If you couldn’t tell by the title, this recipe is fully loaded with fall flavor. I don’t think I left anything out. Pumpkin, check. Apple, check. Sage, check. Cinnamon and nutmeg, check! Surprisingly, this mishmash of autumnal ingredients works really well together. The result is a warm and comforting pasta dish perfectly suited for a chilly October/November night.
My original thought was to create a baked pasta dish. I even pre-heated the oven. But once I poured the cooked rigatoni into the creamy pumpkin sauce, I couldn’t wait to dig in. So, I turned off the oven and helped myself to a plate. Instant gratification! The key to getting the sauce to coat the surface of the noodles is to skip the post-drain pasta rinse. The starch left on the noodles allows the sauce to cling to every nook and cranny for maximum flavor.
I chose to add tempeh to this creamy vegan pumpkin pasta to fill out the dish and make it more hearty. The technique, which involves crumbling the tempeh, browning it in a cast iron skillet, and tossing it with a savory sauce, comes from The First Mess cookbook. Laura does something similar with tempeh in one of her warm salad recipes. When prepared this way, tempeh is so delicious. It really takes this pasta dish to the next level.
While I’m all about meal prep and pre-making dinner, this creamy vegan pumpkin pasta is best enjoyed right away. Then again, I also can’t stand leftover pasta. So, perhaps the staying power of this recipe is subjective. Invite a few friends over, open a bottle of wine, and invite everyone to cozy up by the fireplace with a plate of noodles. It’s the perfect recipe for a fall night at home. Cheers!Print
This Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Apple & Sage is exploding with fall flavor. It's the perfect comforting meal for a chilly autumn night.
- 8 ounces rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small apple, diced (I used a honeycrisp apple)
- 4 sage leaves, chopped, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
- ½ to 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups dinosaur kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Vegan parmesan, for serving (optional)
For the tempeh:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 8-oz. block of tempeh, crumbled
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, but don’t rinse. This will help the sauce stick to the noodles later on. Set the cooked pasta aside.
- Preheat a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add the olive oil to the skillet followed by the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft and the garlic is light golden in color, about 3 minutes. Add the apple, sage, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Fold in the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. Season with salt and bring the mixture to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, make the tempeh. Whisk together the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, paprika, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the crumbled tempeh to the skillet. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tempeh is lightly browned on all sides. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and stir to coat the tempeh. Remove from heat.
- Add the cooked pasta and tempeh to the pumpkin sauce and toss to combine, followed by the kale. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan, if using, and garnish with sage leaves. Serve warm.
Nutrition facts do not include vegan parmesan.