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Carrot Sauce for Pasta

Carrot sauce for pasta is rich, creamy and so easy to make. This savory, slightly sweet carrot pasta sauce is a wonderful alternative to traditional tomato based sauces. Rich in flavor and packed with nutrition, this carrot sauce is ready in just 20 minutes and pairs perfectly with your favorite pasta.

Carrot sauce pasta in a large silver pot with carrots in the background.
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Why you will love this recipe

  • Simple ingredients – this carrot sauce for pasta is packed with flavor but made from very simple ingredients. You likely have everything you need to make this carrot pasta recipe in your fridge or pantry right now. This carrot sauce recipe is vegan, low in fat, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, and Whole30 friendly.
  • Budget friendly – carrots are so budget friendly! This entire dish is made with simple pantry staples which means that this recipe is great to keep in the monthly rotation as it’s very low in cost.
  • Easy to make – making carrot sauce for pasta is simple. Chop the veggies, saute the veggies until they start to caramelize then blend into a sauce. You can even prep the veggies in advance if you are short on time.
  • Great for meal prep or freezer prep – this carrot sauce freezes very well and can be made up to 3 days in advance before you pour it over the pasta.
Ingredients to make carrot pasta sauce on marble countertop.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil – olive oil is used to cook the vegetables. Use whatever oil you keep on hand for this. You could also use avocado oil, coconut oil or even ghee or butter if you want that buttery flavor.
  • Onion – I recommend a yellow or white onion for this (as red onions may impact the color of the overall dish). The onions and garlic provide a deep base flavor for the dish. They get sweet and are extremely savory, especially when they get caramelized in a hot pan.
  • Garlic – garlic also provides a deep base flavor for the carrot pasta sauce. The garlic flavor doesn’t overpower the carrots but really helps to create a balance between sweet and savory.
  • Carrots – carrots provide the bulk of the flavor in this dish. Carrots are naturally sweet and when they are cooked at a high heat with the onions and garlic they get a caramelized, slightly smoky flavor that is so delicious. Be sure to use fresh carrots for the best flavor.
  • Vegetable broth – vegetable broth is my secret ingredient anytime I’m trying to make a sauce taste like it’s been cooking all day. It’s so much more flavorful than water and provides a deep base level of flavor for any sauce. You can also use chicken broth if you are not vegan or vegetarian.
  • Tomato paste – tomato paste provides in intense tomato flavor and umami to the sauce. If you do not tolerate tomatoes, you can omit this ingredient and add an additional tablespoon of the coconut aminos.
  • Coconut aminos – coconut aminos are a gluten free and soy free alternative to soy sauce. They add a salty, savory flavor to the sauce and really help to deepen the flavor. You can also use gluten free tamari or soy sauce, however it should be noted that coconut aminos are slightly sweeter than soy sauce and a little less salty.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, dried thyme – salt helps to amplify all the flavors in the dish, garlic powder adds umami and a slight garlic flavor, which furthers the savory quality of the sauce. Dried thyme pairs so well with carrots, if you don’t have it on hand, you can use dried parsley or italian seasoning.

How to make carrot sauce for pasta

Start by preheating a large skillet (cast iron or stainless steel is best) over medium high heat and putting a large pot of water on high heat.

While the skillet is preheating, chop the onions, chop the garlic and slice the carrots. Try to slice the carrots into coins of similar thickness so they will cook evenly.

Chopped onion, garlic and sliced carrots on a wood cutting board.

When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and onions. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.

Chopped onion in a cast iron skillet.

Once the onions start to soften and get some color on them, add the garlic and carrots. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Sliced carrots added to cast iron skillet with cooked onions.

When the water starts to boil, add the pasta. If you are using a gluten free pasta, cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the minimum time on the box indicates (for example if it says cook for 9-11 minutes, put the timer on for 7 minutes). If you are using a lentil or chickpea based pasta, cook for 1 minute less than the minimum time.

Hand dropping pasta in pot full of boiling water.

When the carrots are soft and starting to caramelize, they are ready to be made into a sauce. Remove them from the heat and add them to a blender or a large bowl to be blended with an immersion blender. Add the vegetable broth, tomato paste, coconut aminos and spices to the carrots. Blend until smooth.

Right before the pasta is done cooking, reserve about ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the pot.

Glass measuring cup being dipped in pasta water.

Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add the carrot pasta sauce and stir well. Add about ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid and stir well. Put the pot back on the stove over medium low heat and cook 2-3 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

Top tips

  • Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining it. The pasta water helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
  • Blend the carrot sauce with an immersion blender or a high speed blender. I recommend using an immersion blender or a blender that has a top so you can vent the blender in case there is a lot of excess heat from the carrots. Since the vegetable broth is at room temperature this is less of a concern but still something to consider. I don’t recommend blending the carrots in a bullet style blender unless you  have time to let them cool slightly first.
  • Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than recommended on the package for gluten free pasta or 1 minute less than chickpea or lentil based pasta. This ensures that the pasta doesn’t get overcooked when you are cooking the sauce with the pasta at the end.
  • You can make this carrot sauce for pasta even creamier by adding soaked cashews, hemp hearts or white beans.
Wooden spoon resting in pot full of carrot pasta.

Carrot pasta additions

  • Spice: Red pepper flakes
  • Creaminess: Add soaked raw cashews (1/2 cup), hemp hearts (1/2 cup) or 1 cup white beans. Note that adding this to the sauce may require you to add a pinch more salt.
  • Brightness: Add the juice of ½ -1 lemon or lime
  • Cheesiness: Add 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, ¼ cup of parmesan or feta cheese (regular or dairy free alternatives)
  • Fresh herbs: add fresh thyme, flat leaf parsley or basil

How to serve carrot pasta sauce

Salad – Green salad with creamy italian dressing, Greek salad with kalamata olive dressing, shredded brussel sprouts with creamy balsamic dressing, tomato basil salad

Soup frozen vegetable soup, Mediterranean vegetable soup

With protein10 minute italian chicken cubes, shredded chicken, shrimp, balsamic tofu, chickpeas, white beans

Appetizer spinach artichoke stuffed mushrooms, air fryer tomatoes, white bean pesto with crackers and vegetables

Common questions

What is the best pasta to serve with this carrot sauce

This carrot sauce is creamy and delicious and like most tomato based pasta sauce, it pairs well with just about any shape pasta. Some of my favorites include:

  • Fettuccini – the long strands of pasta are so fun to twirl up on your fork and enjoy
  • Penne – the carrot sauce gets trapped in the long tubes of the penne and the sauce almost burst in your mouth when you take a bite.
  • Rotini – the carrot pasta sauce gets trapped by the swirls of the pasta, making it a great way to get even more sauce in every bite.
  • Elbow – much like macaroni and cheese, the carrot sauce gets trapped in the small tubes of pasta creates a super flavorful dish.

To make this recipe even more filling, you can use a lentil pasta or chickpea based pasta instead of regular gluten free pasta. I really love green lentil pasta, red lentil pasta or chickpea pasta where the only ingredient is chickpeas.

Carrot pasta twirled around a fork on a white plate.

Can you make this low carb?

Carrots are a little higher in carbs than tomatoes, so this sauce is higher in carbs when compared to tomato sauce. However you can still reduce the overall carbs by serving this carrot pasta sauce with something other than traditional pasta like:

  • Zucchini noodles – zucchini noodles (sometimes called zoodles) are such a fun alternative to pasta. They are easy to make and don’t require any cooking in advance. The hot pasta sauce will soften the noodles slightly. Note that cooking the noodles can make them mushy.
  • Spaghetti squash – spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta. Once cooked, the flesh of the spaghetti squash turns into thin strands of squash that look just like spaghetti. Spaghetti squash can take a bit longer to cook, be sure to check out my tips on how to make spaghetti squash fast!
  • Rutabaga noodlesrutabaga noodles are my go-to when you want that thick noodle texture like fettucine. The rutabaga noodles will need to cook in a large saute pan until soft, don’t boil them like pasta.  
  • Hearts of palm pasta – this cooks up just like pasta but in less time. You boil the hearts of palm pasta then add the sauce. Super easy and very tasty!

Can you make this without a blender?

If you don’t have a blender or an immersion blender, you can make the sauce in a food processor. Add the cooked carrots, onion and garlic to the food processor with the tomato paste, coconut aminos, spices and about ½ of a cup of vegetable broth. Process on high until smooth. Add the sauce and the rest of the vegetable broth to the pot with the pasta and stir well.

Can you prep carrot sauce in advance?

This pasta sauce with carrots is great prepped in advance. You can make the sauce up to 3 days before you want to serve it and store the sauce in the fridge. Alternatively, you can make the sauce and freeze it up to 3 months in advance. Just be sure to defrost it in the fridge or heat over medium low heat in a covered pot until the sauce has defrosted completely before serving.

When you are ready to serve, cook the pasta as indicated in the instructions above (2 minutes less than the box indicates). Reserve some of the liquid from the pasta water before draining the pasta. Combine the pasta, carrot sauce and about ¼ cup of the pasta water in the pot and heat through 3-4 minutes until the sauce has warmed through and started to thicken slightly.

Wooden spoon holding pasta with carrot sauce.

Does this sauce freeze well?

Yes! This healthy carrot spaghetti sauce freezes very well and would be great for freezer prep. Let the sauce cool completely before transferring it to a freezer safe container. I like to pour it into Soupercubes to freeze into 2 cup blocks for easier storage. Once frozen, simply pop the blocks out and store them in a freezer safe bag (Stasher bags are my go-to for this).

When you are ready to serve the sauce, defrost in the fridge overnight or add the sauce to a pot over medium low heat and cook covered for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has completely defrosted.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Store leftover carrot pasta in the fridge for up to 5 days (if you are making the carrot sauce fresh). The pasta may get a little soft in the fridge but the flavor will still be there.
  • Reheat in the microwave or on the stove in a small saucepan with a lid over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until heated through. You may need to add a touch of water when reheating on the stove.
  • Freezer: Freeze pasta with carrot sauce for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag or container. Defrost in the fridge or reheat in the microwave or on the stove on low heat in a small saucepan with a lid 10-15 minutes or until completely heated through.
Carrot sauce pasta in a large grey bowl, carrots in the background.

Substitutions

  • Olive oil – the oil is used to help cook the vegetables. Use whatever oil you have on hand.  You can use avocado oil, coconut oil, or even ghee or butter.
  • Onion – use white onion, yellow onion or even red onion in a pinch. You could also add 2-3 shallots in place of the onions. Note that red onion and shallots may make the sauce a little darker in color. If you don’t have onions on hand, you can omit them or add about ¼ cup of green onions for the same flavor.
  • Garlic – if you don’t have garlic on hand, simply omit it from the recipe.
  • Carrots – carrots really are the star of the recipe. I don’t recommend substituting them with anything. If you don’t have a full pound of carrots, you can add some roasted red pepper to mimic the sweet/savory qualities of the carrots.
  • Vegetable broth – if you don’t have vegetable broth, you can use vegetable stock, chicken broth, chicken stock or even bone broth. You could also use vegetable bouillon with water in place of the vegetable broth.
  • Tomato paste – tomato paste is hard to mimic in flavor. If you don’t have it on hand or can’t have tomatoes, omit it and add an additional tablespoon of the coconut aminos.
  • Coconut aminos – a good substitute would be gluten free tamari or soy sauce.
  • Spices – if you don’t have dried thyme, you can use dried parsley, herbs de provence or italian seasoning. If you don’t have garlic powder, you can use onion powder or dried garlic granules or simply omit it from the recipe.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Homemade Marinara

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

Lemon Tahini Pasta Sauce

Tahini Pesto Sauce

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Large grey bowl filled with carrot sauce pasta.

Carrot Sauce for Pasta

Carrot sauce with pasta is slightly sweet, savory and easy to make. Ready in just 20 minutes, this creamy carrot sauce is perfect with pasta and freezes well also. Great for meal prep too! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, paleo or Whole30 friendly.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner, sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: carrot pasta sauce, carrot sauce for pasta
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  • Chop the onion, garlic and thinly slice the carrots into coins.
  • Once the skillet is preheated, add olive oil and chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the onions soften and become slightly caramelized on the outside, add the garlic and sliced carrots.
  • Cook the carrots for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the package indicates for gluten free pasta. If you are making a lentil pasta or chickpea pasta, cook for 1 less minute than indicated.
  • Once the carrots are soft, remove them from the heat. Add the carrot and onion mixture to the blender with the vegetable broth, tomato paste, coconut aminos, salt, garlic powder and dried thyme. Blend until smooth (you can use the blender or an immersion blender).
  • Right before the pasta is done cooking, remove about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Then drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add the carrot sauce and stir well. Add about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and stir well. Add more if needed.

Notes

Top tips
  • Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining it. The pasta water helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
  • Blend the carrot sauce with an immersion blender or a high speed blender. I recommend using an immersion blender or a blender that has a top so you can vent the blender in case there is a lot of excess heat from the carrots. Since the vegetable broth is at room temperature this is less of a concern but still something to consider. I don’t recommend blending the carrots in a bullet style blender unless you  have time to let them cool slightly first.
  • Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than recommended on the package for gluten free pasta or 1 minute less than chickpea or lentil based pasta. This ensures that the pasta doesn’t get overcooked when you are cooking the sauce with the pasta at the end.
  • You can make this carrot sauce for pasta even creamier by adding soaked cashews, hemp hearts or white beans.
Other additions
  • Spice: Red pepper flakes
  • Creaminess: Add soaked raw cashews (1/2 cup), hemp hearts (1/2 cup) or 1 cup white beans. Note that adding this to the sauce may require you to add a pinch more salt.
  • Brightness: Add the juice of ½ -1 lemon or lime
  • Cheesiness: Add 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, ¼ cup of parmesan or feta cheese (regular or dairy free alternatives)
  • Fresh herbs: add fresh thyme, flat leaf parsley or basil
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Store leftover carrot pasta in the fridge for up to 5 days (if you are making the carrot sauce fresh). The pasta may get a little soft in the fridge but the flavor will still be there.
  • Reheat in the microwave or on the stove in a small saucepan with a lid over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until heated through. You may need to add a touch of water when reheating on the stove.
  • Freezer: Freeze pasta with carrot sauce for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag or container. Defrost in the fridge or reheat in the microwave or on the stove on low heat in a small saucepan with a lid 10-15 minutes or until completely heated through.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
439
Fat
 
6
g
Carbohydrates
 
82
g
Fiber
 
7
g
Sugar
 
10
g
Protein
 
15
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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