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Creamy Walnut Pasta

This creamy walnut pasta is made with roasted butternut squash, spinach and the most delicious vegan cream sauce…made from walnuts! 

Overhead view of creamy walnut pasta in two bowls

There's nothing that makes my heart happier than a plate of pasta for dinner, especially when it’s paired with a creamy sauce. It’s comfort food for sure, but somehow it feels a little more fancy than a bowl of mac and cheese. This creamy walnut pasta is the perfect example.

The combination of pasta and cream sauce is decadent, filling, and seriously delicious. Oh, and did I mention it's also tossed with roasted butternut squash, spinach, and fresh sage? It's seriously heaven on a plate! Although there are a few different elements to this recipe, it all comes together quick enough for a busy weeknight.

Creamy Vegan Pasta with Walnuts in bowls with small bowl of walnuts in background

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Walnut Pasta Recipe

  • A cream sauce that's not heavy. Sauces made with heavy cream can feel, well, heavy. This walnut sauce is rich and creamy, but it doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down after you eat.
  • The flavors will blow your mind. The sauce has that garlicky, umami flavor of a good Alfredo with a hint of nuttiness, the butternut squash is sweet, earthy, and caramelized, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens everything up.
  • It's gluten-free and vegan. This creamy walnut pasta is naturally vegan and, when you use a gluten-free pasta, it’s a gluten-free dinner option too.
Ingredients for Walnut Pasta Sauce

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.

  • Butternut squash – To cut down on prep time, you can usually find cubed butternut squash in the produce section at the grocery store.
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper – I love coarsely ground black pepper in pasta; it adds texture and some visual appeal too.
  • Walnuts – Like cashews (see my cashew cream recipe), walnuts blend into a luxurious cream sauce when soaked in water.
  • Water
  • Miso paste – I love using miso instead of just plain salt because it has a more flavor. It's salty, but it also adds an umami flavor to the dish that works so well.
  • Garlic
  • Shallot – I like using shallots over onions because I think they're sweeter and less spicy tasting. They're just kind of mellow!
  • Nutritional yeast – My secret to giving a recipe a “cheesy” flavor without actually adding cheese!
  • Lemon
  • Chickpea pasta – Or your pasta of choice.
  • Spinach – Baby spinach wilts quickly, adding some greens to your dinner without extending the cooking time.
  • Fresh sage – Sage pairs well with the autumnal flavors in this creamy walnut pasta. 
Pouring cream sauce into pot of pasta, squash, and spinach

How to Make Creamy Walnut Pasta

  • Prepare. Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and pepper.
  • Roast the squash. Transfer the squash to a baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  • Soak the walnuts. Meanwhile, add the walnuts to a small bowl with hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, then drain and transfer the nuts to a blender.
  • Make the creamy walnut sauce. Add the nutritional yeast, miso paste, garlic, shallot and water to the blender and blend on high until creamy.
  • Cook the pasta. When there’s 10 minutes left of cooking time for the squash, cook the pasta according to the package directions. During the last 30 seconds of cooking, reserve 2 to 3 tablespoons of pasta water and stir in the spinach. 
  • Finish. Drain the pasta and spinach, then transfer it back to the pot. Stir in the roasted squash, 2 tablespoons of pasta water, and the sauce, along with the lemon juice and fresh sage. Toss to combine, then garnish with additional sage and walnuts.
Tongs tossing pasta with sauce

Tips for Success

  • Don't forget to soak the walnuts. This helps to soften them up and makes the sauce extra creamy.
  • Use a high-powered blender. I recommend using a Vitamix or similar blender to get the creamiest sauce possible.
  • Undercook your pasta slightly. I suggest cooking for about 1 minute less than most packages recommend. Chickpea pasta in particular is prone to breaking apart when combined with sauce and other add-ins, so this helps it keep its shape.
  • Reserve some cooking liquid to add to the sauce. The starch in the cooking liquid helps bring it all together, resulting in a perfect creamy sauce.
Two plates of Creamy Walnut Pasta with Butternut Squash

Serving Suggestions

This creamy walnut pasta recipe is amazing on its own, but you could also serve it with a side of Oven Roasted Root Vegetables or a simple green salad. This Fall Salad with Roasted Acorn Squash + Pomegranates would be perfect!


  • Swap the spinach for kale if you want a more robust green in this recipe.
  • Boost the protein by adding crispy chickpeas or crispy baked tofu to the pasta dish. If you're not vegan, feel free to add in some cooked chicken or sausage.
  • Swap out the chickpea pasta for your preferred type of pasta—regular, whole wheat, or gluten-free.
  • Substitute the butternut squash with sweet potatoes or another variety of winter squash. 
Plate of Creamy Walnut Pasta with fork

How to Store

This is yet another recipe that works well for meal prep. All you need to do to store this creamy walnut pasta is to transfer your extra portions into a container (I recommend these glass ones), and let it cool completely before sealing it up and popping it in the fridge.

As for reheating, I recommend tossing it into a pan with a splash of water, but if you're bringing it to work and don't have access to a stove, a microwave will totally work as well!

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Yes, this recipe can be frozen, although it’s definitely best enjoyed right away. To freeze, transfer the creamy walnut pasta to a freezer-safe container or bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Butternut Squash & Spinach Pasta with walnut cream sauce on plate with fork

More Creamy Vegan Pasta Recipes To Try

Creamy Walnut Pasta

This simple walnut pasta is made with roasted butternut squash, spinach and tossed in the most delicious vegan cream sauce…made from walnuts!
author: Alyssa
yield: 4 servings
Plate of Creamy Walnut Pasta with fork
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2/3 cup water + more for soaking
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 packaged chickpea pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Add the butternut squash into a bowl and top with olive oil and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Transfer the squash onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the squash is tender.
  • Meanwhile, add the walnuts into a small bowl. Top with hot water and allow to soak for at least 20 minutes. Once soaked, drain and add to a blender.
  • Along with the walnuts, add the nutritional yeast, miso paste, garlic, shallot and water into the blender as well. Blend on high until creamy.
  • With 10 minutes left in the cooking time on the squash, start the pasta. Cook according to package instructions and in the last 30 seconds of cooking, remove 2 – 3 tablespoons of pasta water and add the spinach. Give it a stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • Drain the pasta and spinach in a colander, then transfer it back into the pot. Add the roasted squash, 2 tablespoons of pasta water and the sauce. Also, add the lemon juice and fresh sage and toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately and garnish with a touch more sage, pepper, and crushed walnuts.



Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 5157IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 12mg
cuisine: American
course: Entree

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