Pumpkin Pecan Penne

Pumpkin Pecan Penne. Photo Credit: Allyson Kramer
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 Servings

This rich and hearty main course is simply perfect for the months when the weather gets a bit chilly. It features two Autumnal flavors--pumpkin and pecan--that work beautifully together to create a tasty pasta that is as creamy as traditional fettuccine Alfredo, but completely dairy-free!

Serve this dish as a hearty main or a unique side; since it uses canned pumpkin as part of the base, you can enjoy it any time of year! And the best part is, it takes only a few minutes of both cooking and prep, so you can have this dish ready in well under 30 minutes!

I recommend using a high speed blender to get the creamiest consistency in the sauce, but any blender or even food processor will work here as well.

What You'll Need

  • 16 ounces penne pasta (you can use any other type of pasta you'd like: spirals, elbow macaroni, even spaghetti!)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons grated)
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil, such as olive or canola
  • 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 additional teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk, such as almond, soy, hemp, cashew
  • 2/3 cup whole pecans

How to Make It

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. If you are using gluten-free pasta, be sure to rinse with cool water after cooking.
  2. After the pasta has cooked, return to the pot and stir in the 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Fold in gently to evenly coat the pasta.
  4. Sprinkle with black pepper and then set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  5. In a small saucepan (about 2 to 3 quarts) heat the minced garlic, grated onion, and 1 teaspoon cooking oil over medium-high heat until the garlic and onion are fragrant and slightly darker in color, about four minutes.
  1. Stir often so as not to burn the garlic and onion.
  2. Add the canned pumpkin, nutritional yeast flakes, and salt and warm gently over low heat about five minutes.
  3. Transfer the pumpkin sauce mixture to a high-speed blender and add the pecans. (You may need to allow the sauce to cool briefly before proceeding.)
  4. Blend the mixture until the sauce is completely smooth, stopping and scraping the sides of the blender as needed.
  5. Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and stir gently to completely coat.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

For easy make ahead, prepare only the sauce and transfer to a freezer-safe container or baggy. Warm gently over medium-low heat and add to cooked pasta for a simple weekday dinner!