Vegan Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash Alfredo is the best comfort food casserole to feed a big crowd! Filled with spinach and creamy tofu "ricotta," this stuffed shells recipe is an all-time family favorite. Can use pumpkin or other wint squash.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, onion, garlic, sage, and salt and cook until golden.
Then add in the pepper, cashews, butternut squash and mix well and cook for 1 minute. Then add in the nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, lemon juice, miso, and mix well. Cover and cook until the butternut squash is tender, about 9-10 minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool completely. Then blend until smooth and set aside.
For the tofu ricotta:
In a food processor, add the tofu and the rest of the ingredients, except spinach, and process until the mixture is well blended, then add the spinach and pulse a few times, so that the spinach is incorporated evenly, and set aside.
Make the casserole: Take about 15-20 shells, these are uncooked shells. Then press the tofu ricotta into the shells. (See recipe notes below to make this with cooked shells)
Grease a 9 by 11 inch baking dish. Transfer half of the butternut squash into the baking dish, and assemble and place the shells in the sauce. Pack them well.
Gently add 1 cup of veggie broth around so that the shells are more than 3/4 submerged in the water sauce mixture. Add a bit more broth if needed. Gently brush the edges of the shells with the sauce mixture.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees F ( 205 C) for 35-40 minutes. You can check at 35 minutes to see if the shells are done. The top of the shells might be slightly crispy, but the rest of the shells that touched liquid should be done.
Remove the dish from the oven and let it sit covered for another 10 minutes. Open the lid, and sprinkle some olive oil, or vegan parmesan, and pepper flakes on top. Add some sage or fresh basil. To serve, serve the shells with the reserved butternut squash sauce. If the butternut squash sauce has thickened too much, you can add in some broth to thin it out to drizzle it all over the shells and serve. The shells will keep in the fridge for 3 days
The casserole will keep in the fridge for 3 days
Save time by making the sauce and tofu ricotta a day in advance. The sauce will thicken up in the fridge, so you may need to thin it with a bit of non-dairy milk or broth before assembling the dish.
Precook the shells: stuffed shells are usually made with precooked shells pasta. You can cook them according to instructions, brush with olive oil and then fill with the tofu ricotta. Place in the sauce. Then drizzle half of the remaining sauce over the shells and bake for 15-20 mins. Garnish and serve with reserved sauce as needed.
Soy free: use store bought vegan ricotta or homemade cashew or almond ricotta. Omit the miso
Nut-free : use pumpkin seeds or silken tofu instead of cashews in the alfredo. Omit almond flour from tofu ricotta
You can use kabocha squash or even pumpkin instead of butternut squash.
Make sure to squeeze out all the liquid from the spinach and press the tofu. We want to get rid of all unnecessary water.