Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
with Toasted Walnuts and Spinach

 This 20-minute Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Walnuts & Spinach is perfect for fall! This creamy pumpkin pasta with toasted walnuts and spinach dish is as flavorful as it is nutritious. Serve it for a fall dinner party or quick weeknight meal. 

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Overhead Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach in bowls with fork

I shared this creamy pumpkin pasta with a room full of people at my “all about pumpkin demo” a couple of weeks ago. Though they loved the smell of it, there were more than a few side-eyes in the room. No one had used pumpkin in pasta before and let’s just say they were skeptical but curious. Well. It was a hit!

Most people said they couldn’t taste the pumpkin. And that’s not surprising. Pumpkin doesn’t have a strong flavor. The flavors we associate with pumpkin usually come from the spices paired with it. There is one major exception. Fresh pumpkin can be incredible when it’s roasted until it’s caramelized and sweet.

This 20-minute Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Walnuts & Spinach is perfect for fall!Click to Tweet

That’s not what I’m using today. Maybe later. Today, I used leftover canned pumpkin to make a luscious, silky smooth pumpkin pasta sauce that’s full of nutrition. It’s got vitamin C, beta-carotene, and fiber which can help keep the immune system and your skin glowing as the weather starts to cool down.

You can use any pasta you’d like. For more protein and fiber but without changing the flavor of the dish too much, I suggest using chickpea pasta. I prefer it to whole wheat or some of the other “healthy” pasta options. If you’re living on the edge, boil some water and cook some old school, regular white pasta! I’m just being sarcastic. Use the pasta that works for you and your family. Just don’t overcook it.

Can you make a dairy-free pumpkin sauce?

Yes. I used a little half and half in this recipe because it adds a lovely texture and richness to the sauce. If you are avoiding dairy, try adding a bit more olive oil and broth instead of milk or cream. This substitution will also make the recipe more of a pantry meal. The parmesan is, of course, a nice savory, salty addition. You can leave it out for a vegan recipe. If you find that the recipe needs a little something else, add a little nutritional yeast to the sauce and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Walnuts and Spinach in bowls with two forks

How to make pumpkin pasta sauce

For the sauce: sauté fresh garlic in olive oil just until fragrant. Add the other ingredients and let it simmer. I found that this sauce tastes better the longer it simmers. It tastes even better the next day, so it’s the perfect pumpkin pasta sauce for meal prep! I stored it in a mason jar and used it throughout the week. It also freezes well on its own.

Once the pumpkin sauce is ready,  add a couple of large handfuls of baby spinach. Add in the pasta and heat the dish just until all are heated through and the spinach wilts.

Front view Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach in bowls with fork

Dish it up and top with roasted walnuts and grated Parmesan to make it pretty and to add extra flavor and texture. This pumpkin pasta dish would be an impressive vegetarian dish to serve at fall dinner parties but it’s also quick and easy enough for a fast weeknight meal. Kids and adults will both love it. It’s also a tasty way to use up any extra canned pumpkin you might have leftover. This recipe will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

Ways to use up leftover canned pumpkin

If you open up a new can of pumpkin for this recipe and need to use up the rest, here are a few tips for using up leftover pumpkin:

  1. Double this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe. I’m a huge fan of cooking (and cleaning) once and eating twice! You won’t regret having an extra batch of this sauce ready to go in a month.
  2. Make my easy homemade pumpkin spice granola!
  3. Stir extra pumpkin into oats or Greek yogurt.
  4. Feed the extra plain pumpkin to your dog. She will love it as is or mixed in with her regular food. My Biscuit loves it as a treat and it’s good for her digestion.

Try this nourishing recipe for yourself. Pin it for later and tag me on Instagram when you make it!

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Overhead Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach in bowls with fork
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Walnuts and Spinach

This 20-minute creamy pumpkin pasta with toasted walnuts and spinach dish is as flavorful and nutritious. Serve it for a fall dinner party or quick weeknight meal. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin pasta
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 388kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces shells or bowtie pasta
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (I used canned)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp half and half (Exclude for a vegan recipe.)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach, heaping
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • Parmesan cheese (Optional; Use crushed walnuts for a vegan recipe.)

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside but keep it warm.
  • While the pasta cooks, bring a large skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil and minced garlic. Cook just until fragrant. Whisk in the tomato paste, pumpkin, and half and half. Add the vegetable broth. Stir and let cook on low about 5 minutes.
  • Add the spinach. Cook until it lightly wilts.
  • Stir in pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts and Parmesan, if desired and serve. 

Notes

Tips for making pumpkin pasta sauce:
  • Adjust the salt based on the broth you use. For example, if you are using a lower sodium broth, add salt to suit your taste!
  • Store the pasta sauce in a mason jar for a few days. It tastes better the day after you make it!
  • Reheat the pumpkin sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Add warm broth to help thin it out if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 388kcal

Pumpkin Pasta with Toasted Walnuts and Spinach

20 Comments on Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
with Toasted Walnuts and Spinach

  1. Kelly Anthony
    September 25, 2018 at 9:09 AM (1 year ago)
    I've never tried pumpkin in pasta either but it looks so good. I have some leftover pumpkin in my fridge and I'm going to give this a try today. Thanks for sharing.

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 9:51 AM (1 year ago)
      I tried it for the first time last year and I've been hooked ever since. Hope you fall in love with it too! Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 9:50 AM (1 year ago)
      Yes. It's the best and ready in abot 20 minutes so there's also that! Reply
  2. Whitney
    September 25, 2018 at 9:34 AM (1 year ago)
    Oh my goodness, two of my favorite things in one! Love this idea!

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 9:49 AM (1 year ago)
      haha! There's no way it could go wrong, right? Reply
  3. Bethany | A Simple Palate
    September 25, 2018 at 9:42 AM (1 year ago)
    oh my goodness- pumpkin pasta! Looks and sounds absolutely delicious and perfect for fall!

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 9:48 AM (1 year ago)
      Bethany, It's so delicious! I've been loving it over the last couple weeks! Reply
  4. Eden | Sweet Tea and Thyme
    September 25, 2018 at 9:56 AM (1 year ago)
    This just screams fall and I just love all the different flavors you've put into it, Marisa!

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 10:05 AM (1 year ago)
      Thanks, Eden! I'm loving it for fall too! Reply
  5. Courtney
    September 25, 2018 at 10:21 AM (1 year ago)
    Love this recipe, and that its on the table in 20 minutes!

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 10:36 AM (1 year ago)
      Courtney, That might be the best part! So tasty! Reply
  6. Heidy L. McCallum
    September 25, 2018 at 10:51 AM (1 year ago)
    I have to say this recipe for Pumpkin Pasta is one of the best ones I have seen to date-- a MUST try ASAP!

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      September 25, 2018 at 10:55 AM (1 year ago)
      Thanks, Heidy! I hope you get to try it. It's SO delicious and EASY! Reply
  7. Simone Gould
    November 15, 2018 at 8:18 AM (11 months ago)
    I have been craving one of my favorite Fall restaurant entrees -- pumpkin ravioli with creamy walnut sauce -- it is very decadent but calorie laden. This looks like a delicious alternative. Will plan to try this out. Reply
    • Marisa
      November 15, 2018 at 8:46 AM (11 months ago)
      Love pumpkin ravioli. This is not nearly as decadent but still really good! Reply
  8. Phyllis
    November 18, 2018 at 1:24 PM (11 months ago)
    Wow! Not only was this dish easy and quick to make--always a plus after a long day at work-- it is delicious, filling and good for you. I didn't have any spinach so I chopped some turnip greens, and their peppery taste was a nice contrast with the sweeter pumpkin. Like so many others, I'm getting away from meat and this dish is a hit. Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm glad I found you!

    5 stars

    Reply
    • Marisa
      November 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM (11 months ago)
      Those turnip greens sound good! A nice contrast to the pumpkin. And I’m so glad you like the recipe and that you found me too! Reply
  9. Megan
    January 15, 2019 at 11:44 AM (9 months ago)
    Pumpkin pasta? Yes, Please. Reply

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