Today, we're going to show you how to make a vegan creamy roasted butternut squash pasta sauce that is both gluten-free and absolutely delicious. Trust us - once you try this butternut squash sauce recipe, you'll never return to plain old spaghetti again!
We love butternut squash, it is widely used in Argentinean cuisine, and while living in Mexico for years, it was challenging to get our hands around a nice baby butternut squash.
Thankfully that's not the case here in Italy, so we have been able to enjoy making many of our staple butternut squash recipes and enjoy its slightly sweet flavor in dishes varying from simple soups and roasted butternut squash to fill ravioli or making butternut squash risotto.
This creamy butternut squash pasta is perfect for a chilly fall day, or you can also enjoy it during summertime in its cold pasta salad version. Plus, it's vegan and gluten-free, so that everyone can enjoy it!
To make this vegan butternut squash macaroni and cheese, you need a couple of vegan kitchen staples plus veggies.
- Butternut Squash: This vibrant veggie is the heart of the sauce, offering a creamy texture and a natural sweetness. Plus, it's packed with vitamins A and C, making your pasta not just tasty but also nutritious.
- Garlic: A flavor powerhouse that adds a zesty kick to the sauce. It's also known for its antioxidant properties, so you're doing your body a favor with every bite.
- Fresh Thyme: This herb elevates the dish with its earthy and slightly minty notes. It's a classic pairing with squash and brings a touch of sophistication to the table.
- Vegan Butter: Adds that rich, buttery flavor we all crave, but without the dairy. It also helps in blending the sauce to a silky-smooth consistency.
- Leek: Provides a subtle onion-like flavor without overpowering the dish. Leeks are also a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.
- Raw Cashews: These nuts are the secret to the sauce's luxurious creaminess. They're also a great source of healthy fats and protein.
- Nutritional Yeast: The vegan's answer to Parmesan, it gives the sauce a cheesy, umami flavor. Plus, it's fortified with B-vitamins, so it's a win-win!
- Lemon Juice: Adds a touch of brightness to balance out the richness of the sauce. It also helps in absorbing the iron from the green peas.
- Bow Tie Pasta: Its unique shape holds onto the sauce well, making every bite a flavor bomb. Plus, it's just fun to eat, and who doesn't love that?
- Frozen Green Peas: These little green gems add color and a pop of sweetness. They're also a good source of fiber and protein.
- Optional: Nutmeg: A pinch can add a warm, nutty aroma that complements the squash and spices up the dish. It's your secret weapon for that extra oomph!
See the recipe card for quantities.
Roast the butternut squash dice with garlic cloves on parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven.
Make a delicious snack with the seeds.
Smash the roasted squash, and reserve the puréed squash. This perfection is used for recipes like our butternut squash lasagna.
Hint: you can also use acorn squash and bake it using an air fryer.
sauté sliced leeks; meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente
Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender
Blend until smooth
Add the sauce to the rest of ingredients.
Stir in the green peas, and top with the pasta and the creamy sauce.
Season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly grated nutmeg.
Serve with freshly ground black pepper and vegan parmesan cheese; we use our vegan 5 minutes parmesan.
Hint: If you find it too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to help coat the pasta.
This creamy butternut squash pasta recipe is a quite versatile dish to make; just pay attention to the proportions. See some of the common replacements that we have tried.
- Butternut squash - instead of a baby butternut squash to make the creamy sauce you can also use your favorite winter squash; use pumpkin, sugar pumpkin, kabocha squash, or acorn squash.
- Leeks - use shallots and yellow or white onion. You can also use the white bottoms of spring onions.
- Lemon juice - you can use lime or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Cashews - although we strongly recommend using cashews, you could achieve a similar result using hulled almonds.
- Thyme - rosemary makes an equally yummy pasta dish. We also like using fresh basil or fried crispy sage.
- Frozen peas - you could use canned peas; just add the drained peas right before serving instead of exposing them to heat. You can also skip them, although we think they add a lovely texture and color to the dish.
- Gluten-free - simply use your favorite short gluten-free pasta. Penne, rigatoni, macaroni, fusilli, or elbow pasta work well.
- Nutritional yeast - replace nutritional yeast with your favorite vegan parmesan cheese.
- Vegan butter - you can use olive oil instead. To make butternut squash pasta vegan, the trick is to use good quality vegan butter; go for the earth balance (affiliate link) if you want a homemade version, love this vegan butter recipe.
- Spicy - add red pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish.
- Herbs - to add a more accentuated fall flavor, use crispy fried sage leaves instead of thyme.
- Pasta - to make vegan butternut squash macaroni and cheese, switch the pasta selection to macaroni (elbow pasta).
Instead of using roasted squash, you could simply steam or boil the squash and add a couple of drops of smoked paprika to make up for the umami flavor.
A blender (affiliate link)is essential to make the roast butternut squash pasta sauce, creamy. Use a high-speed blender or a good-quality food processor.
Try using a large baking sheet, so the butternut squash dice roast well.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
In the Fridge
- Keep it Fresh: Store any leftover sauce and pasta separately in airtight containers. They'll stay good for up to 2 days.
- Reheat and Eat: To reheat, place the sauce in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. For the pasta, a quick 2-minute zap in the microwave should do the trick. Combine and enjoy!
- Batch Cook: Make a double batch of the sauce and freeze half for later. Cook the pasta and peas only for the meals you'll eat within the next 3-4 days.
- Mix 'n' Match: Keep the sauce, pasta, and peas separate. This way, you can easily switch it up—think stuffed bell peppers one day and a creamy pasta bake the next!
🥢 How to serve
Serve this creamy butternut squash pasta with roasted vegetables or steamed veggies.
- Comfort Bowl: Serve the pasta and sauce in a deep bowl, topped with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan and a dash of fresh thyme. Add a side of garlic bread for that extra comfort factor.
- Family-Style Platter: Lay out the pasta on a large platter and pour the sauce over it. Garnish with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Perfect for family dinners where everyone can dig in!
🍝 More vegan pasta recipes
If you like this butternut squash pasta recipe, I am sure you would also love these house-favorite pasta dishes.
We love pistachios, and this Pistachio pesto pasta salad is so satisfying, elegant, and easy to make that it will have your guest asking for the recipe immediately!
Do you love carrots but don't know what to do with those carrot greens? Make a Carrot tops cold pasta salad and brings it to your next potluck party!
⭐ If you try this vegan mac'n'cheese recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Creamy Roast Butternut Squash Pasta | Vegan
- 1 cup butternut squash puree, about ½ small butternut squash, diced or cut into ½ inch slices
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 4 thyme fresh sprigs
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter or olive oil
- 1 cup leek thinly sliced (½ cup), 3 oz
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ lemon juiced
- ½ cup green peas frozen
- 1 cup pasta water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt plus extra to roast the butternut squash
- 12 ounces bow tie pasta gluten-free
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove green peas from the freezer and measure. Let thaw.
- Add vegan butter and thyme sprigs, then sprinkle with salt and place the butternut squash dice with parchment paper on the baking sheet.
- If using a garlic head, chop the top, leaving the tips of the garlic exposed. Wrap the garlic head (or cloves) in aluminum foil with a tablespoon of vegan butter, plus a pinch of salt. Place it in a lined baking dish.
- Roast for 30 minutes or until the butternut squash is soft.
- Meanwhile, sauteé the sliced leeks on medium heat with a tablespoon of vegan butter and a thyme sprig. Let the butter be infused. Remove from heat.
- Continue by cooking the pasta according to package directions in a pot of salted boiling water, reserving one cup of the hot pasta water to blend it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Scoop one cup of the butternut squash flesh, and mash it with the garlic peeled cloves. You can also add them directly into the blender with the cooked leeks, pasta water, raw cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, the thyme leaves (removed from stems) and blend until creamy adding more pasta water if needed.
- Drain the bow tie pasta and return it to the same pot. Stir in the green peas, and top with the pasta and the butternut squash sauce. If you find it too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to help coat the pasta—season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly grated nutmeg.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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