Easy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Quite possibly our favorite pasta sauce of all time, this kid-friendly butternut squash pasta sauce recipe goes great over any kind of pasta and makes enough to freeze for a busy night. Easily vegan or dairy-free, and takes just 15 minutes of active prep time.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this butternut squash pasta sauce recipe — and by waiting I definitely mean hoarding. 

Don’t believe me? Just look in my freezer.

Fellow sauce-loving friends: let me introduce you to my go-to creamy pasta sauce for any and all pasta, this simple, sweet, and savory Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.

butternut squash sauce with ravioli

Winter squash simmered in broth with onion, garlic, and fresh sage, then pureed to smooth perfection — it’s not just my favorite sauce; it’s a big hit with the kids, too. I’ve made more than 100 times, and we still can’t get enough.

The best part about this creamy sauce, besides the excuse it gives me to dive head first into a big ol’ bowl of pasta with zero regrets, is that it makes enough to bathe not one but two pounds of dry pasta. That’s a lot of pasta, friends, so unless you’re feeding a crowd, you’ll most likely have another whole batch to freeze for another night!

This cook once, eat twice strategy is one of my favorite ways to maximize my precious productive time during the week.

Why I love this butternut squash sauce 

  • The whole family loves it (kids included!) 
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Simple ingredients
  • Ingredients can be chopped in advance 
  • Makes a double batch so you can freeze a portion for another night

Ingredients for this butternut squash pasta sauce recipe

This delicious pasta sauce contains just a few simple ingredients. Given the shelf-life of the squash and onions, I might even go so far as to call them pantry staples! Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Olive oil
  • Butternut squash (about 2 ½ pounds whole)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sage (optional but recommended)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Grated Parmesan cheese 

Helpful tips & tools to make this recipe

  • Peeling and chopping the squash is the hardest part of making this sauce. To save time, grab a bag of pre-peeled and chopped butternut squash at the store. 
  • I recommend peeling the squash whole until you get to the bright orange flesh. Depending on how thick the skin is, this might take 1-3 go-arounds with the peeler. 
  • Once peeled, cut the squash horizontally in the middle, separating the skinny top from the wider bottom. Then slice each section in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out from the bottom portion. Cut each section into 1” slices and then each slice into cubes. 
  • This recipe makes a double batch of sauce. If you plan on freezing some of the sauce (and you should!), portion out what you will freeze before adding the Parmesan cheese. The cheese is added to the pot with the hot pasta and sauce just before serving and helps thicken the sauce.  
  • If you come across a massive squash at the grocery store (like 3 ¾ ish pounds), BUY IT. You can scale up the other ingredients and get an additional portion to freeze for the same amount of work!
  • Make sure your pasta is al dente, or even a smidge under. This will prevent the pasta from becoming overcooked as it will continue to soften as you heat it in the sauce.
  • To take things to the next level, top your pasta with some crispy pancetta, similar to this Instant Pot Butternut Risotto. YUM.
  • Equipment I use (and love) to make this recipe: OXO Y Vegetable Peeler | Chef’s knife | Staub Dutch ovenVitamix blender | Large mason jars for freezing extra sauce

How to make butternut squash pasta sauce

To make the sauce, start by sauteing the squash, onion, garlic, and sage for about 10 minutes on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Then, add your broth. Increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about half and the squash is very soft. 

Cool the squash-broth mixture slightly before pureeing everything together. A high-speed blender will yield the silkiest sauce, but an immersion blender works well too, and makes cleanup even easier!

If serving immediately, combine 3 cups of sauce and ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese for every 1 pound of dry pasta cooked, and freeze the rest. Portion and top with additional Parmesan, salt, and freshly ground pepper, if desired. 

Once cooled, you can freeze the remaining sauce in an airtight container or freezer bag, freezing bags flat and stacking them afterward to save space.

How to serve this sauce 

This squash sauce is best served over freshly cooked pasta. Any shape will do, but I gravitate toward rigatoni or good linguine. For a more satisfying meal and boost of fiber, use whole wheat or lentil pasta. 

  • Boil a large pot of water (generously salted, of course) and cook your pasta according to package instructions. When al dente, or a smidge under,  drain the pasta and set it aside.
  • Add 3 cups of pureed sauce to the pasta pot and warm over medium heat for a few minutes. Once the sauce is hot, add the pasta back to the pot. Stir to combine and heat for a few minutes. 
  • When the pasta and sauce are hot, stir in your Parmesan cheese. Top with additional Parmesan, flaky sea salt, and freshly ground pepper, and serve.

 Freezing tips

Extra sauce can be frozen in freezer bags or glass Mason jars. 

  • To freeze in a freezer bag, press out as much of the air as possible when sealing and lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet to freeze. Stack the bags once frozen. 
  • Plan to freeze 3 cups of sauce for every 1 pound of uncooked pasta you plan to pair it with. If you typically cook less than a full pound of pasta, portion accordingly when freezing. 
  • If you prefer to freeze this sauce in a glass container, I recommend these 32-ounce mason jars which hold a full 3 cups (the amount you’ll want for 1 pound of dry pasta) with plenty of space for the sauce to expand.
  • For the best taste and texture, enjoy frozen sauce within 4 months.

Other easy pasta recipes you might like

butternut squash sauce recipe closeup of sauce on a spoon with jars of sauce in background
Print
Recipe

Easy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

This kid-friendly butternut squash sauce goes great over any kind of pasta and makes enough to freeze for another night. Easily vegan or dairy-free.

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    45 minutes
  • Makes:
    6 cups 1x
  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    45 minutes
  • Makes:
    6 cups 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 pounds peeled and seeded butternut squash, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 4 ½ cups)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan (⅓ cup per batch, see notes)

    Instructions

    1. Saute the squash, onion, garlic, and sage. Heat the oil In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, garlic, and sage. Season with salt and pepper and cook, occasionally stirring, until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. 
    2. Add broth & simmer. Add the broth. Increase the heat to bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by about half, about 15–20 minutes. 
    3. Cool slightly and puree. Let cool slightly, then purée everything in a blender until very smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper.
    4. Eat half, freeze half. If serving over pasta, return half of the sauce back to the pot, stir in the cooked pasta of choice and ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Portion and top with additional Parmesan, salt, and freshly ground pepper, if desired. Once cooled, freeze the remaining sauce in an airtight container.
    5.  

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Recipe Notes

    This recipe makes a double batch of sauce (3 cups sauce per pound of dry pasta), so enjoy half and freeze half for another night. For the best consistency, hold off on adding the cheese to the sauce you’ll be freezing. It’s best when combined with warmed sauce and hot, freshly cooked pasta just before serving. See the Freezing tips section above for all the details.

    Ingredient Notes

    • Parmesan cheese: Add ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese for every 3 cups sauce (half a batch) and 1 pound dry pasta. Add the cheese just before serving, to warmed sauce and hot, freshly cooked pasta.
    • For a vegan sauce: Use vegetable broth and substitute nutritional yeast for the Parmesan
    • For a dairy-free sauce: Substitute nutritional yeast for the Parmesan

    Ingredient Prep 

    • Grate the Parmesan cheese up to 2 weeks in advance.
    • Chop the butternut squash and onion up to 5 days in advance.

    Little Helpers 

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help:

    • Toddlers: Add oil, onion, and squash to the pot (closely supervised); peel the garlic, help with pureeing
    • Little Kids: Chop the onion; peel and chop the garlic
    • Big Kids: Give them the recipe (maybe you chop the squash, though) and see how they do!

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition calculation is for the sauce itself (no pasta) and includes the Parmesan cheese. 

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1/2 cup sauce
    • Calories: 86
    • Sugar: 2 g
    • Sodium: 268 mg
    • Fat: 4 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 11 g
    • Fiber: 2 g
    • Protein: 3 g
    • Cholesterol: 5 mg

    Did you make this recipe?
    We wanna see!

    Tag @modminimalism on Instagram and hashtag it #modernminimalism

    If you make this creamy butternut sauce, please leave a review and give this recipe a rating! Ratings and comments help other busy parents and families discover this recipe. It really makes a difference. Plus, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to every comment.

    Pin this Recipe

    closeup of butternut squash pasta ravioli and spoon with butternut squash sauce with title text overlay

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe rating

    • This sauce is outstanding. And the fact that it makes enough for two family-sized pasta dinners and freezes well is a huge bonus. We will be adding this to our regular rotation of favorites!

    • I love the look of this recipe as part of my weaning journey with my son! How long could this sauce last in the fridge before I commit to freezing it?

      • Hi Rochelle! I’d say easily 3-5 days before you’d need to freeze it. Hope you and your son love it!

    • Absolutely love this recipe! My picky eater also loves this one. It also freezes well. I have made it with bacon added or chicken sausage and both were terrific. Thank you!!!!

      • Nice addition with the bacon and chicken sausage! I’m so glad you and your little one loved it. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review. 🙂