Pumpkin Pecan Penne

Pumpkin pecan penne recipe

​The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 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!


  • 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pumpkin pecan penne
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. If you are using gluten-free pasta, be sure to rinse with cool water after cooking.

    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. After the pasta has cooked, return to the pot and stir in the 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fold in gently to evenly coat the pasta.

    Mix pasta
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Sprinkle with black pepper and then set aside while you prepare the sauce.

    Sprinkle with pepper
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  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 4 minutes. Stir often so as not to burn the garlic and onion.

    Heat onion and garlic
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Add the canned pumpkin, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and milk and warm gently over low heat about 5 minutes.

    Stir canned pumpkin
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  7. 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.)

    Add pecans
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. Blend the mixture until the sauce is completely smooth, stopping and scraping the sides of the blender as needed.

    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  9. Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and stir gently to completely coat.

    Pumpkin pecan penne
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  10. Serve immediately.

    Pumpkin pecan penne
    ​The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam from hot ingredients can expand quickly in a blender, causing burns and splattering everywhere. To prevent this, fill the blender only 1/3 of the way, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.


  • We 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.
  • 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!
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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