Meat Free Monday: Pasta with Pumpkin and Vegetarian Sausage

by Deena on October 24, 2011

A friend of mine recently mentioned that she had made Rachel Ray’s Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage recipe and how she loved it.   Personally, I’m not a fan of pumpkin at all; well, except for my friend Leigh’s pumpkin whoopie pies, that are to die for.  Otherwise, anything pumpkin filled or flavored I’ll pass on.  My husband on the other-hand has the exact opposite relationship with pumpkin – he can’t get enough of it.  So. when I heard about the pumpkin pasta recipe it was a no-brainer that I was going to fix it for him.  Plus, I thought I could probably figure out how to make it vegetarian – thus fulfilling my Meat Free Monday article need also. 🙂

So I made the edits mentioned in the ingredients and directions below and fixed this dish for my family.  I had a hunch my husband would like it but I wasn’t sure about the boys.  So, when I was serving them I just said it was pasta with sauce.  And I’ll admit I was surprised when nobody commented on the fact that the sauce was more orange than red.  All 4 males in my household scrapped their plates clean and a couple of them went back for seconds.  Sometime after the first few bites, and them all saying how delicious it was, I did finally tell them it was pumpkin sauce. They all loved it.  Personally, I thought it was a little sweet for me; but then I also don’t like pumpkin so if you like pumpkin then ignore my  review and go with the boys.  I will definitely make this again since there are very few dishes that all 4 of my boys will eat without complaints.

Below is Rachel Ray’s recipe however with my modifications in parenthesis to make it vegetarian:


  • 2 TBs Olive Oil
  • 1 pound sausage  (Morningstar,or other brand vegetarian sausage chopped)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBs sage leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (vegetable stock)
  • 16 oz canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Penne pasta (whole wheat)
  • Parmesan Cheese (topping)


1. Cook the vegetarian sausage according to the package directions.  Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add a tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

2. Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. (I added more quantity of the seasonings than the recipe called for.) Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

3. Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute.

4. Garnish the pasta with Parmesan cheese.

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