Vegan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
Vegan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells- stuffed with dairy-free ricotta and a flavorful creamy pumpkin sauce, these stuffed shells are sure to be the star of the show. Perfect to prep ahead for holiday gatherings!
I have fond childhood memories of eating stuffed shells during the holidays. Looking back, I guess it was just the consequence of having an Italian grandfather, who also happened to make an excellent loaf of bread. I’m not so sure what his first impressions of me stuffing pasta shells with tofu would be but I bet he would have been willing to try them!
I would be more than confident serving them to him too because they are like WOW-level good. I tend to go for the faux-turkey as the main event when we cook at home but these are more than worthy of being the star of the show.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
The ingredient list and instructions might come off as overwhelming but I promise you they are easy to make and you can find most everything in your pantry, minus the frozen spinach and tofu.
To sum up how to make them:
- In a blender, combine the tofu with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Press the excess water from the frozen and thawed spinach. Stir together with tofu ricotta in a large bowl and set aside.
- Next, blend the pumpkin puree with cooked shallot and garlic, vegetable bouillon, nutritional yeast, vinegar, smoked paprika, sage, salt & pepper and water until a smooth creamy sauce forms. Taste test and add more seasonings, if desired.
- Cook the shells and rinse with cold water. Spoon the tofu ricotta into the shells. Top with pumpkin sauce and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs. Bake for about 30 minutes and serve!
I’m telling you, these are sure to impress everyone who tries them! Whether you serve them for a gathering or just for dinner (I definitely have and will again), they are to-die-for good.
Want to make them soy-free or gluten-free?
To make these soy-free, you can easily replace the tofu ricotta with my cashew ricotta recipe.
Looking for more holiday recipes?
- Addicting Honey Almond Snack Mix
- The Ultimate Fall Salad
- Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad with Maple Pecan Parmesan
- Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Casserole
- Creamy Mushroom Green Bean and Wild Rice Casserole
- Vegan Thanksgiving ‘Meatballs’
- Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Mushroom Lentil Loaf
- The Best Vegan Pecan Pie
- The Best Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Silk Chocolate Pie
- Simple Green Beans with Olive Oil and Shallots
Vegan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
For the Tofu Ricotta Filling
- 16 ounces firm tofu, pressed*
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1-2 lemons, depending on size
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and pressed
For the Pumpkin Sauce
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked, rinsed and drained**
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped shallot, about 2 large shallots
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vegetable boullion
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar, or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon salt & pepper, or more, to taste
- 1 12-ounce package jumbo shells
- ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs, optional
Prepare the Filling
- Using your hands, roughly crumble the tofu into the bowl of a blender or a food processor. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, oregano, and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides in between blending, as needed. Note: depending on the water content of your tofu, you may need to add a few tablespoons of water to help it blend. You don't want to add too much and dilute the flavor so only add one tablespoon at a time.
- Once the frozen spinach has defrosted, place it in a strainer. Fold a few paper towels (or cotton towel) together and use them to press on top of the spinach so that the excess water strains out of the bottom. Repeat this step until the spinach is mostly dry.
- Transfer the tofu ricotta to a large bowl. Add the pressed spinach then stir until evenly combined. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Prepare the Sauce
- In a large skillet, warm two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 3 minutes, until translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a high speed blender, add the pumpkin puree, bouillon, drained (soaked) cashews, cooked shallot/garlic, water, nutritional yeast, vinegar, paprika, sage, salt & pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Taste test to see if you prefer more vinegar or seasonings then add, as desired. Set aside.
Prepare the Shells
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the box of jumbo shells as directed. It should make more than 18 shells, however, It’s good to have extra on hand in case some break. Once they are cooked al dente, strain the shells and rinse with cold water (so that they don’t stick together).
- Carefully handling the cooked shells, use a spoon to fill each one with tofu ricotta, until there isn't any ricotta left. You should have about 18 shells in total. Arrange them in the baking dish then top with pumpkin sauce. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs (if desired).
- Cover the baking dish with foil (or parchment paper) and bake for 25-minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for several minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!