top down view of a casserole with freshly made butternut squash stuffed shells.

5 from 3 reviews

Celebrate the autumn with this easy Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells recipe featuring cashew ricotta cheese, spinach and roasted butternut squash!


  • 34 lbs. butternut squash (about 56 cups), seeds removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 12 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cashew ricotta or tofu ricotta
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (about 23 oz.) or 1 package (10oz.) frozen, thawed and squeezed
  • 2022 jumbo shells
  • mineral salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Prep and roast the squash: Prep the squash, cutting into 1/2 inch cubes. Place squash on baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle of salt. Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Once done let squash cool a few minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Make the cashew ricotta: While the squash is roasting, make the vegan ricotta and mix in the spinach. Set aside.

Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Make the butternut squash sauce: In a food processor or high speed blender, add 4 cups of the roasted squash, reserving the rest to stuff the shells. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and 1 cup of water, blend until smooth, adding more water as needed to thin. I used about 1 1/2 cups, you don’t want it too thin, but not too thick either, use your best judgement. Alternately, Sauce can be made using a stick blender and the pot you cooked the pasta in.

Layer and stuff the shells: Place the sauce at the bottom of your baking dish, spreading it from side to side to coat the entire bottom. Scoop one heaped tablespoon of ricotta filling into each shell along with 3 pieces of butternut squash. Ricotta will fill about 18 shells. Use a 12 inch round or 9×13 rectangular dish.

Bake: Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until warmed through.

Serves 6 (3 shells per serving).

Store: Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days, in a covered container. For longer storage, keep in the freezer in freezer safe containers (affiliate link) for 2 – 3 months.


In place of thyme, change it up using sage or oregano.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I switch between my Silpat or these parchment liners for lining this rimmed baking sheet. For baking the shells I used this versatile Lodge cast iron casserole (affiliate links). For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials!

Keywords: butternut squash stuffed shells