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Vegan Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Vegan Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells make a delicious fall dinner! Packed with spinach, squash, and creamy lemon "ricotta," they're healthy and hearty!

I know -- there is nothing particularly Thanksgiving-ey about this recipe. I had numerous vegetarian"main course" thoughts that I thought of sharing this season. At the peak of the list was a creamy vegan pot pie with a delectable flaky crust... but I did not get to it. I am still excited by that idea and when I do get to it, it is going to be amazing... but the week I was creating this recipe, I had leftover butternut squash, and I had been craving pasta. Pot pie had to wait.

Recipe adapted from here
ὶngredὶents
  • 1½ cups cubed butternut squash
  • extra-vὶrgὶn olὶve oὶl, for drὶzzlὶng
  • 16 jumbo shells
cashew cream
  • 1½ cups raw cashews*(see note)
  • 1 cup fresh water
  • 1 garlὶc clove
  • 3½ tablespoons fresh lemon juὶce
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
fὶllὶng
  • 4 cups fresh baby spὶnach
  • 1 cup crumbled fὶrm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon drὶed oregano
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • pὶnch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cashew cream (from the recὶpe above)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The butternut squash with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper and a spoonful of olive oil. Roast 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  2. Create the cashew cream: Combine together the raw cashews, fresh water, garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp pepper and salt.
  3. Make the filling: In a medium skillet, heat a spoonful of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the spinach in increments, together with a pinch of salt, and sauté until of the spinach wilted and is incorporated. Remove from heat and let cool. Squeeze out any excess liquid and chop. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of cashew cream and the the spinach with the crumbled tofu lemon zest at least 1/4 teaspoon salt ground black pepper. Season to taste, adding salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cubes and cook according to the package directions. Drain.
  5. Assemble the cubes. Spread 1/4 cup of the cashew cream on the bottom of an 11x7-inch baking dish. Fill each shell that is cooked with a couple of cubes of butternut squash and some of the filling, and put in the baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from the oven and serve with the cashew cream.

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