Get a taste of fall comfort with this pumpkin pasta sauce that you can get on the table in under 30 minutes. It is super easy to make with canned pumpkin and bursting with cozy, warm flavors.
Every year, I wholeheartedly embrace pumpkin season with open arms! If you're in the same boat, this pumpkin pasta sauce will likely become a recurring favorite—maybe even beyond fall since canned pumpkin is available year round.
It's simple, scrumptious, an excellent nutritional boost, and incredibly versatile. While this creamy pumpkin sauce pairs perfectly with pasta, you can also enjoy it as a veggie dip, sandwich spread, or even as a pizza sauce!
And if you've got a pantry full of canned pumpkin, here are our favorite healthy pumpkin puree recipes. I told you I heart pumpkin season :).
I am highlighting just the ones that need further explanation. The complete list is in the recipe card below.
- Pumpkin - you can make your own pumpkin puree or use store-bought canned pumpkin. Make sure it's not pumpkin pie filling.
- Pasta - if you want the sauce to really cling to the pasta, I highly recommend going for ruffled or ridged shapes, like fusili, rotini, cavatappi, and penne. But you can use any shape and type of pasta, including gluten-free pasta.
- White beans - adds creaminess and a boost of protein and iron for babies. you can use either great northern or cannellini beans.
- Milk - can use dairy or dairy-free milk like almond milk. Full-fat coconut milk will add incredible flavor like in this carrot pasta sauce.
- Sage and nutmeg - these are a must! They truly elevate the flavor of the dish and gives it a cozy fall taste. Free sage is preferred but dried sage works too.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Be sure to reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining and use it to thin out the sauce, if needed. Set aside.
- In the meanwhile, melt unsalted butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sage and cook for an additional minute or so.
- Transfer to a high-speed blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce into the same pot you cooked the pasta in. Cook over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add some reserved pasta water if it gets too thick.
- Add pasta and toss. Top with additional parmesan cheese and enjoy immediately!
Tips for Success
- Adjust to taste - first try the recipe as is and feel free to add more sage, nutmeg, or parmesan cheese as needed.
- Be sure to save some pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. This starchy water really helps the sauce stick to the noodles as well as adds silkiness to the dish.
Enjoy this creamy pumpkin pasta with some cheese, and fresh herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary, or basil, which will really help brighten up the dish.
Stir in some yogurt or ricotta if you desire extra creaminess and toasted nuts or seeds for some crunch.
If you'd like, you can enjoy the dish with an additional protein source, such as:
BUT this creamy sauce isn't just for pasta. Try serving with:
And if you're struggling to get your child to eat mixed foods (very common!) try serving the pasta and sauce separately. Here are some Toddler dinner ideas and serving suggestions.
Is your toddler becoming picky?
Arm yourself with these strategies that will transform your mealtimes!
Using a powerful blender makes ALL the difference when making smooth sauces.
You can also use a food processor to make this sauce, although won't be as smooth. I mainly got it to make a ton of different energy balls, like these easy bliss balls, peanut butter balls and apricot balls. But I'm finding more uses for it like when I want to make a more chunkier, textured sauce, like pesto.
While you can refrigerate leftovers once the pasta is tossed in the sauce, it tastes best with fresh cooked pasta.
So I strongly recommend combining enough pasta and sauce for one meal and reserving the rest of the sauce to enjoy in various ways throughout the week, as suggested above.
Store leftover sauce in an airtight container or jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
They freeze really well too. I personally like to freeze in individual portions. This freezer tray is really great! Once frozen, you can pop the molded sauce out and transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
You can also add individual cubes straight from the freezer and mix with freshly cooked pasta to help cool it down faster.
More Pasta Sauces
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- 8 ounce pasta of choice
- ½ cup pasta water
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 15 ounce canned pumpkin
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1 cup white beans (165g)
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- Fresh sage
- Parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese
- A dollop of yogurt or ricotta cheese for extra creaminess
- Chopped walnuts or pecans or pumpkin seeds
- Melt butter in skillet and saute onion for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sage and cook for another minute.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Transfer the vegetables to a high-speed blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Add the drained pasta back into the pan and toss with sauce. thin out as needed.
- Top with more sage, parmesan cheese, and nuts or seeds if desired