These Pumpkin and Cashew Ricotta Vegan Stuffed Shells are topped with Sage Béchamel Sauce for a delicious plant-based pasta dish that the whole family will love.
This post was originally published on 10/15/2013. Last updated on 9/26/2018
It’s time for another look back into one of my oldest, and yet, most popular posts. Originally published over 5 years ago, these Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin and Cashew Ricotta have been in dire need of a little makeover.
These pumpkin stuffed shells are
- Delightfully seasonal
- Incredibly delicious
- Surprisingly easy to make
- Yet, thoroughly impressive
Let’s take a closer look
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
These vegan stuffed shells are rich, creamy, and topped with a delicious Sage Cream Sauce that makes this recipe perfect for fall. And, while they are an impressive meal, they are surprisingly easy to make.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Jumbo Pasta Shells
- Cashew Ricotta
- Pumpkin Puree – Make sure to use canned pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- Vegan Mozzarella – I recommend Violife Mozzarella Shreds. If you can’t find them, Daiya is the next best option.
- Herbs & Spices – You will need dried sage and thyme, salt and pepper, as well as fresh sage.
- Raw Cashews
- Non-Dairy Milk – I recommend using soy, oat, or cashew. These kinds of milk are thick and rich without adding much flavor.
- Nutritional Yeast
For this recipe, you will need a high-quality food processor or high-powered blender, like a Vitamix. You will also need a 9×13 baking pan (or similarly sized pan), basic kitchen utensils, a colander, and tin foil. (<<affiliate links)
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
Step One – Boil the Pasta Shells
Cook these pasta shells in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, until shells are al dente. Take care not to cook your shells past al dente. If they are too soft, they will tear when filled.
Once your pasta shells are done, drain the water through a colander and set them aside to cool enough so that you can handle them.
Step Two – Make the Pumpkin Filling
Blend together the cashews with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and a few spices. While I typically recommend using a Vitamix for blended cashew recipes, in this case, since you’re looking for the consistency of ricotta cheese, a food processor works great!
Once the cashew ricotta is made, add the pumpkin purée along with garlic, vegan mozzarella cheese, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir it together until you have a uniform filling.
Step Three – Make the Creamy Sage Sauce
In a high-powered blender, blend together the cashews with 1 cup of non-dairy milk until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish and set aside.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak the cashews in water for 6 hours prior to using. When ready, drain and rinse the cashews and blend them together in a food processor. They won’t be quite as smooth but it should work.
Step Four – Fill the Shells
To stuff the shells, take a single shell and gently press it open from the top and the bottom with your finger, opening it up width-wise. Scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of pumpkin ricotta inside each shell and place them in your prepared pan. Repeat until all shells are gone. You will likely have a few torn shells, so I always make about 4-5 extra shells for this recipe.
Pour the remaining creamy sage sauce over the shells, cover them in tin foil, and bake for 40 minutes.
Serving and Storing
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator the night before. Once thawed, gently reheat in the oven until heated all the way through.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure not to overcook the pasta shells. They should be cooked just to al dente. Otherwise they will tear as you try and stuff them.
- If you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak the cashews in water for 6 hours prior to using. When ready, drain and rinse the cashews and blend them together in a food processor. They won’t be quite as smooth but it should work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can these pumpkin shells be made in advance?
Yes! Make the shells according to the instructions below. If you are going to store the shells, wrap them in plastic wrap before baking them and place them in the refrigerator or freezer. To bake frozen shells, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking them. They will need a little longer in the oven since they will be chilled.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Sure! Here is my favorite brand of gluten-free jumbo shells. (<<affiliate link) Follow the directions on the package for cooking.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Skinny Creamy Garlic Sauce Pasta
- Vegan Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Bechamel Sauce
- Penne Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce
- Pumpkin Alfredo with Roasted Hazelnuts
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and rate it below. If you made any substitutions, let us know how it turned out!
These Pumpkin and Cashew Ricotta Vegan Stuffed Shells are topped with sage cream sauce for a delicious plant-based meal the whole family will love.
Keyword: Vegan Stuffed Shells
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 346 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the jumbo shells according to packaged directions. Allow shells to cool while preparing the filling.
In a food processor blend together the ingredients for the Cashew Ricotta until it begins to resemble ricotta cheese. Transfer to a bowl. Add pumpkin puree, vegan cheese, garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper and mix to combine. Set aside.
To make Sage Cream Sauce blend cashews with 1 cup of soymilk in a high-powered blender until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients.
Pour half of the Sage Cream Sauce into a 9x13 baking pan. Stuff shells with 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin filling and place in the pan. Top with remaining cream sauce.
over with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until sauce is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow shells to cool slightly before serving.
Serving and Storing - Serve these pumpkin stuffed shells immediately. Top with toasted hazelnuts, and fresh sage. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator the night before. Once thawed, gently reheat in the oven until heated all the way through.
Recipe Tips - If you don't have a high-powered blender, soak the cashews in water for 6 hours prior to using. When ready, drain and rinse the cashews and blend them together in a food processor. They won't be quite as smooth but it should work.