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Easy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This easy pumpkin pasta sauce is exactly what you need in a quick, tasty pantry pasta sauce. This vegetarian pasta sauce is made with red lentils for a hearty dinner.
4 from 12 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 472kcal


  • Wide pot
  • Large pot
  • Colander


  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon silk chili
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sumac
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¾ cup red lentils
  • ½ cup water or vegetable stock
  • 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 15- ounce can pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon sugar optional
  • 16 ounces pasta of choice
  • ½ cup pasta cooking water
  • A splash of heavy cream optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the onion:

  • Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion. Stir regularly until the onion is softened, about 5–7 minutes.

Bloom the spices:

  • Melt the butter into the onion. Once bubbly, add the chili powder, silk chili, paprika, sumac, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 45 seconds until fragrant.

Cook the lentils:

  • Add the lentils to the pot and toss to coat with the spices—cook for 1 minute.

Simmer the pasta sauce:

  • Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and the pumpkin and season with salt and pepper. Add the sugar, if you like. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Add a splash of water as needed—taste and season once more to your preferences. If you like, add a splash of heavy cream to the sauce. Stir to combine.

Cook the pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain.

Sauce the pasta:

  • Add the pasta cooking water along with the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Taste and season once more.

To serve:

  • Divide the pasta between shallow bowls and garnish with parsley, if you like. Enjoy!


Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 241mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin C: 18mg
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