Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

For something completely out of the ordinary, try this easy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce! It's creamy, colorful and delicious.

If you use canned pumpkin, or use fresh pumpkin and cook it in advance, you can make this sauce in less time than it takes the pasta to cook.

pumpkin pasta sauce

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce over spaghetti is a perfect fall meal. You may want to add it to your list of easy Halloween recipes!

For a vegan meal, just replace the milk with a non-dairy milk.

If you cook your own pumpkin, use a smallish pumpkin (about the size of a soccer ball) rather than a large jack-o-lantern pumpkin. The smaller pumpkins have a sweeter, more flavorful taste.

This pumpkin pasta sauce recipe uses some ingredients which may not be familiar to you. (See "Tips" below for details.) You should be able to find all of these ingredients in a natural or whole foods store.

Check that you have these staples at home

  • in the cupboard

    • spaghetti
    • canned pumpkin
    • nutritional yeast flakes
    • dried parsley
    • salt
    • pepper
    • nutmeg

  • in the fridge or freezer

    • milk
    • tahini
    • miso
    • walnuts

Get out your equipment

  • Essential

    • a pasta pot or large saucepan
    • a pasta strainer
    • measuring cups and spoons
    • a food processor
    • a saucepan
    • a cutting board and sharp knife (for mincing the walnuts if they aren't pre-minced)

  • Nice to have but not necessary

    • a large bowl in which to toss the spaghetti with the sauce (If not, put the spaghetti in individual bowls and top each with a scoop of sauce.)

    The recipe

    pasta of your choice

    2 cups/500 mL cooked pumpkin

    1 1/2 cups/375 mL milk

    2 Tbsp/30 mL tahini

    1 Tbsp/15 mL miso

    1 Tbsp/15 mL nutritional yeast flakes

    1 tsp/5 mL dried parsley

    1/2 tsp/2 mL salt

    1/4 tsp/1 mL pepper

    1/4 tsp/1 mL nutmeg

    1/2 cup/125 mL minced walnuts (optional)

    Put the pasta on to cook.

    Meanwhile, put the pumpkin, milk, tahini, miso, nutritional yeast, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg into a food processor.

    Purée until smooth.

    Pour into a saucepan, and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

    Toss the hot sauce with the hot pasta.
    Put into serving bowls.
    Sprinkle each serving with walnuts.


    • Use fresh pumpkin instead of canned! See "Tips".

    • Use any variety of winter squash (canned or fresh) in place of the pumpkin.

    • Use a non-dairy milk substitute in place of the milk.

    • Use peanut butter in place of the tahini. It will have a very different, but tasty, flavor.

    Ideas for making this recipe your own

    • Hmm…. how about topping the pasta with something other than walnuts? Try another variety of nut - or how about sprinkling on some seeds? Toasted pumpkin seeds would be appropriate!


    • Here's how to cook a pumpkin:
      • Get out a pot that has a steamer basket. Put water on to boil.
      • Cut the pumpkin in half.
      • Scoop away the seeds and stringy bits.
      • Cut the pumpkin shell into wedges.
      • Using a sharp knife, peel the wedges.
      • Cut the wedges into chunks.
      • Put the chunks into the steamer basket and steam until the pumpkin is tender.
      • Mash the pumpkin with a potato masher - or put it in a food processor and purée.

      You could also bake the pumpkin: cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, put the pumpkin halves face down on an oiled baking sheet, and bake at 350F/180C until the pumpkin is tender (probably about an hour - but allow more time just in case!)

    • Miso is a thick paste made of barley, rice or soybeans. You can use any variety of miso in this recipe.

    • Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds.

    • Nutritional yeast is sometimes called "savory yeast". Don't confuse it with brewer's yeast, which is completely different.

    Menu suggestion

    Serve this dish with

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