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Vegan Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

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Vegan Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce is my favorite flavor-packed fall dish! Comforting and decadent yet healthy, the creamy spinach almond ricotta stuffed pasta shells pair beautifully with the sweet and delicious pumpkin sauce. Bon appetit!

Photo and recipe by Alexa Soto

Recipe makes 4 servings of vegan ricotta

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 25 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 (14 oz) package of firm tofu
  • 1 c raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 c chopped spinach
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

Pumpkin Sauce

  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin
  • 1/4 c raw cashews
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 c filtered watered
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and set aside.
  3. Cut the pumpkin in half, de-seed and carefully cut skin off. Cut into chunks, place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes.

Ricotta

  1. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place your raw almonds into the boiling water. Let boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Drain the almonds immediately in a colander or strainer and rinse them with cold water to cool them. Blot the almonds dry with a paper towel.
  3. Use your fingers to gently squeeze the almonds and loosen the skin from them. Set skinless almonds in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Remove tofu from package and wrap in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and squeeze for 20 seconds to allow for excess water to strain.
  5. In a food processor or high speed blender combine tofu, blanched almonds, nutritional yeast, unsweetened almond milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until there is no chunks. Mixture will look lumpy and that is okay! Add more almond milk if needed.
  6. In a small pan, cook chopped spinach with 1 Tbsp of water for 1 minute or until spinach is wilted down.
  7. Once ricotta mixture is made and spinach is ready, combine the two in a medium size bowl and mix well. Taste mixture and add any extra salt or seasonings if needed.

Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

  1. Once pumpkin is baked, combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more liquid if needed and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Assemble

  1. Pour half of the creamy pumpkin sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, spreading sauce evenly.
  2. Add a spoonful of ricotta spinach mixture and into the cooked pasta shells. Be generous with the filling and then place the stuffed shells in the baking dish.
  3. Lower the heat of the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Once all shells are stuffed, place into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve shells right out of the oven and pour extra sauce on top of each shell. Finish off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, fresh herbs, and chili flakes. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes & Variations

  • If you don’t have pumpkins on hand, you can swap it out for favorite fall squash like kabocha, butternut, or acorn.
  • Try garnishing with your vegan ricotta stuffed shells toasted pumpkin seeds or a sprinkle of nutmeg!

8 Comments

  • Rebecca Ann Hart
    December 20, 2020 at 4:15 am

    Made this recipe tonight. There was a lot of prep but the dish overall was worth it. I used butternut squash since I couldn’t find the pumpkin the recipe calls for and I topped it with vegan cheese and remaining sauce. My meat and potatoes husband who will occasionally eat vegan loved it.

    Reply
    • Imperfect
      December 23, 2020 at 11:13 pm

      So glad this recipe was such a hit!

      Reply
  • Jamie
    February 1, 2021 at 12:39 am

    This turned out great!! We used butternut squash because we had some to use up and I’d definitely continue using it for this sauce. Each element of the recipe was great, but altogether, we did feel it all tasted a bit the same, so I think I’d try adding in some lemon juice to the sauce next time to brighten it up and give a little more dimension to the final product. Really great recipe and glad we tried it!

    Reply
    • Imperfect
      February 5, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      So glad that you loved this! And great tip too! 💚

      Reply
  • Deirdre Scripture-Adams
    June 2, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    this is not a recipe for busy people.
    I’d love to see some vegitarian, not necessarily vegan, recipes for main course that take 15 or less

    Reply
    • Imperfect
      June 3, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      We’ll definitely try to include some quick and easy recipes in the future too!

      Reply
  • Lisa P
    October 26, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    I made this recipe but “unveganized” it—I used ricotta instead of tofu & almonds, used regular milk instead of almond milk, and used grated Parmesan instead of nutritional yeast. I did use cashews in the sauce for some protein, though. Also, instead of using garlic powder and onion powder, I threw a head of garlic and half an onion (both sliced in half with a little olive oil) into the oven to roast along with the pumpkin. I then threw some of the roasted garlic in to be puréed with the sauce, and threw the remaining garlic and the onion in the “mini-chopper” and added them to the ricotta filling. Also, instead of cooking fresh spinach, I used frozen/thawed/squeezed-out spinach to save a little time and an additional dirty pot. Lastly, I could not find giant pasta shells, so I had to use manicotti (I used a pastry bag to fill the cooked manicotti). Even with all of these adjustments, this dish turned out great!

    Reply
    • Imperfect
      October 26, 2021 at 6:46 pm

      So glad you were able to modify this to make it right for you! It sounds absolutely delicious and TBH we’re going to have to try it your way asap!

      Reply

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