There is nothing more comforting than a pasta dish, especially if it’s baked, like these vegan roasted butternut squash & sage ricotta shells! It’s easier than it seems, too, yet will definitely make your dinner special.
- 25–30 jumbo pasta shells (most of a 250g pkg)
For the Squash and the Sauce:
- 3 lb (1 large) butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced into ¾” pieces
- 7 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp light miso (eg. shiro)
For the Filling:
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium brown onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 14 oz firm tofu, drained
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (can sub with rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 sage leaves, cut into ribbons
- 2 vegan apple sage sausages, crumbled or diced
- 4 cups, packed baby spinach leaves
For the Noodles:
- Prepare the noodles according to package directions but it’s best to slightly under-cook them. Drain, rinse with cold water and toss with a bit of oil so they don’t stick together.
For the Squash and the Sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 400°/. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the butternut squash cubes on the baking sheet with 4 tbsp of oil. Ensure all of the pieces are evenly coated and lie in a single layer on the pan for even roasting. Roast in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender and there’s some browning, tossing once.
- In a medium-sized pot, heat the remaining 3 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add in the flour, and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes once simmering. Slowly whisk in the plant-based milk, and bring up to a simmer again. Continue whisking and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Pour the sauce into a blender. Add in the nutmeg, miso, vinegar, miso paste and 1 cup of the roasted butternut squash. Blend until completely smooth, taking care of the lid is secure so you don’t get burned.
For the Ricotta:
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
- In a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, tofu, vinegar, salt, and sage. Pulse until combined, but there’s still some texture.
- Over medium heat, in the same skillet, you fried your onions in, heat the remaining tbsp of oil. Add the crumbled sausages and cook for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add in the spinach, stirring to wilt. Remove from heat. Add in the tofu ricotta and remaining roasted butternut squash, stirring gently so as not to mash the squash.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Spread the sauce in a 9 x 13″ casserole dish. Fill each shell generously with the ricotta mixture, and fit them snugly into the pan over the sauce. Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout. Enjoy!
Find more of Bronwyn’s recipes at Crumbs and Caramel.