Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
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 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 to 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 isn’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. I don’t recommend using boxed varieties of coconut milk, especially if they’re labeled “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.
If you’re looking for meatless sauce options, you’ll love this creamy tomato pasta sauce recipe and this pesto rosso recipe too!
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.
Serve along with these easy crockpot turkey meatballs or these 5-ingredient free meatballs for added protein.
Add a simple side salad, we love this pasta dish paired with our harvest fall salad, roasted butternut squash salad or mixed greens with apple cider vinaigrette on top.
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…
Dairy FreeGluten FreeNut FreePaleoVeganVegetarianWhole30
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
Instant Pot Turkey Paleo Pumpkin Chili
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup with Canned Pumpkin
More Sweet Pumpkin Recipes
One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies
pin and save this recipe for later!
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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This was the BEST sauce I have ever come across, THANK YOU! My husband and I were all but eating I like soup! So soooo good! 🙂
Kelsey, I’m thrilled to hear you and your husband enjoyed the recipe! I hope you continue to enjoy. 🙂
I made this on Halloween and we LOVED it! Now I’m trying to decide what to do with the leftover sauce sans pasta. Any ideas?
Shanna, yay, I’m so glad you liked it! You could add some chicken or veggie stock, a little more salt and another splash of coconut milk to make Tuscan Pumpkin Soup. Or, if you eat meat you could grill some chicken and serve with the sauce. Or, you could freeze for another night when you want to eat the pasta again.
Hi – I’ve been dairy free for one week now in an experiment for my son who is breastfeeding. I just made this with pantry staples, using dried herbs, and it is delicious!! I am so thankful for your site – I will be trying many of your recipes in the coming weeks – I love that I don’t have to figure out how to make substitutions. I’ve never had to live with diet restrictions, so this is all new to me and your site is going to make it much easier! Thank you! – Sarah
Sarah, thank you for your note! I had to go dairy-free while breastfeeding my daughter and I remember having no idea what I was going to eat! So happy you’re enjoying the recipes and it’s making the process simpler for you. Best of luck in your journey! xxoo
The whole time I was making this (I put it over zoodles) I was wondering how in the world I was going to sell it to the family. I didn’t have to, it came together nicely and tasted fabulous! This is definitely a keeper! Thank you.
Sharyn, love hearing this! Always nice when you can find a recipe that works for everyone! 🙂
Hi Robyn ☺
Thank you for this most delicious unique fall feeling sauce! I had last minute company over and was wanting something fall like because this season is here and you can’t help but love it, so I looked up pumpkin pasta sauces and yours caught my eye!
Same values as us, I cook whole clean eating food. My in laws were nervous as they usually are when I try something new (they tend to be the guinea pigs lol)
I received thumbs up and wow this is delicious! reviews from everyone down to my 4yr old!
Thanks for helping me make happy guests and a happy family! This is an awesome delicious easy to follow sauce! Thank you!
Nicole, thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you and your family enjoyed this recipe! My family is also used to being the guinea pigs when it comes to new recipes. 🙂 So glad you all enjoyed! 🙂
What does Tuscan have to do with it?
It’s the name of the store-bought sauce it’s inspired by.
I just made this sauce. It’s still on the stove. Delicious. In September I was diagnosed with high cholesterol. Without meds and staying dairy free and red meat I have it now to a good level. I’m searching always for vegetable recipes for my cooking as the more vegetables and fruits eaten the better. Pasta is not often eaten but I am now using whole grain plus ancient grain pasta. Only a fistful with this wonderful sauce. Thank you so much. It’s delicious
Joan, congratulations on your improved health. I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying this recipe!
I was trying to find uses for some leftover pureed squash, and found this! It works lovely with butternut squash as well- My whole household of college grads were into it!
This is the first time a recipe has turned out so well that I felt the desire to comment, so thank you!
Briar, that’s fantastic! So happy to hear this was a hit with you and your housemate. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!