You don't need to use cream to get a creamy pasta sauce - use butternut squash instead. With this Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce, you get that creamy comforting flavour, but with added vitamins too and not a cauliflower in sight. Creamy and comforting - what more could you want from a pasta sauce!
As soon as the temperature stars to drop, we make a lot of butternut squash dishes. It's a flavour just perfect for the colder months. There are many, many healthier creamy pasta sauces out there, but a lot of them use cauliflower (not that I am complaining). So, I thought I would give an alternative for those of you out there that aren't loving cauliflower.
Butternut squash has a naturally creamy texture when blended, so we have put that to good use. If you don't usually like butternut squash, give this a try as it might just change your mind.
Why you will love it
- Creamy and delicious - This sauce is so rich and silky and gives indulgent creamy sauces a run for their money. Butternut squash is naturally creamy, and mixed with a little creme fraiche is takes it to the next level.
- Nutrient dense - Creamy pasta sauces aren't usually the healthiest, but thanks to the butternut squash you get creaminess and lots of vitamins too.
- Vegan option - We have used creme fraiche and Parmesan (for flavour). However, you could use a vegan alternative to creme fraiche (or use a splash of coconut milk) and either using a vegan alternative to Parmesan, or just leave it out.
- Hidden vegetables - If you live with fussy eaters, pasta is usually a safe option. This is a great way to hide some vegetables in their meal. You could always blend some cauliflower in too.
- Butternut squash - This is where all the creaminess from the pasta sauce comes from. Make sure you check out our tips below on how to chop a butternut squash.
- Oil - We roasted the butternut squash in olive oil. Try to use the best quality that you can to give the best finished result.
- Garlic - The base of any good pasta sauce. Save yourself some time by using frozen garlic.
- Stock - Homemade stock is always best, but if you are using store bought stock, then try to use the best quality one you can, as you will taste the difference. If you are making this sauce for small children, then use a reduced salt stock.
- Seasoning - We added some salt and pepper, and then a little pinch of cinnamon too. It really compliments the butternut squash and adds some depth and warmth to the sauce.
- Creme fraiche - The majority of the creaminess comes from the butternut squash, but a little creme fraiche makes it extra creamy and freshens it up too.
- Parmesan - Who doesn't love a cheesy pasta sauce? We added just enough to give it a boost of flavour, but you could leave it out if you preferred.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add the butternut squash, oil, cinnamon and salt and pepper to a roasting tray. Mix so all the cubes are coated and roast for 30 minutes.
Two: Add the roasted butternut squash to a blender and blend until smooth.
Three: Put the blended squash into a pan with the remaining ingredients and heat through (about 2 minutes).
Health benefits of butternut squash
Butternut Squash is very low in calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is a good source of dietary fibre and it is often recommended by dieticians to help in the control of cholesterol.
It is high in Vitamins A and B and has plenty of natural polyphenolic flavonoid compounds. They are also high in minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Preparing a butternut squash
I know they look a bit intimidating, especially if you have not chopped one up before, but it is actually pretty easy. First you want to chop off the top and bottom ends of the squash, so that both ends are flat.
Slice it in half around the middle and using a heavy duty peeler or knife, peel off the skin in downwards strokes. You want to peel until you see orange flesh (no green lines left).
Once you have peeled both halves, slice the flatter half in two to reveal the seeds. Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds (keep them to roast too – great as a snack). Chop the butternut squash in to cubes.
Read a full guide on How To Peel And Cut A Butternut Squash which takes you through the process step by step.
How to use the sauce
We like to keep it simple and stir the butternut squash pasta sauce through some cooked pasta with spinach wilted in to it. It's great with gnocchi too. We also use this sauce as a base for hidden vegetable mac and cheese. Just melt some cheese in to the sauce and serve with macaroni. You could even bake it with extra cheese on top.
For an added protein boost, serve with some grilled chicken breast, fried king prawns or some chickpeas. Finish is off with a sprinkle of Parmesan, or vegetarian/vegan alternative and it is perfect.
What to serve it with
We always try to serve vegetables on the side of every meal and we have some great vegetable dish dishes for you to try:
- Slow Cooker Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic and Parsley Roasted Carrots
- Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad
- Balsamic and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
- Roasted Lemon Asparagus
- Slow Cooker Green Beans
- Roasted Garlic and Herb Mushrooms
- Baked Carrot Fries
Yes, if you want to have a more intense butternut squash flavour, then we recommend roasting it first and then adding it to the blender with the stock and blending until smooth. It is still delicious without roasting it though, you can just boil it for 15 minutes.
If you want to make this even creamier, then you can stir through some cream cheese. It really doesn't need it though, as it is creamy enough without it.
If your sauce is too thin, then you can thicken it by either adding a little cornflour, or just adding more parmesan - which is our preference.
As long as you use a gluten free stock cube, then this is a great option for a gluten free pasta sauce.
Yes, this recipe can easily be doubled and it won't change the cooking time. Just make sure you have a baking tray big enough to roast all the butternut squash, or put it on two baking trays to spread it out. You also need to make sure you have a blender big enough to blend all the sauce, or do it in batches.
If you have leftovers of this, then you can store it in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. We like to batch cook it to add to pasta for easy work day lunches. We wouldn't recommend storing the sauce and pasta together in the fridge, as the pasta tends to soak up all the sauce and go a bit soggy.
• Top the finished dish with pine nuts for some added crunch.
• Butternut squash has a naturally sweet taste, and you can add to that by swapping the onions for shallots.
• You can make these pasta sauce even creamier by stirring through some creme fraiche or cream cheese.
• For extra flavour, roast the butternut squash with finely chopped fresh sage. It compliments the butternut squash perfectly.
• If you want to keep this vegetarian, make sure to use a vegetarian hard cheese. Most supermarket own brand Italian hard cheese is vegetarian.
More butternut squash recipes
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) Butternut squash - peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 0.5 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 2 tablespoon Creme fraiche
- 100 ml (2 cups) Vegetable stock
- 30 g (0.33 cups) Parmesan - grated
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6.
- Add 1 kg Butternut squash, 1 tablespoon Olive oil, 0.5 teaspoon Cinnamon and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper to a roasting tray. Mix so all the cubes are coated and roast for 30 minutes.
- Add the roasted butternut squash to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Put the blended squash into a pan with 2 Garlic clove, 2 tablespoon Creme fraiche, 100 ml Vegetable stock and 30 g Parmesan and heat through (about 2 minutes).
- Top the finished dish with pine nuts for some added crunch.
- Butternut squash has a naturally sweet taste, and you can add to that by swapping the onions for shallots.
- You can make these pasta sauce even creamier by stirring through some creme fraiche or cream cheese.
- For extra flavour, roast the butternut squash with finely chopped fresh sage. It compliments the butternut squash perfectly.
- If you want to keep this vegetarian, make sure to use a vegetarian hard cheese. Most supermarket own brand Italian hard cheese is vegetarian.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.