Pasta + Pumpkin Sauce in 3 Ways (Vegan, Gluten-Free) plus how to use up any gourd you find!

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon

Happy Fall + October!

Have you made Happy Herbivore Pumpkin Bread yet???? Get on that ;)

I always have random amounts of leftover pumpkin puree this time of year from baking all the pumpkin things and making vegan PSL at home (WHY is Starbucks still not offering a vegan one???) 

SO I've been using my leftover pumpkin and squash puree--more on that in a second---to make healthy sauces for pasta (or spaghetti squash, or grains, or whatever).

I've included two of my favorite pumpkin sauce recipes below plus the third one will be on the Reducetarian's blog on Monday (October 14).

If you're not feeling saucy, here are 11 other vegan uses for leftover canned pumpkin.


This time of year I'll buy any gourd that looks pretty (and isn't labeled as "ornamental", though I suppose one day I'll eventually become curious enough and try to eat one of those...)

MOST OF THE TIME the new squash is delicious "naked" when baked but sometimes they come out horribly bland. When that happens, I mash the squash into a puree and use it as I would the leftover canned pumpkin in these recipes. If you pressure cook or microwave your squash and the texture is off-putting (rubbery) or it's too wet/watery (or bland) mashing into a puree is a great "recycle" option over the trash bin. 


I also sometimes make "dumpster" oat cookies with the squash: Add a mashed ripe banana (or peanut butter) and oats until it holds together. Make cookie shapes and bake at 350F until firm.


Here are two of my favorite pumpkin sauce recipes. The third one will be on the Reducetarian's blog. You could also make these with mashed up carrots, sweet potato, or butternut squash. They'll be sweeter-tasting that way which could be good if you have kiddos. 

I recently made the Thai Red Curry Sauce with a red kuri squash and it was so rich and velvety!!! DROOOOOL. It was hilarious trying to say the name "Red Kuri Red Curry" to our dinner guests.

*I find these sauces are enough for 4-oz pasta (that's a dry measurement) but how "saucy" you like your pasta might be different :) 

Table of Sauces Shared here:

  1. Pumpkin Cheese Sauce
    (from Happy Herbivore Gets Saucy)
  2. Creamy Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce
  3. Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Sauce 

Pumpkin "Cheese" Sauce 

1/2 cup soy or almond milk 
1/4 to 1/3 cup pumpkin (or squash puree)
2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
1 tbsp tomato paste (or 2 tbsp ketchup)
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder 

In a saucepan, whisk together all ingredients. Heat over low, stirring, until warm and thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. 

*Use cornstarch for a thicker and spreadable cheese sauce. If you decide after the fact you want to thicken the sauce, whisk cornstarch into 1 tbsp warm water and then mix into sauce. 

This is from Happy Herbivore Gets Saucy: 191 oil-free vegan sauce recipes and vegan oil-free salad dressings. There's a picture and meal idea for every recipe... get Saucy with me ;)

Creamy Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce 

4-oz pasta or noodles
3/4 cup coconut milk (or almond milk, or vegetable broth) 
3/4 cup pumpkin (or squash puree)
1-2 tbsp minced fresh sage (about 6-7 leaves)
pinch dried oregano
1-2 tbsp tomato paste (or 1/4 cup ketchup)
cashews or pumpkin seeds (optional)
pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (optional)

Prepare noodles or pasta as directed. For the rest of the directions, visit Reducetarian's blog! (The recipe will be posted October 14, 2019).

In a saucepan, whisk together all ingredients. Heat over low until warm, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Rest sauce for 10 minutes then stir together with cooked pasta. Garnish with breadcrumbs, chopped sage, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, if desired. 

For a richer sauce, blend in soaked cashews or shelled pumpkin seeds (2-4 tbsp). You can also add a few dashes of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (1/8 tsp or less) to evoke a hint of "pumpkin pie" flavoring. 

Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Sauce 

1 cup pumpkin (or squash puree)

1-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste 

1/4 lime (juice and zest)

coconut aminos (or soy sauce)

vegetable broth (or coconut milk) 

In a blender, combine pumpkin with 1 tbsp red curry paste, lime juice, and a pinch of lime zest. Puree into a creamy sauce, adding broth or coconut milk as needed for consistency (think: Alfredo sauce). Stir in a light drizzle of coconut aminos or soy sauce (if desired) plus more curry paste or lime to taste. Heat until warm on the stove then stir in cooked pasta until lightly coated. 

Subscribe to the blog!

Or go grab our RSS feed!