This pumpkin marinara recipe tastes like fall. It’s comforting like mac and cheese, but lighter and full of vegetables! Just add pasta. Recipe yields about 4 cups of sauce (enough to generously coat 12 ounces/4 modest servings of pasta).
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Finely grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (both optional)
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s shimmering, add the onion, bell pepper and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and pepper are very tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic, oregano, tarragon, and cinnamon. While stirring, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, while stirring. Add the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Continue simmering for 5 minutes, then remove it from the heat.
- Carefully transfer the mixture to your blender. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Blend until very smooth and creamy.
- Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon salt). For a more luxurious sauce, add another tablespoon of butter, or for more tangy complexity, add another teaspoon of vinegar. Blend to combine.
- Stir into warm pasta. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped parsley on top.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: Omit the butter or blend in olive oil instead. Use vegan Parmesan or omit it.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: This sauce is gluten-free. Just serve it over gluten-free pasta.
Serving Size 1 cup (Enough for 3 to 4 ounces of pasta. Pasta and garnishes are not included.)Serves 4
Calories 156/ Protein 2.4 g / Total Fat 10.5 g /Total Carbohydrate 16 g / Sodium 354.1 mg / Sugars 7.4 g