Easy and delicious, creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce is quick to make with simple, healthy pantry ingredients including canned pumpkin, tomato sauce, and a dash of cinnamon.
About this Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
To tell you the truth, I never thought about adding pumpkin to pasta sauce, but since I’ve shared so many delicious savory pumpkin recipes on here over the years (Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup, Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup with Canned Pumpkin, and Instant Pot Creamy Pumpkin Soup to name a few), I thought I’d give it a shot.
I was originally inspired to make a homemade version of pumpkin pasta sauce when when I tried Trader Joe’s Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce.
The Trader Joe’s pumpkin pasta sauce is made with both butternut squash and pumpkin, as well as heavy cream, so I wanted create a version that streamlined the prep process (hello canned pumpkin!), and also replaced the cream for a deliciously dairy-free, vegan, and Whole30 version of the popular sauce.
This sauce was also inspired by Cucina Antica Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce.
I took inspiration from the warming, autumnal spices of cinnamon, sage, and rosemary for this version, but again replaced the cream to make it dairy-free and vegan,
The final result ins’t quite as bright orange as the store-bought version but it still has a warm, pumpkiny undertone.
This sauce also doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of pumpkin, as it’s balanced out by the tomato sauce and coconut cream.
The pumpkin basically adds a richness to the sauce plus it adds a hefty serving of veggies to your pasta dinner. Love that!
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce Ingredients
In recreating the sauce I tried to keep the ingredient list short so it would be feasible to make on a regular basis.
To replace the cream I used full-fat coconut milk, which I know sounds strange but trust me, it really works.
The coconut flavor is virtually undetectable, so it should work even for people who don’t love the taste of coconut.
I also added a tiny pinch of cinnamon, as it was included in the store bought version, but you can skip it if you like.
Fresh rosemary and sage really add a lot of flavor to this dish.
If your budget allows I’d recommend both, but just rosemary or just sage would also work.
I haven’t tried it with dried herbs, so if you do and it works well let us know in the comments.
The final result is a sauce that’s rich, creamy, and completely comforting.
ingredient modifications & swaps
olive oil: any neutral flavored oil will work in this recipe, omit it entirely for an oil-free option.
white onion: if you don’t like or can’t eat onion, feel free to leave it out.
kosher salt: look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
canned pumpkin puree: 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree can be used in place of 1 can of pumpkin puree.
tomato sauce: look for no-sugar added for Whole30. Jarred marinara spaghetti sauce can also be used.
honey: maple syrup can be used for a vegan option. The sweetener adds a nice balance to the earthiness of the pumpkin, but you can omit it to keep this recipe free of added sugar & whole30 friendly.
coconut milk: use canned, unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk for the most creamy results. Heavy cream, half-and-half, or cream cheese can also be used.
Tip: I don’t recommend using boxed varieties of coconut milk, especially if they’re labelled “coconut beverage”. This will be a much more watered down consistency and won’t give you the creamy results you need for a thick pasta sauce.
Serving Suggestions for this Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
Serve this pumpkin pasta sauce over any type of pasta you like, or as a sauce for chicken or fish.
Enjoy it for lunch or freeze for another night.
Lightly sauce the pasta and then top with parmesan cheese.
Storing and Freezing Leftover Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
It makes a lot so you will probably end up with leftovers.
This sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container
It also freezes well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.
this recipe is…
I hope you’ll make this healthy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce recipe soon.
If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!
More Savory Pumpkin Recipes
More Sweet Pumpkin Recipes
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Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 ½ teaspoons salt divided
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced or grated
- 2 15- oz cans pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 15- oz can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey omit for Vegan and Whole30
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk from a can, not coconut beverage
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
Optional Serving Suggestions
- 16 oz pasta of choice
- If serving with pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the onion, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, and sauté until the onions are soft and very tender, about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring to avoid burning. Add the pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, honey (if using), 3 teaspoons salt, and water, stirring to combine. Stir on medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble (be careful, the sauce will be thick and might splatter). Turn the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the coconut milk, cinnamon, rosemary, and sage, stirring to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- If serving with pasta, toss the cooked pasta with 2-3 cups of the sauce. Serve warm with additional sauce if desired.
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