Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

One benefit on being put on a more restrictive diet (no dairy and no tomatoes), is that I discover new food. I personally have always loved a few ways of making pasta dishes that use either dairy or tomatoes. Going off of both of them, has put a damper on Italian food! But, to my pleasant surprise, I have found that there are many Italian recipes that can be made without dairy and tomatoes.

One method I have discovered, is making simple sauces with veggies. The basic method is stir frying or steaming veggies with added flavors, and either mashing, or blending the cooked vegetables to make a simple sauce. I loved the simplicity of that concept! As you know, I like simple food. And this is a great way to get in more veggies. I do miss my tomato sauce, but this is a nice change and I would eat it, even if I could have dairy and tomatoes!

I have made this butternut squash pasta sauce twice now using this method and we like it a lot! While I do still miss the freshly grated cheese on top of these pasta dish, it still is very good without it. I like anything with onions, garlic, and basil in it! I think that next time I make it, I will probably add a few dashes of white wine to it. If you can have dairy, a great way to make this more rich would be to hold back some of the broth, and finish the sauce with some heavy cream at the end. And, of course, all of you dairy people, can sprinkle with cheese to serve (which is how I would serve it if I could…..).

This recipe is so simple, it is easy to change around. Use fresh herbs, different herbs, mix with a tomato sauce, or, just keep it simple, and enjoy the simple, beautiful flavors as is.

I like to use Tinkyada’s Brown rice Pasta. It has a wonderful texture, is easy to cook and is low in phytates. I also served this with homemade sourdough pasta. That was very nice as well. I love how fast this sauce is to make. It’s a great last minute meal.

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce (Makes enough sauce to go along with 12 ounces of pasta, uncooked)

About a 1 to 1 1/2lb butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoon basil

salt and pepper

1 cup of chicken broth

A few dashes of white wine (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese to serve, for those who can…

In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot and add onions. Cook over med-high heat, until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, just until the garlic is releasing it’s flavor, but don’t brown (it can make it bitter). If you are using the white wine, add at this point (cook for about 30 seconds to a minute).

Add the butternut squash, the basil, the chicken broth, and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about ten minutes, until the squash is fork tender.

When this is accomplished, check how much chicken broth is left. You want enough to blend with the squash to make a moist sauce, but not to much, which would make a runny sauce. There are no hard rules here! Play it by ear. If there still seems to be a lot left, you can simmer uncovered to reduce.

Now you can to one of three things. 1- Mash to make a chunky sauce, 2- Put through a food mill to make a slightly chunky, slightly smooth sauce (method of my choice) 3-Put through your blender or food processor to make a smooth sauce. Once that is done….

Salt and pepper to taste, pour over hot pasta, if desired, topped with shredded cheese, and serve!

Simple food. Good food.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. Anneatheart says

    So how does one make sourdough noodles? I’ve made homemade pasta a few times, and I have sourdough starter, but never thought of combing the two 🙂

  2. Kimi Harris says

    Anne at Heart,
    I am still working on the sourdough noodle recipe. But I have a liquid starter that I use instead of water for making it. It has turned out well, but not predictable enough to feel comfortable sharing the recipe yet! 🙂

  3. Linda Teaman says

    I’ve seen recipes for squash gnocchi, Kimi how about coming up with squash sourdough noodles. What do you think?

  4. cmort says

    Good recipe! Easy to make, and very tasty… I added shredded chicken to the sauce once it was chunked, which made it a little heartier. Definately sending this one out to the family!

  5. Melissa says

    it’s been a year since this post. just wondering if you’ve perfected your sourdough noodle recipe…if so, please share 🙂

  6. Michelle says

    I can’t wait to try this! We are currently tomato and dairy free as well and I’ve been trying to find a good pasta recipe. I’ll be adding this to my meals for next week!

  7. Lauren Ellis says

    Looks like a great recipe! I too can’t have dairy, but make a cream sauce with butter (that’s ok for me, but you could use fat from chicken or something), flour and rice milk. Because goat’s milk is ok, I still make mac and cheese! It’s really cool.

  8. says

    I wanted to suggest an immersion hand blender for making smooth pasta sauce and soup purees, etc. I just moved back from two years in Portugal. Many do not have a lot of money and hand blenders can be found for about 10E. It’s much easier to keep sauce or soup in the pot and puree it up with an easy to clean hand blender. Much less mess. I found an immersion blender here for $20 and it also came with a whisk attachment. I don’t know what I’d do without my hand blender. I use it almost every day.

  9. says

    I did a search for a butternut squash sauce recipe for pasta and found this. I am going to give it a try – I think I will add a bit of fresh rosemary and sage (instead of basil) in with the onion and garlic because I love those flavors with butternut squash.

    I am also going to use spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I can let you know how that ends up!

    By the way, my daughter Kelsey, takes piano from Joel in Oregon City. 🙂

  10. says

    It turned out great! I used some white wine like you suggested and some half and half at the end. I also toasted some chopped pecans to sprinkle on top and served it with grated parmesan cheese as well.

    I will definitely make this again and try it with pasta. I just happened to have this huge spaghetti squash someone gave me from their garden. It was good with the sauce.

  11. Kelly says

    Made this tonight…SO DELICIOUS. I had tried a couple of other butternut squash pasta sauce recipes before and always thought they were really good, but this is by far the best. Amazingly flavorful for such a simple recipe… we are making a vegetable lasagna out of this which is currently in the oven and I can’t wait! Thank you!!

  12. Angela says

    I made this tonight and it is very YUMMY! I used fresh basil and sprinkled some cashews on the top instead of parmesan. I served it on a bed of spinach leaves with brown rice pasta. I also left it quite chunky. Very good indeed. Thanks for posting this. I will definitely make it again.

  13. Jenny says

    Very good! I made mine with dried sage and dried thyme, mashed it with a potato masher and added a little fat-free half and half at the end and then added the parm cheese and chopped pecans (a good addition. I would have added the white wine if I would have had any. I served it with of all things, collard greens with rice wine vinegar on top. To my utter shock and amazement, my meat-loving husband said he was very impressed, asked if there was any of the sauce left and went back for seconds. He loved it and so did I. Thanks for posting

  14. says

    I have been looking at your older recipes and I found this one and fell in love with it. Hubby also likes plain food and we both love butternut squash. As a sauce, this is genius. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Dara says

    I was sitting in class today, and started to think of what i could do with a butternut squash that has been sitting in my kitchen AND i was craving pasta!!!
    I made it for dinner tonight! and it really hit the spot!!! It was great! However, i cooked the butternut squash first in the oven and used water instead of chicken broth but still, it was really good.

  16. Deb Smith-Blosser says

    Hi Kimmi,
    I have met many people who are gluten free and dairy free, but I haven’t met anyome who was dairy and tomatoe. I am gluten free, vegan (on rare occasions I use eggs though) and night shade free (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant). I happened to have some pumpkin in my freezer and wanted to make a sauce to put over rice. I was so excited to see this recipe and also to know someone else who loves Italian food but has to eat without dairy and tomates. My son and I are working on a recipe book for people with fibromyalgia. That is why I have chosen the diet I am on. It greatly reduces pain and swelling. Movement is great. Anyway, nice to “meet” you. Please feel free to keep in touch.

    • SUSAN says

      my husband is Persian and they cook up squash like this, leave it cubed though, and serve it over rice, then fry up some eggs, and serve them on top, sunny side up and with the yolk still runny….. very delicious, glad his cousin serves it, sorry no one in our house likes squash except me, so I make it for me and used leftover basmati rice

  17. says

    I know this is an old post, but I just ran across it looking for a way to use some winter squash I had in the freezer. So tasty! (I did add a couple of mushrooms at the onion and garlic stage; I’m always a fan of adding mushrooms.) Thanks for sharing.

  18. Meg says

    I fell in love with a jarred Butternut Squash Pasta sauce I purchased at Costco. It is made by Dave’s Gourmet. I was looking for a similar recipe to make my own when I stumbled onto this site. This recipe sounds good, but I will have to tweak it some to get one similar to the one I had.

  19. says

    great post! We are on extremely restricted diet and was told to add squash daily! I actually dislike squash and was looking for ways to eat it dairy and tomatoe free! I havent tried it yet but very excited to make it tonight with brown rice pasta. Thanks again-Sherman family Tacoma WA

  20. Sierra says

    Thank you so much for the recipe! My mother had a gigantic butternut squash from the garden laying around- which I cut in half and used to make a delicious topping. I substituted soy milk for vegetable stock and used sharp cheddar for the cheese, because that was what I had on hand. I mashed the squash this time, but I’d like to try this recipe again by pureeing it. Whole wheat penne works great with this sauce.

  21. jan says

    Does anyone have an idea of how much (many cups) the 1 -1.5 lb squash yields? I have some frozen butternut squash in my freezer that I cooked a while back, and wanted to use it tonight in this recipe….but not sure how much cooked squash I should use? Thanks,

    • Stacey says


      I’d say about 1-2 cups of squash from 1-1.5 pounds. You can always play around with the ingredients and add more seasoning, onions, broth, etc. as you make it. I just made this with banana squash tonight and it was great! Good luck!

  22. consomu says

    I had a vitamix full of butternut squash puree, so I nearly tripled the recipe. I used a lot more wine and let things simmer longer since my squash was pretty moist from cooking in water. Since I had a lot of liquid, I used organic “better than boullion” chicken boullion paste and it was thick and rich. I didn’t puree since my squash was already pureed and the chunky onions got me thinking…. Pizza sauce! Wow it was delicious!! We had it on noodles which was pretty good, but on pizza it was AMAZING! I did one pizza with just butternut sauce and one with my home canned tomato sauce swirled in with it! It was great! Hope you’ll all try it too!

  23. consomu says

    I had a vitamix full of butternut squash puree, so I nearly tripled the recipe. I used a lot more wine and let things simmer longer since my squash was pretty moist from cooking in water. Since I had a lot of liquid, I used organic “better than boullion” chicken boullion paste and it was thick and rich. I didn’t puree since my squash was already pureed and the chunky onions got me thinking…. Pizza sauce! Wow it was delicious!! We had it on noodles which was pretty good, but on pizza it was AMAZING! I did one pizza with just butternut sauce and one with my home canned tomato sauce swirled in with it! It was great! Hope you’ll all try it too!

  24. Steph says

    I followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out very sweet in my opinion. Is that just the way the flavor is, or is there something I could add to offset the sweetness?

  25. says

    I love your ideas! I used this idea and pureed some cooked butternut squash and added a tad of tomato sauce and used it as a base for a vegetable casserole. Quite delish.

  26. Annie says


    I’m new to your site and think it is great! Was wondering why you are avoiding tomatoes?

    Thank you!

  27. Maria says

    Thanks for posting this. I have been off tomatoes for the past year now and recently dairy. It’s incredibly difficult to find recipes for sauce and ended up making my own using carrots and beets with similar Italian flavourings.
    This year I plan to make a large batch to freeze/can for the winter. I am off all nightshades for my joint pain and it has helped quite a bit.

  28. Joanna says

    New to your site and excited to try some of your recipes!! Just wanted to post to suggest that maybe you could use grated cheese, if you stick to Pecorino Romano. Pecorino is sheep’s milk (Parmesan is cow’s milk). I actually use Pecorino all the time because I like it so much better! It’s saltier than other cheeses, so you may have to lay off the salt (or cut it entirely, adding a sprinkle at the table after tasting).

  29. Tracey says

    I just made this sauce and it is absolutely heaven! I am always looking for new recipes to try and I will be back to your website, again and again. Just so you know my 11 year old daughter even gave it the thumbs up! Thank you.

  30. Frances Feldon says

    For recipes with butternut squash, or other hard squashes, it is much easier – and more flavorful – to just halve the squash, remove seeds and roast in oven until soft. Peeling seeding and cubing hard squash is labor intensive and time consuming.

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