Butternut Squash & Cashew Cream Stuffed Shells

All my plant-based friends and family – this ones for you! Even though you most definitely don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy this dish. I whipped this up for a family dinner I was hosting (I made sausage baked ziti and my cousin is a vegan), and everyone loved it. I topped my shells with this Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce, but you can surely enjoy them without it as well.

When creating vegan/vegetarian dishes, adding plenty of flavor and nutrients is key! I have really enjoyed studying plant-based diets, as it really makes you think about cooking in a whole new way. Exploring plant-based replacements for things that you so carelessly grab on a day-to-day basis, thinking of ways to incorporate nutrients that can easily be overlooked; It’s a new world of cooking.

Don’t worry, I still love my meat! I am just definitely going to make a better attempt at exploring different options and thinking of ways to make my ‘normal’ meals more vegetarian/vegan friendly.

Ingredients:

  • 16 pasta shells, jumbo
  • Cashew Cream (recipe here)
  • 1 portobello mushroom, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 lb. baby spinach, sautéed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Toss your squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes or until soft.
  2. Boil your pasta shells until al dente and carefully remove from the water. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a pan, drizzle olive oil. Add your chopped portobellos and minced red onion, sauté for 5 minutes. Add baby spinach and cook for an additional minute.
  4. In a mixing bowl, add your cashew cream. To the cream, add roasted squash, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Carefully stir, ensuring your not mushing the vegetables. butternut squash stuffed shells 1
  5. Fill each of your pasta shells with about 2 tablespoons of mixture and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with this Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes (remember, everything’s already cooked so we just want to heat it up!)

butternut squash stuffed shells 2

Enjoy!

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Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 2 cups water + 1/2 cup (set aside)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a bowl, soak the cashews in water (uncovered & room temperature) for 10 hours.
  2. Strain the water from the cashews and add to a food processor. Add the additional 1/2 cup of water, garlic and herbs and blend. Stop blending frequently to scrape down the sides of the food processor and continue to blend until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened, original almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of ground sage
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (for thickening)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring coconut milk and almond milk to a simmer.
  2. Whisk in your pumpkin and roasted garlic until smooth. If sauce is too thin, mix 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder with 1 tablespoon cold water and slowly whisk into sauce (continue step until sauce reaches desired thickness).
  3. Add sage, basil, salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, vegetables, or whatever your heart desires!