Change up your usual pasta routine with this flavorful 30-minute vegan pumpkin marinara sauce made with pantry ingredients. It may seem like an unusual combination, but the sweet and creamy pumpkin puree balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Along with Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes, it's a celebration of seasonal flavors.
While you may immediately think of Starbuck's pumpkin spice lattes and Thanksgiving pie when you think about pumpkin, it's also delicious in savory recipes. Take Pumpkin Chili for example. The pureed winter squash not only provides subtle flavor, but also a creamy texture.
And the same is true in this simple pumpkin tomato sauce. So the next time you see canned pumpkin at the market, pick up an extra can or two to make this pasta dish that's sure to be a family favorite.
Why you'll love this recipe
- You can make it with pantry ingredients in 30 minutes or less.
- You can use any of your favorite pasta shapes.
- It's a unique and tasty way to use seasonal pumpkin in a savory sauce.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Pasta: Any shape of pasta can be used in this recipe. I chose gluten-free spaghetti, but short pasta such as penne will work well, too.
Italian seasoning: If you don't have this blend on hand, use oregano, basil, or a mixture of the two.
Be sure to purchase pumpkin puree rather than pumpkin pie filling.
- Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil.
- Add the tomatoes, pumpkin, and spices.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and heated through.
- Toss with cooked pasta.
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- Add extra vegetables like diced carrots or red bell pepper.
- Add beans or lentils.
- Serve it with chickpea, lentil, or whole-wheat pasta.
- Use the sauce in lasagna or as a pizza sauce.
- Sprinkle vegan Parmesan on top.
- Swap out the parsley for other fresh herbs like sage, thyme, or rosemary.
Try this dish with a salad or vegetable side dish like the following:
Storing and freezing
Leftover pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. The sauce may also be stored separately in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure to allow a little room at the top since it will expand a little when frozen.
To reheat, first defrost the frozen container in the refrigerator overnight. Then reheat the sauce it in a pot on the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl.
For tips on freezing, refer to USDA Freezing and Food Safety.
Pumpkin puree is 100% cooked pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling also contains spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It is used for making desserts.
You can make your own puree from roasted winter squash such as butternut or acorn squash.
Yes, you can use diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes. Use the back of your spoon to break down the diced tomatoes as they cook. You may need to simmer the sauce a little longer since diced tomatoes aren't as thick.
More easy pasta recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Easy Pumpkin Marinara Pasta Sauce
- 12-16 ounces pasta, (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree, (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, (or to taste)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until soft and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute about 30 more seconds, or until fragrant.
- Next add the tomatoes, pumpkin puree, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper.
- Stir to combine and allow to come up to a low boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and heated through.
- Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Toss with the cooked pasta and garnish with fresh parsley, if using.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
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