This Creamy Carrot Pasta Sauce is delicious and full of flavor. If you're looking to add a healthier sauce to pasta or gnocchi, you're in the right place. Plus, this veggie packed sauce only takes 45 minutes from start to finish.
When it comes to pasta, I love switching up sauce choices, from classic San Marzano Marinara to Alfredo or Pink Sauce. However, those sauces lack an assortment of veggies, which this sauce is packed with.
This Carrot Pasta Sauce features garlic, shallot, roasted red peppers, and lots of carrots for that bright orange color. It's a must make!
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- Quick and Easy. The perfect recipe to serve on busy weeknights and only takes 45 minutes from start to finish. Most of the time required is from steaming the carrots.
- Minimal Skills Required. This recipe doesn't take much prep work and requires just a bit of chopping veggies.
- Vegetarian Approved. This sauce is meatless and vegetarian friendly.
- Healthy and Flavorful. Carrots are nutrient rich and loaded with antioxidants. They're known to improve vision and increase immunity.
- Budget Friendly. A great sauce to make on a budget and pair with inexpensive pasta.
- Freezer Safe. Double up the recipe and save half in the freezer for another easy weeknight dinner.
Not Pictured: Pasta Water
Carrots: Steamed and softened so when they hit the food processor, they puree into a smooth sauce.
Shallot and Garlic: Roasted in the olive oil to bring in subtle flavors to the carrot sauce.
Roasted Red Bell Peppers: The best addition to balance out the sweetness of the carrots and bring in a slight smoky flavor to the sauce. These are bell peppers and have no heat to them, but they do bring in great flavors.
Pasta Water: The best kept secret to any cream based sauce. Pasta water will thin sauce and prevent it from becoming chunky. It also helps the sauce stick well to the noodles at serving time. It's basically magic.
Heavy Cream: To finish off the sauce and bring in more creamy texture. The cream also adds more liquid to the sauce to make it much more pourable.
*Full recipe ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations:
If you don't have pasta water on hand, substitute with warm vegetable or chicken stock. Make sure to use vegetable stock if you're serving it as vegetarian.
Making this recipe for kids who don't like spicy? Leave the red pepper flakes out. If desired, sprinkle red pepper flakes on top of the adult's portion when serving.
Don't want to peel carrots? Use pre-peeled carrots or a 1 lb bag of baby carrots.
Not big on dairy? Substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk. The taste will be a bit different, but it's still delicious.
Looking for more heat? Add in more crushed red pepper flakes or finely mince a jalapeño or Serrano pepper and sauté with the shallot.
Love parmesan cheese? Top the pasta with grated parmesan before serving.
How to Make Creamy Carrot Pasta Sauce:
Step 1: Add a steamer basket to a pot on the stovetop over medium heat with about 1.5 cups of water in the bottom. Cover and steam the carrots until tender and softened, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the water and set the carrots aside.
Step 2: Boil the pasta in water until al dente. NOTE: Save a full cup of the pasta water towards the end of cooking before draining.
Step 3: While the pasta is boiling, place a dutch oven on the stovetop over medium low heat. Add in the olive oil and allow it to heat up. Toss in the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened, stirring often. Add in the fresh garlic, dried thyme, salt and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Step 4: Turn off the heat and add in the steamed carrots and roasted red peppers with 1 cup of pasta water.
Step 5: Add the ingredients from the dutch oven into a food processor or blender and pulse until completely pureed with no chunks.
Step 6: Wipe out any excess veggies in the dutch oven. Then, pour the carrot puree into the dutch oven and turn heat to medium low. Stir and allow it to warm up for a few minutes. Pour in heavy cream. Cook for another 5 minutes or until hot. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Step 7: Toss the pasta into the warm creamy carrot sauce. Serve into bowls and top with fresh parsley and/or additional red pepper flakes or grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Make sure the carrots have been steamed to where they fall apart when stuck when a fork. They need to be super tender.
- It's really important to use pasta water or substitute the water with stock in order to get the vegetables to puree completely.
Many types of pasta will work great with this recipe. Personally, I used gemelli and recommend using a similar medium sized pasta, like penne, casarecce, or fusilli. They all hold the sauce really well and it tends to stick in their grooves, which is wonderful.
Store the leftover sauce in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Yes! For the best results, allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before storing in vacuum sealed bags in the freezer. Use within 2 months. Allow the sauce to unthaw before heating up on the stovetop in a pan until hot.
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