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Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta

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Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta is creamy and rich, one-pot cheese-free pasta. It can be made in an Instant pot and also an open pot. It uses a few vegetables and is completely dairy-free.

Close up look of pasta served in a blue bowl. Seen in the background is some flowers.

I started making this Pasta long back. At that time I did not realize that I am not adding cheese to the pasta. Pasta without cheese was unheard of before a couple of years ago. The pasta gets its creamy texture from butternut squash. So in short you do not miss the cheese. You can however add cheese if you like.

So what is Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is also known as butternut pumpkin or gramma is a type of squash that grows on wine. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of pumpkin. I have detailed about his squash in my earlier post on Whole Wheat Butternut Squash and Apple muffins.

Yes, you can make some healthy muffins from this squash. And let me tell you that Butternut Squash is easily replaceable by pumpkin. So if you do not have butternut squash you can replace it with pumpkin.

Come fall and winter we get Squash here in abundance. It is so easily available and you literally cannot escape from buying it. Earlier I used to be very reluctant to buy this gem. The reason is the process of peeling and cutting. However, with time, I have got some easier and quicker ways to do that. So I really love to enjoy this vegetable when it is available in season.

Recipes with Butternut Squash or Pumpkin

I make a few recipes with Squash and pumpkin. I like to make this Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffle, Pumpkin Bundt Cake, or this Vegan Butternut Squash Ravioli. As said, these veggies are replaceable, so I replace them as required.

Why Butternut Squash in Pasta

I like to add this Butternut Squash to pasta for various reasons. First, it adds a natural color to Pasta. Secondly, we do not need cheese as it is naturally creamy. Third, a good way to incorporate some veggies into a kid’s diet.

Earlier I used to make this or any Pasta in an open pot. I.e. First Boil and drain the pasta. Then cook the gravy or the pasta sauce and then mix it all. Once I started making this in Instant Pot, there was no turning back.

Close up look of pasta bowl served in a blue bowl.

Pasta in Instant Pot

Cooking Pasta in an Instant pot is a breeze. It is like throwing all the ingredients in the Instant pot and letting it do its magic. It is time-saving and does not need any babysitting. You get a one-pot easy dish within minutes.

The pasta in the Instant pot comes out nice and soft. We love our pasta a little on the softer side. Not hard or just cooked. 

Secondly, as the water in which the pasta is cooked is not drained the natural starch is retained. So the pasta is naturally rich and thick. So for me, this Instant Pot method is a win-win.

Tips while cooking in Instant Pot

However, when you cook Pasta or noodles in an Instant pot, you need to keep a few things in mind. When the cooking is done, you just wait for 4-5 minutes and then release the pressure manually. 

If you wait for the pressure to release naturally, the pasta or noodles will soak all the liquid and become quite mushy and soggy. If you want that texture it is fine, but then who wants that except if you are feeding a baby. So keep that in mind.

Close up look of pasta as seen on fork. Seen in the background is a bowl of pasta with some flowers on the side.

Quantity of Water while cooking in Instant Pot

Generally, the same quantity of water is added as you use the quantity of pasta in cup measurement. I.e. if you are using 1 cup of pasta add 1 cup of water. If using 2 add 2 cups of water. 

But this holds true if you are just cooking it without any pasta sauce. If you are using pasta sauce or making the sauce too along with the pasta, the quantity of water will reduce. So in this recipe, as I am cooking the pasta sauce along, I would need to reduce the quantity of water. I would reduce the quantity by 1/4 cup for every cup added.

You can give this a try for the first the first time. As the quantity of water will also depend on the type of pasta used. Some absorb more water and some less. So after your first trial, you can increase or decrease the quantity of liquid as needed.

Also do not worry if your pasta turns a bit on the runny side. Switch on the sautee mode and let it cook further. This will thicken the liquid and you will get the consistency you desire.

Time In Instant Pot while cooking in Instant Pot

At first, you will find it difficult to understand the cooking time. But it is an easy process. There is simple math to do so. You divide the cooking total time mentioned in the package by half. And then subtract 2 minutes from it. If it is an odd number take the lowest number and then divide by half and subtract.

So if your pasta box says 13 minutes of cooking time, the nearest even lower number is 12, then divide by 2 will become 6. Subtracting 2 makes it 4 minutes. So the cooking time is 4 minutes on a high-pressure.

If your pasta box says 10 minutes of cooking time, divide the number by 2. So it will be 5 and then subtracting 2 minutes will be 3 minutes of pressure-cooking time

After the cooking is over, you need to wait for 5 minutes for natural release. Then switch the release to Venting and let all the pressure release. Once the pressure releases completely you are good to open it.

Example Package TimeMath/CalculationCook Time
11 minutes(10/2)-23 minutes
14 minutes(14/2)-25 minutes
4 minutes(4/2)-20 minutes
5 minutes(4/2)/20 minutes


For cooking small size pasta, the time would be much lower. Like 4 or 5 minutes mentioned in the package box. So in this case the pressure cooking time turns out to be 0 minutes. So just pressure cook the pasta without adding any time. I.e. The natural time of any pressure cooking in an Instant Pot. In other words, it will take the time required to cook the pasta naturally. 

Close up look of pasta bowl served in a blue bowl.

Recipe Process of Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta

So for today’s Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta recipe, I am making the pasta sauce in the Instant pot and then adding the uncooked pasta, water and letting it cook.

Making of Pasta Sauce

First I have used onions, garlic, and onion in olive oil. Then I added a few bell peppers and grated butternut squash along with tomato puree to make the sauce. Mixed herbs like Oregano, basil, parsley and salt are added to flavor and a little bit of black pepper for a spicy kick.

Replacements in the Pasta Sauce

One can skip bell peppers completely or add any other veggie like mushrooms. I have grated the squash and added, one can even puree it and add. 

Do not worry if you grate it and add, the squash does not get noticed by picky eaters. I have also added tomato pasta sauce to this, you can skip this too if you need it tomato-free. Just add an equivalent amount of water and increase the quantity of butternut squash.

Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta is creamy and rich, one-pot cheese-free and dairy-free pasta made in an instant pot or open pot. Close up look of the pasta picked up on a fork.

Vegan butternut squash pasta

Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta is creamy and rich, one-pot cheese-free and dairy-free pasta made in an instant pot or open pot.
5 from 9 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Dairy Free, Instant Pot Recipes, One Pot Meal, Vegan, Vegetables
Servings: 6 People
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre


  • 3 Cup -357 grams – Pasta (Gluten or Gluten-Free) -I have used Durum Wheat Penne Pasta
  • 2 + ¼ Cup water -For Instant Pot Method
  • 1 Litre Water -For Open pot method, i.e. to cook the pasta first
  • 1 teaspoon grated/minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated/minced garlic
  • 1 cup – 280 grams – grated butternut squash -Pumpkin will also work
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup mixed bell peppers thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup -295 grams – Tomato Puree -or Tomato Pasta Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Mixed Herbs -Oregano, Basil, Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt


  • Slice the onions. I like to use my mandoline slicer for an even cut.
    Sliced Onion
  • Slice the Bell peppers
    Sliced Bell Pepper
  • Grate the ginger and garlic and keep it aside
  • Make tomato puree from fresh tomatoes, or used store bought.

Cooking in Instant pot

  • Switch on the Instant Pot to Saute mode
    Instant pot set to Saute mode
  • Add in the oil.
    Oil in Instant Pot
  • Once hot add in the ginger and garlic and saute for a few seconds.
    Garlic and Ginger in Instant Pot
  • Now add the onion and again saute for 1 minute until slightly translucent.
  • Now add the grated butternut squash and a little salt.
    Cooking of Butternut Squash
  • Let it cook further for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree/sauce, mixed herbs and give everything a quick mix.
    Adding Tomato puree in in the Instant Pot
  • Now add the pasta
    Adding Pasta in the Instant Pot
  • Add water and adjust salt
    Adding Water
  • Give it a quick mix.
  • Close the Instant pot lid.
  • Cancel the Saute mode and set it on pressure cooker mode , with sealing position on.
  • Cook it for the 3 minutes, on pressure cook mode. Check Notes above for timing.
  • Once the cooking time is over, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, switch the vent to venting.
  • Manual release all the pressure.
  • Once the pressure is released, open the instant pot lid.
    Cooked Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta
  • If required adjust the consistency of the sauce by cooking it on Saute mode further.
  • Once done, switch off and serve hot.

Cooking in Open pot

  • In a large pot, bring 1 litre water to boil.
  • Cook the pasta as per the instructions specified in the package.
  • Once cooked, let the pasta drain.
  • Now in a pot, add oil.
  • Once hot add in the ginger and garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add the onion and again saute for 1 minute until slightly translucent.
  • Now add the grated butternut squash and a little salt.
  • Let it cook further for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree/sauce, mixed herbs and give everything a quick mix.
  • Now add the cooked pasta and adjust salt as needed.
  • Let the pasta cook for 4-5 minutes, so that all the vegetables and the herbs are coated to the pasta.
  • Switch off and serve hot.
  • If needed one can add cheese.



  • Standard US Cup Sizes are used.
  • One can use cheese if required.
  • Manual release is necessary after 5 min of natural release while cooking in the instant pot, else the pasta will get soggy.
  • Read above on how to calculate timings for cooking in Instant Pot.
  • For Variations to this recipe, read above on what can be substituted.
  • For the Gluten-Free variant do use Gluten-free Pasta. It would be delicious. 
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu_ad or tag #cookwithrenu_ad
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.


This post was originally created on 3rd November 2014. Earlier I use to cook using open pot method. Today I have added the instructions for Instant post and updated my pics. Recipe remains the same.

Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta is creamy and rich, one-pot cheese-free and dairy-free pasta made in an instant pot or open pot. Close up look of the pasta picked up on a fork.

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Recipe Rating


Tuesday 26th of January 2021

I love butternut squash and I've never thought of adding it to pasta before. What a beautiful dish. I can't wait to try it.

Thank you for linking up to #CookBlogShare x

Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

YUM! I love butternut squash with pasta :-D

Corina Blum

Saturday 23rd of January 2021

The flavours in this sauce are so good! I really need to try a butternut squash sauce with pasta.

Midge @ Peachicks' Bakery

Friday 22nd of January 2021

YUM!!! This would go down very well with The Peas who love butternut squash in everything especially pasta!


Tuesday 19th of January 2021

This just looks scrumptious! I love how you didn't add cream to make it "creamy", that's the way Italians does. Lots of italian pasta recipes here are without cream and yet, they're creamy enough to enjoy :)

Renu Agrawal Dongre

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Ah, thanks a bunch, that made my day.