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Quick and Easy Weeknight Pumpkin Ragu {gluten free + paleo friendly}

  • Author: Nyssa Tanner
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This quick and easy weeknight pumpkin ragu pasta is the perfect cozy homemade dinner! Made with a flavorful real food ingredient list like onions, garlic, carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes, and organic grass fed ground beef. Pair this easy to make sauce with your favorite pasta & glass of wine for a fancy stay at home Italian meal to nourish your body! Gluten free + paleo friendly.



For the pumpkin ragu

To garnish


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté until soft and starting to caramelize – about 10-12 minutes. Don’t skip giving this step enough time – the caramelization of the onions and carrots creates a super dynamic flavor base for the ragu!
  2. Once the veggies are nice and caramelized, add garlic, thyme, and chili flakes and sauté another minute or so, until garlic and herbs are fragrant. 
  3. Add ground beef or turkey, and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. 
  4. Cook the meat, breaking up with the spatula until cooked through. I like to leave the fat in the sauce for flavor, but at this point you could drain some of it off if you like. 
  5. Add the pumpkin puree and jar of marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. 
  6. Reduce heat so the sauce is at a bare simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flavors have deepened. 
  7. While the sauce simmers cook the pasta according to package instructions. 
  8. When your pasta is ready and drained, add vinegar to the ragu and simmer another minute or two. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired. 
  9. Serve with pasta, and top with freshly grated parmesan (or dairy free parmesan) and a sprinkle of parsley.


  • To make the recipe as quickly as possible prep all of your ingredients before you even turn on the stove. If you’re cooking with your hunny split the prep list and you’ll be diving your fork into a bowl of pumpkin ragu before you know it!
  • Don’t skip out on caramelizing the carrots and onions before you add anything else to the pan. This step adds some totally crave-able depth of flavor that you don’t want to miss out on.
  • This pumpkin ragu can be made with either ground beef or turkey. Ground chicken would also work but I would definitely recommend dark meat, as ground chicken breast would probably be too dry.
  • To keep this recipe:
  • Dairy free – skip the parmesan cheese or opt for some homemade dairy free parmesan!
  • Gluten free – choose a gluten free pasta.
  • Paleo – find a grain free pasta or gnocchi to serve it with, or enjoy the ragu over a roasted sweet potato or some sautéed kale!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: italian

Keywords: pasta, date night, weekday dinner, marinara, beef, turkey, easy dinner, healthy dinner, gluten free