Creamy Pumpkin Vodka Sauce | Dairy-Free + Vegan

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeVVegan

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This Vegan Pumpkin Vodka Sauce is a cozy fall twist on the classic tomato & cream sauce. Pumpkin puree and autumn spices add hearty flavor. 

This Creamy Pumpkin Vodka Sauce is a fall twist on the classic spiked pink sauce! Just like your standard vodka sauce, this recipe is made with tomatoes, a rich cream sauce, and vodka, but has the addition of pumpkin puree and herby fall spices for a fun, autumn-inspired pasta! 😊

pumpkin vodka sauce with pasta in small white bowl with fork

CREAMY VODKA SAUCE…WITH A FALL TWIST!

If you’ve never had vodka sauce before, it’s kind of like a cross between tomato sauce and alfredo sauce. It combines the best of both worlds for a smooth and creamy pink sauce that’s rich and tangy, with a kick of boozy spice thanks to vodka! Classic vodka sauce isn’t typically vegan because it uses heavy cream, but we’ll be making this vegan vodka sauce by using cashews and dairy-free parmesan cheese instead.

The debate isn’t settled on whether or not the origins of vodka sauce are purely Italian or Italian-American, but it is certain that this creamy spiked sauce has become a staple in American and Italian culture (especially for date nights!). This seasonal take on the classic recipe swaps the tomatoes for creamy pumpkin puree – but still keeps some tomato paste for umami flavor. We’ll also add in some herby fall spices like fresh sage, rosemary, and nutmeg for a sauce that takes cozy to a whole new level. 

WHAT YOU NEED FOR CREAMY PUMPKIN VODKA SAUCE

ingredients for pumpkin vodka sauce on kitchen countertop

This wholesome pumpkin pasta sauce recipe is made from simple, seasonal autumn ingredients that are pantry-friendly and budget-friendly. Any pasta of your choice can be paired with this hearty combination of tomato paste, pumpkin puree, cashews, dairy-free parmesan, garlic, shallot, rosemary, sage, red pepper, nutmeg, olive oil, and of course, vodka! 

Homemade sauce always tastes 1000x better than store-bought sauce, plus it’s much cheaper to make. And the best part about making your own is being able to customize the flavor and create fun variations like this pumpkin vodka sauce! That being said, feel free to adjust the herbs in this recipe to your liking; the nutmeg and red pepper flakes are both optional. You can also easily make this recipe gluten-free by using any of your favorite gluten-free pasta.

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY PUMPKIN VODKA SAUCE

side-by-side photos of sauteed shallots and tomato pasta next to pumpkin sauce before blending

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. 
  2. Sauté shallot, garlic, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg in olive oil. Add tomato paste and “mash” into mixture. Sauté until darkened. 
  3. Deglaze pan with the vodka, sauté, then add pumpkin puree, salt, and water and mix well. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. 
  4. Transfer sauce to a blender, add cashews, and blend until smooth.
  5. Return sauce to pan over low heat, add cooked pasta and parmesan, and stir until cheese is melted. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy

side-by-side photos of sauce before blending and after blending being mixed with pasta

CAITLIN’S COOKING TIPS

  • Don’t stress about chopping: There’s no need to have everything super finely chopped because all of the ingredients will end up getting blended anyways! 
  • Brown the tomato paste: This is a key step for the best umami flavor! Trust me on this one, it only takes a few extra minutes and it will make all the difference in the taste.
  • Use your favorite pasta: I like to use shapes like rotini or fusilli because their curly nooks and crannies act like sweet little pockets for lots of sauce! You can’t go wrong with any pasta shape though, so use whatever you like best. 

close-up photo of pasta topped with pumpkin vodka sauce on wooden spoon

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

This hearty autumn pasta is filling on its own, but you can add some extra protein with juicy chunks of herby rosemary garlic tofu, or serve it alongside a refreshing cool-weather salad. Enjoy it as a cozy meal alone, with friends and family, or on a date night to impress! 

Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. For the best taste, reheat on the stovetop with a splash of water adjusted to your desired creaminess. 

If you’re looking for more extra cozy recipes to enjoy this fall and winter, you’ll love this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, this Vegan Chickpea Pot Pie, and this Cozy Vegan Pumpkin Chili!

FAQ:

  • Can I make the sauce in advance? Yes! You can make the pumpkin vodka sauce up to 3 days in advance. Simply warm it over the stove and toss in the cooked pasta when you’re ready to serve!
  • Can vodka sauce get you drunk? No, when alcohol is cooked it begins to evaporate and eventually cook off entirely. However, it is still not suitable for any allergies. 
  • Can I make this with homemade pumpkin puree? Sure! See my recipe here, or check out my favorite brands of store-bought pumpkin puree!

pumpkin vodka sauce with pasta in large pan

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

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Vegan Pumpkin Vodka Sauce

This Vegan Pumpkin Vodka Sauce is a cozy fall twist on the classic tomato & cream sauce. Pumpkin puree and autumn spices in a creamy pink sauce! Gluten-Free Option.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 8 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound (450 g) pasta of choice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 35 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vodka
  • 1 16 ounce (450 g) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) raw cashews, soaked*
  • 1/2 cup (25 g) vegan parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Cook the Pasta: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Aromatics: in the meantime, warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté for 3 minutes, then add the garlic, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then use a spatula to “mash” the tomato paste into the mixture. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste has darkened in color.
  3. Deglaze: deglaze the aromatics with vodka, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add in the pumpkin puree, salt, and water. Mix well, until a uniform sauce forms.
  4. Simmer: bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent anything from sticking. You may need to gradually reduce the heat to medium low while simmering to prevent the sauce from splattering.
  5. Blend: carefully transfer the vodka sauce to a high-speed blender with a loose-fitting lid and add in the cashews. Blend on high for 30 to 45 seconds, until a smooth sauce forms.
  6. Combine: Return the sauce to the large sauté pan over low heat and add in the al dente pasta and parmesan. Stir until the dairy-free cheese has melted and the pasta is evenly coated in sauce. Season with additional salt or pepper to taste – if the sauce is too thick, you can loosen it up with some water as well.
  7. Serve & Store: serve warm, topped as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and are best reheated on the stovetop with a splash of water.

Notes

  • Gluten-Free: use gluten-free pasta instead of wheat pasta

Keywords: vegan pumpkin pasta, pumpkin vodka sauce

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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