumpkin pasta sauce recipe comes from my first cookbook. Even though I developed it years ago now, it’s still one of my favorite fall and winter recipes. Fresh pumpkin puree (or kabocha or butternut squash) blends with cashews to create a super creamy, super comforting sauce. Yes, it looks like mac and cheese, but this surprising pumpkin pasta sauce is something else entirely. Roasted garlic, onion, and fresh sage give it a nutty, complex autumn flavor. Personally, I think it’d be a fantastic option for a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s so simple and cozy that you’ll want to make it all fall and winter long.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Recipe Tips

  • Soak the cashews ahead of time. Heads up! If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you’ll need to plan ahead when you make this recipe. Make sure to soak the cashews overnight, or for at least 4 hours, before you start to cook. That way, they’ll get really smooth and creamy in the blender.
  • Save some pasta water. The pumpkin and cashews create a luscious puree on their own, but the addition of pasta water is what transforms them into a sauce. This salty, starchy water loosens the puree, amps up its flavor, and helps it stick to the cooked pasta. Reserve at least 1/2 cup before you drain the pasta!
  • Season to taste. You should season to taste anytime you’re cooking, but it’s especially important in this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe. The flavor of your final dish will depend on your particular brand of vegetable broth, the saltiness of your pasta water, and how generously you salt the vegetables before you roast them. There’s a good chance you’ll need to add another pinch of salt or a few extra grinds of pepper before you eat. Make sure to taste and adjust to create a pasta dish you love!

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Serving Suggestions

Topped with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan or regular Parmesan cheese, this creamy pumpkin pasta makes a fantastic meal on its own. I often serve it with homemade focaccia or crusty bread to mop up any pumpkin pasta sauce that’s left at the bottom of my bowl.

If you’re craving a larger meal, pair this pumpkin pasta with your favorite veggie side dish. I love it with roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, sautéed kale, or roasted cauliflower. It would also be delicious with any of these salad recipes:


The Love & Lemons Cookbook

More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

If you love this creamy pumpkin sauce, try one of these delicious pumpkin recipes next:

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Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

rate this recipe:
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves 4
This creamy pumpkin pasta sauce is the ULTIMATE fall comfort food! Serve it over penne, like I do here, or any pasta shape you like. This recipe works best in a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. If you're using a regular blender, be sure to soak your cashews overnight.



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the pumpkin, onion, and garlic on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the pumpkin cut-side down and pierce a few holes in the skin with a fork. Cover with another sheet of foil and bake until the onion is soft and the pumpkin flesh is very tender, 35 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Add the sage to the pan during the last few minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, keeping everything covered, and let it continue to steam for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Pour the vegetable broth into a high-speed blender. Remove the skin and add the pumpkin flesh to the blender along with the onion, peeled garlic, sage, cashews, ½ teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and blend again. (If your sauce is not smooth and creamy, add a little more broth or olive oil and blend it longer).
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions or until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in half the sauce, adding more as needed to coat the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, to thin the sauce and make it creamy. Add the remaining sauce as desired. Taste and season with more salt and pepper. Serve hot.



4.72 from 7 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Elena

    3 stars
    It was okey but I won’t make it again.

  2. Danielle

    I heard of pumpkin pasta for the first time recently and it honestly sounded really weird to me because I’m not very familiar with using pumpkin in anything savory but being that its a squash it totally makes sense. looking forward to trying this soon.

  3. Mary

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight, and it was quite yummy! I already had some fresh sage on hand – leftover from a recipe from Benjamina Ebuehi’s The New Way to Cake. I used canned pumpkin and cooked the onion and garlic on the stovetop rather than in the oven. I quick-soaked my cashews in very hot water for 20 minutes, put the sauce ingredients in my high-speed blender, and it turned out lovely! The shortcuts I took made it a quick and easy recipe. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Shannon

    Would canned pumpkin puree work here? This week I have made your pumpkin waffles and cookies but I still have about a cup of puree left to use up. I’m thinking this recipe would make a great school lunch in my son’s thermos 🙂

  5. Mary Frangie

    5 stars
    This sauce is excellent! Jeanine, you’ve done it again. I’ve reviewed before and am a big fan of what a talented magician you are. This sauce is creamy and absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exactly. other than using dried instead of fresh sage leaves, and it was easy and delectable. I never wonder if your recipes will come out well, they always do. Thank you so much!

  6. Meagan

    5 stars
    Made this tonight and was amazed at how tasty and light the sauce was! Great dinner!

  7. Kylie P.

    I just made this last night. I’m new to plant-based and sooo so happy about this recipe! It is so creamy and the flavor is soo yummy. I didn’t roast the pumpkin, but instead used canned pumpkin. I sautéed the onions and garlic and used dried sage as I only had that on hand (added it to the pan with the onions and garlic) then added it all to the blender with the other ingredients. So good, thank you!

  8. Elyse

    can you freeze any leftover sauce?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Elsye, this one doesn’t freeze all that well. The cashew base becomes less creamy (and more gritty) once frozen. However, it’ll keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

      • Elyse

        Thanks! It was sooo delicious! I added sautéed spinach when I put it over chickpea pasta shells. Yum!

  9. Jenny Swain

    Hi! Can this recipe be made ahead?

  10. Liz

    I made this tonight and I could NOT be happier. I used the instant pot for the cashews (covered almonds in water, 2 minutes under high pressure, quick release) and subbed pumpkin with butternut squash. The only thing I really changed was adding a few dashes of smoked paprika to the sauce, just because! I can’t wait to make again. Thanks!

  11. Alexander B

    Sadly have to agree with Giselle. Tasted quite bland – as vegan I am used to my recipes being more “colorful” so to say. Be it visual, or in taste. This one didn’t quite satisfy my imagination. It’s ok.

  12. Audrey

    Could you sub the cashews out for milk or half & half if you didn’t want it vegan?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Audrey, yes, but I don’t know the amounts because I haven’t made the recipe this way. So sorry that’s not very helpful…

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.