Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Penne

Creamy vegan fall pasta made with sage, balsamic, garlic, onion and creamy cashews. Gluten free.

Creamy Pumpkin Penne Pasta (vegan)

This week in Texas, the summer temps are climbing to a sweltering 102 degrees – but I wanted to post this cozy comfort-food recipe from the cookbook because today’s the day the book comes out in Australia!

This creamy vegan pasta is made with blended pumpkin (you could also use kabocha or butternut squash), roasted garlic, cashews, onion & sage. It’s one of my favorite fall/winter recipes, although I could totally go for a bowl of it right now. (Note to self: writing blog posts before dinner is NOT a good idea).

To all of you Aussie readers: you can now get the book at your local book store or online here at Booktopia.

Of course, if you’re not in Australia click here for all options to purchase it 🙂

The Love & Lemons Cookbook

4.7 from 6 reviews

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Penne

note: this recipe is best in a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. If you're using a regular blender, be sure to soak your cashews overnight.
Serves: serves 4
  • ½ kabocha or small sugar pie pumpkin (yield 1 heaping cup/250 mL of cooked mash)
  • ½ yellow onion sliced into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) vegetable broth
  • ½ cup (125 mL) raw unsalted cashews soaked 3 to 4 hours or overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 ounces (450 g) uncooked penne pasta
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) 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 and bake until the onion is soft and the pumpkin flesh is very tender, 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 olive oil and blend again. (If your sauce is not smooth and creamy, try adding a little more broth or olive oil and blend it longer).
  4. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions or until al dente. Reserve ½ cup (125 mL) of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta.
  5. 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 (60 mL) 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.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Roasted garlic is the BEST. Love that you included it. I’ve made something like this with butternut squash, but will definitely be trying your recipe with pumpkin (especially come fall) – sounds so tasty and looks beautiful!

  2. I haven’t bought your cookbook yet, but I am so excited to soon! I told the hubby that we have to get it as soon as I get back from the UK.
    Pumpkin is one of my favorite things to cook with, I am so excited about this recipe!
    I don’t think the hubby would like it, but the kid and I will 😛

  3. Ohhhh man, my mouth is watering. I love anything with pasta and I think it’s such a great idea to add the pumpkin… And that sage on top, I’m drooling!

  4. Jen

    It is chilly here in Melbourne. This looks perfect.

  5. Deb

    Can we used organic canned pumpkin? If so, how much? Or would this not be good?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Deb, the flavor is really not as good with canned pumpkin, but butternut squash works great here too if that’s easier to find!

  6. This pasta looks delicious! I love pumpkin and would eat it all year if I could. I might have to try this with butternut squash until I can get my hands on a pumpkin. This will be great to use as one of my meatless Monday meals. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Melissa

    Looks delicious! I just have one question. My husband is allergic to most nuts, but he can eat almonds and peanuts. Would it be possible to sub the cashews with either of these, and if so, would one work better than the other? I’m thinking almonds might be better…

  8. It is that time again. Halloween is just around the corner. Time to pull out our best pumpkin recipes. Adding this one to the bunch!

  9. Kira

    I have never been on your website before but bought your cookbook online while searching for whole foods cookbooks. I fell in love with the format, pictures, and ingredients used. I was even happier when it arrived. It is a beautiful book, and filled with many recipes I want to try. We just ate the roasted cauliflower and pear pizza tonight. I was speechless. So unique to me, and absolutely tastes delicious. My 4 year old and I thought it was the perfect dinner to end our girls day in while the boys were away today. Thank you for putting together the cookbook. I love it! It will be used often. And we will be visiting your site often now too.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kira – welcome! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book, and I’m so happy that your family enjoyed the pizza! Thank you for coming to let me know 🙂

  10. Jeanine Donofrio

    Hi, you might want to try soaking your cashews longer, that will help them become more creamy when you blend them (if you’re not using a high powered blender like a vitamix). I would also suggest blending the sauce a little longer to get it creamier. Hope that helps!

  11. Jeanine Donofrio

    The Aussie cookbook does list items as you call them :). You can use a butternut squash or (what we call) sugar pie pumpkins in this recipe!

    • Rebbecca Valenti

      Excellent!! Going to try this one today, have all the ingredients. Thanks 🙂

  12. Hana

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing. Added in some baby spinach and thought it was a great addition. My junk food loving fiancé loved this too, so this recipe is definitely a keeper

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you both loved it!

  13. Susan

    Going to try this soon- could you tell me if walnuts or almonds might work as well as cashews?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Susan, blanched/ peeled almonds might work if your blender is really powerful. I think walnuts would give a funny flavor. Cashews will blend up the creamiest. Hope that helps!

  14. Paige

    Delicious. I added some nutritional yeast, water instead of broth, and turkish red pepper flakes and parmesan on top…whoops!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      So glad you liked it! 🙂

  15. Jeannie M Hubbard

    Wish you had included nutritional information (sat.fat; cholesterol, sodium etc.)

  16. Giselle Jones

    This was very bland oh my lord. For some reason I can’t make the rating any less than 5 but it’s a 2 for me. It sucks that I can’t find any flavorful vegan recipes, everyone calls for salt and pepper & I’m not a white American.

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. Jenny Swain

    Hi! Can this recipe be made ahead?

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

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.