Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian

Bringing in September with a Pumpkin “Meat” Sauce


It’s September, so that means it has to be pumpkin season, right? This was an impromptu dinner from last fall that I posted to my Instagram. After many requests for a formal recipe, I’m happy to say I’ve finally written one. (Albeit a year later since I forgot all about this one, oops.) I give you –drumroll please — Gnocchi in a Tomato Pumpkin “Meat” Sauce. I like starting with random ingredients and seeing how they come together by the end, and that’s exactly how this meal started. Pumpkin purée thickens the tomato-based sauce, while zucchini melts and melds into the sauce. Italian flavors honor the “meatless” version of this dish, using a vegan-based “meat,” pairing perfecting with gnocchi. No pumpkin spice flavors here!

Ingredients (serves 4).

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 t light olive oil
  • 1 package (16 oz) meatless beef like Beyond Ground Beef *
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned (or finely chopped)
  • 2 c (one 15 oz can) diced tomatoes, divided
  • 1 c pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t dried basil
  • 1/4 t dried thyme
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 package (about 3 c) pumpkin gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan to garnish (omit if vegan/dairy-free)
  • Red pepper flakes to garnish (optional)
*NOTE: Beyond Ground Beef still has a pretty high fat content, but it uses plant-based protein without incorporating soy and has a “meaty” flavor and texture. I also quite like Gardein Beefless Ground, which is finely crumbled, gluten-free, and has the lowest fat content for vegan meat. Finely chopped carrots and mushrooms also give a nice, meaty texture. You can always swap in ground beef, turkey, or chicken if you want a true meat sauce.


  1. In a large sauté pan, heat oil, garlic and onions over medium heat. Sauté until fragrant and onions are tender.
  2. Add Beyond meat (or “meat” of choice; see note) and stir in zucchini. Sauté until zucchini  is tender and “meat” is crumbling.
  3. Purée 1 c of diced tomatoes. Add puréed tomatoes to pan with remaining diced tomatoes, pumpkin, oregano, basil, and thyme. Cover and reduce to a simmer, 10-15 min.
  4. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi according to package directions. Once cooked, toss with sauce and folding parsley.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Divide gnocchi and sauce between four dishes. Garnish with parmesan and red pepper flakes (both optional).
  7. Enjoy!

Inspired by my recipe for a Creamy Tomato Pumpkin Sauce.

Nutrition for 1 of 4 servings (using Beyond ground beef).
502 calories  •  21 g fat (40%)  •  47 g carbs (38%)  •  26.7 g protein (22%)  •  9.2 g fiber  •  12.3 g sugar  •  780 mg sodium
* These are estimates based off specific products I used and how I entered ingredients in a fitness tracker. This is completely subjective and used to give a rough nutritional estimate.



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