Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta
This easy pumpkin Alfredo pasta recipe transforms pumpkin puree and a handful of simple pantry ingredients into an indulgent restaurant-style dinner. Rich, creamy, and perfect for a weeknight!
Whether it’s miso butter pasta or vegan spaghetti and meatballs, pasta dinners are one of my go-to meals for busy weeknights. And when the weather gets chilly, this pumpkin Alfredo pasta is on heavy rotation in my meal plans!
Pumpkin doesn’t have a very strong flavour on its own, which means it can go either sweet (ahem: vegan pumpkin pie) or savoury. Pairing it with vegan cheese, garlic, and herbs lets you enjoy its savoury side—and its natural creaminess.
Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta Recipe
- Rich, smooth sauce. The pumpkin Alfredo sauce is luxuriously creamy, but there’s no dairy involved! Whisking the pumpkin puree with vegan heavy cream gives you the richness of traditional Alfredo, without the heaviness.
- Comfort food, elevated. Think of this recipe as macaroni and cheese for adults. (Although kids will definitely love this recipe too!) It has the same pasta-and-creamy-sauce appeal as mac and cheese, but it feels like something you’d order at a fancy restaurant.
- Easy enough for a weeknight. In just 25 minutes (and only 5 minutes of prep time!), you can have dinner on the table. No jarred pasta sauce needed!
- Make it your own. This is a recipe that you can tweak and put your own spin on. I share some of my favourite ideas a little later in this post, or you can come up with your own.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Pasta – Fettuccine or another wide noodle is the classic choice for Alfredo, but another pasta that does a good job “holding” sauce like shells will work too.
- Vegan butter – You can use either store-bought or homemade vegan butter.
- Vegan heavy cream – I used Silk heavy whipping cream, but you can also use homemade vegan heavy cream. A thick vegan milk, such as soy milk or cashew milk, will also work.
- Pumpkin puree
- Fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- Herbs – You can use fresh or dried sage or thyme.
- Nutmeg – Freshly grated is truly special, but a jar of ground nutmeg is fine too.
- Vegan Parmesan cheese – Homemade vegan Parmesan cheese or your favourite store-bought brand.
- Reserved pasta water
What Should I Do If I Forget to Reserve the Pasta Water?
Don’t just substitute plain water! Pasta water is starchy, so it helps thicken the sauce. If you forget to reserve it, you can whisk together 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 cup of hot water, then use that as directed in the recipe.
How to Make Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta
- Cook the pasta. Boil the pasta in salted water until it’s al dente, according to the instructions on the box. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the cooking water.
- Sauté the garlic. Melt the vegan butter in a pan set over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook just until it’s fragrant.
- Add the cream and pumpkin. Slowly pour in the vegan heavy cream, whisking it into the butter and garlic. Then, whisk in the pumpkin until the sauce is smooth.
- Season. Stir in the sea salt, ground black pepper, sage or thyme, and nutmeg.
- Add the pasta and water. Stir in the reserved pasta water, then add the cooked pasta and toss it with the sauce.
- Finish. Turn the heat off and let the pasta sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve your pumpkin Alfredo pasta with additional vegan Parmesan.
Tips for Success
- Brown the vegan butter. If you use my homemade vegan butter or Miyoko’s vegan butter it actually browns, so you can enjoy browned butter pumpkin pasta! To do this, brown the vegan butter alone for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook it for an additional 2-3 minutes. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.
- Add the pasta water as needed. The amount you need will vary based on the temperature of the pan and your desired sauce consistency. Start with a smaller amount, then add more if you need it. If you end up adding too much, turn up the heat a bit to cook it off.
- Drain homemade pumpkin puree. I love homemade pumpkin puree, but it’s a bit thinner than the kind that comes in a can. If you want to use your own puree in this pumpkin Alfredo recipe, place it in a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth or paper towels and let the excess liquid drain off for at least 30 minutes.
- Swap out the pumpkin. Canned butternut squash puree (or homemade squash puree) will work in place of the pumpkin. In fact, you probably won’t even notice the difference since their taste is so similar!
- Add vegan bacon. The smoky flavour of vegan bacon is a delicious addition to this pumpkin Alfredo pasta. Garnish each serving with crumbled tempeh bacon or coconut bacon.
- Stir in some greens. Add handfuls of baby spinach or wilted kale to the pasta just before removing it from the heat. You can also garnish the pasta with crumbled kale chips.
To add some protein to your pasta dinner, serve your pumpkin Alfredo pasta with vegan chicken or marinated tofu on the side. For a lighter option, pair it with maple roasted Brussels sprouts or a fall-inspired salad like my kale apple and chickpea salad.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover pumpkin Alfredo pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat with a splash of vegetable broth or vegan milk to loosen it up, or warm it in the microwave.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
You can freeze this creamy pumpkin pasta for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat it according to the instructions above.
More Vegan Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Creamy Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
- Vegan Pumpkin Chili
Enjoy friends! If you make this pumpkin Alfredo pasta, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta
- 16 ounces pasta, such as fettuccine pasta or any other pasta
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter*, store-bought or homemade
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ¼ cups vegan heavy cream, I used Silk heavy whipping cream or a thick vegan milk such as soy milk or cashew milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried sage, or 1 tablespoon crumbled/chopped fresh sage or thyme
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or pre-ground but freshly grated tastes the best here
- ¾ cup vegan Parmesan cheese, I used my own recipe here but you can also use storebought vegan Parmesan cheese, either works!
- ¾ cup to 1 cup reserved pasta water, start with ¾ cup in sauce
- Prepare pasta as per instructions on the box in a large pot of well salted water until al dente. Drain pasta (reserving 1 cup of pasta water) and set aside until needed.
- In a pan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Add in the minced garlic, stirring together until garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. You don’t want the heat too high since you don’t want the garlic to burn.
- Begin to slowly pour the heavy cream, whisk slowly to combine with the butter and garlic. Add in your pumpkin and whisk thoroughly too until pumpkin is smoothly incorporated into the sauce.
- Add in your sea salt, ground black pepper, sage/thyme and your nutmeg. Stir vigorously to combine.
- Add in your reserved pasta water, stirring to combine. Then add in al dente pasta and the reserved pasta, tossing it together with the sauce until pasta is thoroughly coated with sauce. Turn heat off and allow the pasta to simmer in the sauce, stirring occasionally, for an extra 3-5 more minutes. Taste and extra add pasta water, sea salt and vegan Parmesan if needed. Feel free to stir in some more vegan heavy cream too.
- Serve with additional vegan Parmesan on top and some crispy sage (see notes) if desired. Enjoy!
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