Come September, no matter the weather, pumpkin mania strikes the U.S., so it’s about time for a roundup of fabulous vegan pumpkin recipes.
Though pumpkin is often associated with desserts and sweet coffee drinks (hello, pumpkin spice lattes!), it’s actually quite versatile and works beautifully in savory dishes too.
Below I’ve rounded up 21 delicious vegan pumpkin recipes, including some of my own and lots of other tasty bites from around the plant-based internet. Let the pumpkin craze ensue!
Frequently Asked Questions about Pumpkin
It really depends on the recipe! For soups and curries, my preference is to use a whole pumpkin, as you can roast it in the oven and it lends more flavor. For baking recipes, canned pumpkin puree is easier.
1. Slice a sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin in half using a sharp knife and rocking motion. If it’s too tough to slice, pop it in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.
2. Lightly salt the flesh of the pumpkin, then place the pumpkin halves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake in the oven at 400°F/205°C until fork tender, about 30 minutes for a small pie pumpkin, or 40-45 minutes for a larger one.
3. Once the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, the skin should peel off easily. Add the flesh to a food processor and puree for about 2 minutes, or until you have a really smooth puree.
4. Place the puree over a fine mesh sieve and stir with a spoon to let any excess water drain out. If you have cheesecloth, line the sieve with that and drain. This step is essential especially in baking recipes since homemade puree is more watery than canned.
5. Finally, measure out the appropriate amount of pumpkin puree for this recipe
The most common options are sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins, which are the relatively small round orange pumpkins. Don’t use the really large carving pumpkins – they are pretty flavorless and don’t have much flesh.
You can also use kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkins) or Thai pumpkins, or more specialty varieties like “Long Island cheese pumpkins,” “fairytale pumpkins” or “Cinderella pumpkins.”
Absolutely! While a pumpkin dessert is still a dessert, pumpkin itself is very nutrient-dense.
Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, which boosts eye health and your immune system; is high in potassium and fiber; contains carotenoids, plant pigments that may help fight cancer.
Nope! If a can says “pumpkin pie filling,” or “pumpkin pie mix,” that means the pumpkin puree has been diluted with sugar and spices. This is not the ingredient called for when a recipe says “canned pumpkin” or “canned pumpkin puree.”
Once open, refrigerate leftover pumpkin puree in an airtight container and use within 5 to 7 days.
Yep! You won’t really notice a difference in savory or unbaked applications, but there might be some small changes in texture when used in baking.
For tips on freezing pumpkin, check out this article from The Kitchn.
Pumpkin Breakfast Recipes
Savory Pumpkin Recipes
Not sure what to make first? Try this show-stopping vegan pumpkin mac and cheese!
- 1 small sugar pumpkin (aka “pie pumpkin”), or 1 small butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds or 1 kg)*
- Olive oil or avocado oil, for roasting
- 1/2 cup (~60g) raw cashews, soaked in cool water overnight or for 1 hour in boiling water**
- 1/2 cup (40g) nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional but adds a nice sharp tangy flavor)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (can substitute ground, but the flavor is much better with fresh)
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt + more to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon mellow white or yellow miso paste
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup (240mL) canned “lite” coconut milk***
- 10 ounces (280g) of rigatoni pasta, medium-sized macaroni shells, or pasta of your choice (use GF pasta as needed)
- To cook the pumpkin or butternut squash in the oven, use a very sharp knife to slice the pumpkin or butternut squash in half, then scoop out the seeds and stringy bits using a spoon. If the vegetable is too thick or hard to cut, pop it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds to soften. For roasting, follow step 2; for steaming, follow step 3.
- To roast the pumpkin or butternut squash in the oven, preheat the oven to 425°F (or 218°C). Drizzle the pumpkin or squash halves with a bit of olive oil or avocado and season with salt and pepper. Place the halves, flesh side down, on a parchment paper-lined or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until completely tender and lightly browned (pumpkin should take about 30 minutes; butternut squash closer to 40 minutes). Once the pumpkin or squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.
- To steam the pumpkin or butternut squash in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, pour 1 cup of water into the inner cooking pot and lower a compatible steamer rack or the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot into the inner pot. Place the pumpkin or squash halves in the basket or on top of the trivet, close the lid, and pressure cook at high pressure for 12-14 minutes. Once the timer is up, perform a quick pressure release by manually releasing the steam valve. Once the pumpkin or squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.
- While the squash is cooking, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook the pasta according to the box directions until al dente and drain in a colander.
- Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the roasted or steamed pumpkin or butternut squash flesh. Reserve the rest for another use, such as a curry, soup, or side dish.
- In a high-powered blender, add the 1 1/2 cups of the pumpkin or squash flesh. Add in the soaked and drained cashews, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, black pepper to taste, miso paste, tapioca flour or cornstarch, lemon juice, and lite coconut milk. Blend until the sauce is completely smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly, adding more salt as needed, more miso paste for more umami, or more lemon juice for more acidity.
- Return the cooked and drained pasta back to the saucepan and add the cheese sauce. Heat over medium heat until the sauce is well combined with the pasta and warmed through. Season the mac and cheese to taste.