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Creamy Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta [Vegan]

September 25, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
This Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta is the perfect way to enjoy a good plate of comforting pasta for the entire family in the Fall season. Enjoy pasta that comes completely loaded with pumpkin flavor married with bold + spicy flavors, and of course with the amazing texture of long-ribbon pasta!

Creamy Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta [Vegan]

Indulge in the flavors of this Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta---a guaranteed family staple! Using homemade cajun seasoning, veggie stock, coconut milk/cream, garlic, pumpkin puree, kale, and a host of other ingredients, this decadent meatless pasta dish comes together in a flash, making it perfect for a weeknight meal, especially during the Fall season. Plus, you only need one skillet! Even the kids will love this creamy pasta! All dairy-free + vegan. Gluten-free option.

Creamy pasta on a white plate with a fork and spoon along with a glass of juice and pumpkin seeds.

I really LOVE LOVE pasta. I mean an obsessive love. However, like some of you, I'm not always able to fully enjoy most pasta dishes either because of the amount of dairy (because who are we kidding-----creamy pastas ARE WHERE IT'S AT) or the gluten, which comes in the form of most original pastas.

But from time to time, I enjoy regular pastas such as Pappardelle noddles, especially when it's in a vegan dish. Honestly, I'm not sure if they make a better pasta noodle when it comes to a ribbon-shaped one. This Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta is definitely one for the books and really exudes bold, spicy, and savory flavors that bring such comfort in every bite. Of course, if you're a pasta fan like I am, then you need to try this Spicy Brown Butter Pumpkin Rigatoni, Creamy Tuscan Tortellini Soup, and Creamy Salmon Alfredo Pasta (if you aren't restricted to a vegan diet). Elevate your weeknight dinners with our Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta, a delightful blend of seasonal ingredients that's both family-friendly and irresistibly creamy.

Pumpkin-infused pasta is truly something delicious and shouldn't be passed up on if you ever get the option to try it. This vegan option pasta is truly amazing. Nothing short of flavor and it’s even perfect once reheated! And if you don't have a premium quality of pumpkin puree on hand like Libby's or an organic brand from Whole Foods, then you'll be able to make a batch of puree from scratch, which I talk more about further below!

So, these quick, easy meals come in real handy, especially on those days!

Jump to:

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta

  • The best weeknight pasta without the dairy! Bold, spicy, + savory worlds collide, creating a creamy, decadent pasta without the need for any kind of dairy.
  • A change up with the use of pumpkin. While we still love a good sweet take on pumpkin in baked goods, the savory pumpkin twist is so underrated!
  • Ultra velvety texture (Need I say more?)
  • Great to make ahead of time. This is the perfect weeknight meal prep meal recipe because it can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The reheat process creates an ultra creamy texture as if it were made fresh.
  • Family-friendly (Well, everyone in my family seems to love it, Haha. Plus they can all join in making it and there's a gluten-free option for those who are sensitive!)
Ingredients including pappardelle pasta, pumpkin puree, coconut cream, etc.

How to Make Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta

Start making this recipe by boiling your pasta. In the meantime, you make your creamy sauce by sautéing a few garlic cloves, and then adding in the cajun seasoning, coconut milk/cream, veggie stock, white cooking wine, pumpkin puree, etc---allowing everything to simmer.

Next, toss in your chopped kale, cooked pasta, and finish things off with your fave topping, and wallah.

The Ingredients

  • Olive oil. You can also use Grapeseed oil or coconut oil as well.
  • Pappardelle. I like to use organic and a high-quality brand! However, you can sub with Fettuccine or Tagliatelle. For a last resort, you can use Linguine. Also, feel free to use short-cut pastas like rigatoni, lumache, etc.
  • Cajun seasoning. Use store-bought or homemade seasoning blend.
  • Garlic. I recommend fresh, but you could use ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
  • Coconut Milk. You can use either full-fat canned coconut milk or cream.
  • White wine. Choose a dry wine that you like the taste of. See further down for great white wine options.
  • Pumpkin. I use 100% organic pumpkin puree in the can, NOT pie filling. There’s a difference!
  • Nutritional yeast. This is a key vegan ingredient for cheesy flavor. If you haven't tried it yet, I strongly recommend it! It also has great nutritional value like a great source of vitamins and minerals and is considered a "complete protein".
  • Flour. Used for the thickening of soup. You can sub with GF flour for that option.
  • Kale. Use fresh for best results, but frozen also works! Ensure that it’s chopped.
  • Veggie Stock. Helps to add extra flavor and creaminess. Use low-sodium store-bought or make your own.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

It must be noted that this recipe (and most sweet or savory pumpkin recipes) calls for 100% pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling! Pumpkin pie filling is quite literally the sweet pumpkin custard that you find in traditional pumpkin pie. It already contains sugar, cinnamon, clove, and other ingredients that make a pie filling.

Adding pumpkin pie filling to a dish that calls for 100% pumpkin puree will add an un-welcomed sweetness, essentially ruining the dish. Even if you are unsure of what type of pumpkin a recipe is calling for, go for the 100% pumpkin puree.

What is Pappardelle?

Picture wide, flat ribbons of pasta that provide a delightful mouthful in every bite. They are like the red carpet of noodles, making any sauce feel like a VIP. Pappardelle's broad surface area allows it to carry robust and chunky sauces effortlessly, ensuring each forkful is a satisfying and flavorful experience. Sounds delicious right?

But don't worry if you can't find Pappardelle. Here are a few other options-

  • Tagliatelle: Think of it as the charming cousin of pappardelle. Wide and ready to soak up all that saucy goodness.
  • Fettuccine: Slightly narrower than pappardelle but still brings that satisfyingly wide noodle experience.
  • Wide Egg Noodles: A wildcard option that adds a touch of whimsy to your dish. They may not have the exact shape, but they can still handle sauciness like a champ.
  • Spaghetti: Ah, the beloved classic! While spaghetti may not be as wide as pappardelle, its long, slender shape is a perfect vessel for any sauce you desire and is readily available!
Creamy pasta in a black skillet with tongs.

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

If you're thinking about making your own pumpkin puree instead of using a store-bought canned version, then you'll be happy to know that it is rather simple:

  • Step 1: Cut your pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds. Be sure to save the seeds for another time because you can definitely use those!
  • Step 2: Feel free to cube the pumpkins into medium-large chunks and then place them unto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. NOTE: ensure that the skin of pumpkin are peeled off at this point.
  • Step 3: Always season your pumpkin pieces (salt, black pepper, + smoked paprika) and lightly grease with olive oil until coated.
  • Step 4: Roast in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40-45 minutes or until the edges are golden and they become super tender once tested with a fork or knife.
  • Step 5: Using a food processor or blender, puree your pumpkin along with water or veggie stock, until smooth. You can either use this immediately in whatever pumpkin recipe you'd like, store it in the freezer for later use.

Homemade Cajun Seasoning Blend

Sure, you can find pre-made seasoning blends at the grocery store. But there’s nothing like the fresh, customized flavor you get by making your own blend. The herbs and spices in the cajun spice mix for this recipe are inspired by the fresh herbs that work so beautifully together to create a bold, spicy flavor (from the cayenne + paprika).

You can Store the seasoning blend in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six months. Use it on anything from simple roasted vegetables to salad dressing to herb oil for dipping bread.

CAJUN SEASONING BLEND

To make your own homemade seasoning, combine the following:

  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Dried thyme
  • Onion powder

How To Make Your Pumpkin Sauce More Flavorful?

It’s all about the seasoning! Whether you choose to keep things simple or a bit more complex, adding seasoning to your sauce is KEY! Adding flavor to the base of your sauce with garlic and seasonings (cajun seasoning in this case) will add more depth to your creamy pasta and allow everything else to marry together well.

Just let it all simmer together and slowly bubble as the seasonings infuse deeply.

Topping Ideas for Creamy Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta

While I love this creamy cajun pumpkin pasta dinner as-is, straight from the pan, you can dress it up with toppings if you like.

I usually just add kale, but for extra spice, color and texture, you can try:

  • Chopped nuts, such as toasted pecans or walnuts
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Sliced jalapeños for a bit more heat
  • Toasted bread crumbs
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds for texture
  • Freshly-grated dairy-free parmesan cheese or addition nutritional yeast

If you discover a new favorite topping idea, be sure to let me know in the comments section below!

Two plates with pasta on a brown wood table with pumpkin seeds.

What Can I Eat with this Pasta?

Like many pasta dishes, this recipe can be easily enjoyed with a delicious salad of some sort. Then of course, there are warm salads like Roasted Eggplants, Grilled Zucchini, other Roasted Veggies, homemade Garlic Bread, etc.

Lastly, you can serve a platter of cooked veggies such as sautéed broccolini or asparagus or switch things up with one of the following:

  • A delicious Salad
  • Sautéed Greens
  • Grilled Veggies
  • Toasted Bread

What White Wine is Best for this Pumpkin Pasta?

I tend to use a lot of white cooking wine, which is easiest for me. However, I do occasionally add quality white wine to my dishes and I recommend using a dry white wine. But, if you prefer not to use wine at all, simply substitute with additional veggie stock.

A dry white wine will add the right amount of acidity rather than sweetness, which will better compliment your dish like this pasta. In general, any of the following dry white wines work great in this soup:

Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, and dry sparkling wines.

Common Q + A's for this Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta!

How to store + reheat leftover pasta?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. This makes a great meal prep recipe for a satisfying lunch! Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop (best option)----which way require adding ¼ cup or so of veggie stock while reheating to make things creamy again!

Can I use something besides olive oil?

Of course! You can also use vegan butter, avocado oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil, instead of olive oil.

What's the best pasta to use?

You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.

Can I substitute the kale in this pasta?

Yes! To add a bit more flavor to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as spinach, broccolini, collards, or asparagus.

Is this pasta spicy?

Nope! There's just a hint of spicy flavor in this cajun pumpkin alfredo. If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.

Can I make this pumpkin alfredo gluten-free?

Absolutely! To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that all other ingredients (i.e. coconut milk, stock, and flour) are GF-friendly. 

Two plates of pasta with a fork, spoon, and glasses of juice with pumpkin seeds.

More Delicious Vegan Recipes to Try Next!

Now that you're on a vegan cooking kick with this pumpkin alfredo pasta recipe, give these vegan dinner recipes that your entire family will love a try next:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Up close shot of creamy pasta in a plate with a spoon and fork, twirled with a glass of juice.
Creamy pasta on a white plate with a fork and spoon along with a glass of juice and pumpkin seeds.

Creamy Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta [Vegan]

September 25, 2023
4.86 from 7 votes
This Creamy Vegan Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta is the perfect way to enjoy a good plate of comforting pasta for the entire family in the Fall season. Enjoy pasta that comes completely loaded with pumpkin flavor married with bold + spicy flavors, and of course with the amazing texture of long-ribbon pasta!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz.) package Ribbon-shaped pasta (I use Pappardelle; See Post for Info!)

PUMPKIN ALFREDO SAUCE:

  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsps nutritional yeast (You can sub with freshly-grated dairy-free parmesan cheese)
  • 2 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, store-bought or homemade
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk/cream
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (Not pie filling!; See Post for how to make from scratch)
  • ½-3/4 cup organic vegetable stock
  • 1-2 Tbsps white cooking wine, optional (You can sub with veggie stock)
  • 1 cup chopped kale

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • Your fave nuts, toasted
  • Dairy-free parmesan cheese, freshly-grated
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions

BOIL THE PASTA:

  • To begin, cook the pasta according to packaging. NOTE: Pappardelle pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 8-10 minutes (however, you should cook at 6-8 minutes or so—‘al dente’).

TO MAKE THE CREAMY SAUCE:

  • In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once heated, add the minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the cajun seasoning, cinnamon, nutritional yeast, and flour, stirring everything together. Reduce the heat slightly and whisk in the coconut milk/cream, veggie stock, white cooking wine, and pumpkin puree, until everything thickens and becomes smooth with no lumps visible, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped kale, stirring until combined and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • When the Parppardelle pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce, tossing until sauce fully coats + sticks to pasta. Serve immediately! Top with your favorite toppings: toasted buts, DF grated parmesan, and/or roasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • OIL: You can also use avocado oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil, instead of olive oil.
  • PASTA: You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, Paccheri, Orecchiette, etc. are perfect.
  • GREENS: To add a bit more flavor to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as spinach, broccolini, collards, or asparagus.
  • SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that all other ingredients (i.e. coconut milk, stock, and flour) are GF-friendly. 

Nutrition

Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 16897IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

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Xx, Shanika in script writing

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  1. Made this dish for dinner tonight ! It was amazing!! I couldn’t find pappardelle , so I used tagliatelle and it worked perfectly !! I also added a handful of fresh Sage leaves and baby Bella mushrooms and it turned out soooo goods!

    • Hi Lea! I am so glad that you enjoyed this pasta! It's definitely one of my faves, especially during the Fall! Adding Bella mushrooms sounds amazing! Thanks so much for giving it a try! 🙂

  2. I just sampled this pasta while waiting for my husband to get home so we can eat, and it.is.delicious! I love how creamy it is, and the kick and depth of flavor from the Cajun seasoning is great! I normally don’t make pumpkin-y foods when it’s not fall, but I can see myself eating this dish year-round!

    • Hi Coby! OMG! I'm so happy to hear that you love this pasta! I'm so with ya----this one is one of the exceptions for year-round enjoyment! 🙂

  3. Hello, I came across your website and am excited to try your recipes. I have a question for the pumpkin alfredo pasta. Is there a substitute for the nutritional yeast to get the filling protein in? Can't use the yeast because one of my kids has intestinal issues so has to stay away from that. Plus, I know that the yeast also adds that bite of cheese, so what can I use? We are not vegan so can eat cheese, chicken, etc.

    • Hi Pat! Thanks so much for choosing to visit my little corner of the web----welcome! 🙂 I completely understand and since you aren't vegan, I definitely recommend substituting the nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese or perhaps mozzarella cheese. In this dish, I mostly use it for the "cheese-flavor", therefore, adding regular cheese if you aren't restricted works just fine! Can't wait to hear what you think!

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