Every year I look forward to enjoying an especially large vat of pasta swathed in creamy pumpkin sauce.
Obviously it would be out of the question to dine on such a cozy fall themed dish during the bright spring and summer months.
So patience is key (as always).
And here we are!
The original recipe is quite literally loaded with butter.
Which of course tastes amazing, but I was keen on whipping up a healthier batch of the stuff while making it vegan friendly as well.
This new and improved version includes a lot of the same ingredients and flavors, and it’s still creamy AF (if not even creamier, hallelujah)!
Plus, I packed a bit more pumpkin into the thing–hooray for veggies and pumped up pumpkin flavor.
All you have to do is combine luscious vegan cream cheese and canned pumpkin in a little pot on the stove and stir until you get a nice homogenous mixture. Add a splash of low sodium veg stock and whisk your sauce up while bringing it to a gentle simmer. Now’s the time to introduce a ton of flavor… a hefty dose of fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (for a kick!), a pinch of ground nutmeg and salt, to taste, plus a hit of vegan Parmesan.
So creamy dreamy.
Fold in your cooked pasta, stir and simmer for another (very long) minute, then throw a handful of fresh basil in there and top the whole thing off with toasted pepitas, if you like.
No judgement if you lick the pot clean… I sure as heck did.
P.S. I used regular fusilli, but you could certainly employ whole wheat or gluten-free pasta. The bright orange color just looks so much more vibrant when an earthy whole wheat canvas isn’t in the picture. Superficial much?
P.P.S. Toasted walnuts would be tasty too, if you’re not into pepitas. (But you should definitely be into pepitas.)
P.P.P.S. Not a vegan or lactose-intolerant individual? Feel free to swap in actual cream cheese and real deal powdered Parm.