Vegan Pumpkin and Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Shells
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Pumpkin and Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Get into the fall spirit with these vegan pumpkin and pesto ricotta stuffed shells. So delicious, warming, and perfect for pumpkin season.

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Get into the fall spirit with these vegan pumpkin and pesto ricotta stuffed shells. Made with a 10-minute, creamy, vibrant, spicy, pumpkin white sauce. Simple homemade tofu ricotta swirled with basil pesto and then, stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells. Baked together with a generous amount of grated vegan cheese. These pumpkin stuffed shells are the ultimate fall comfort food dish to make with a canned pumpkin! So delicious, warming, and perfect for pumpkin season (it’s also great for any day this holiday season)!

This vegan pumpkin ricotta stuffed shells recipe is…

  • the only pumpkin pasta recipe you’ll ever need.
  • packed with all that pumpkin goodness, and all the fall spices.
  • a cozy fall dinner, that’s pretty easy to make.

Ingredients for this pumpkin and pesto ricotta stuffed shells recipe

  • Pumpkin: It’s a great savoury pumpkin recipe made with a can of pumpkin puree. It not only gifts us with a bright orange color, but it also gives the sauce a super creamy texture. Be sure to check it’s not pumpkin pie filling!
  • Pasta: You’ll need giant pasta shells aka jumbo shells.
  • Pesto: You can make homemade vegan pesto, but to make things easier, I like to use a store-bought one.
  • Non-dairy milk: Any non-dairy milk of your choice will work! Oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk etc. My go-to is always oat milk because the taste is subtle.
  • Vegan cheese: Pre-grated vegan cheese to make things easier. It’ll make our pumpkin pasta sauce super creamy, and cheesy. Oh, and a little grated cheese to top the pasta with before baking.
  • Vegan butter: Or olive oil. I like to use vegan butter to make this dish a little more indulgent.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour will help our pasta sauce become thick and creamy.
  • Tofu: Just a regular block of tofu, as it’ll be the base of our vegan ricotta.
  • Nutritional yeast: To make the vegan ricotta taste just like the real thing, the gold dust aka the nutritional yeast will make it perfectly cheesy.
  • Apple cider vinegar: To add a touch of tanginess to the tofu ricotta. You can also use lemon juice.
  • Garlic cloves: As always, grated! Grating the garlic cloves will make it a little stronger. You’ll need a little for the vegan ricotta and also for the cheesy pumpkin sauce.
  • Spices: Red pepper flakes, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt and black pepper for the creamy pumpkin sauce. And onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt and black pepper for the tofu ricotta.
  • Herbs: Fresh thyme for the pumpkin sauce, and fresh basil leaves to serve with.

Making the creamy pumpkin pasta sauce

This sauce is like the creamy garlic béchamel sauce that I love using in pasta, but this time, it’s a little cozier. It’s packed with all things fall. Pumpkin puree, and all the spices we think of when we think of fall.

Melt vegan butter in a large skillet (or a large frying pan) over medium heat, then add in the thyme leaves, grated garlic, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and chili flakes. Give everything a mix together and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Mix in the all-purpose flour, and cook while constantly stirring. You want the flour to cook a little, but not burn, so make sure you don’t take your eyes off it! With one hand, slowly stream in the oat milk, and with the other hand mix everything. Once the sauce thickens up, mix in the pumpkin puree, along with the grated vegan cheese, salt and black pepper.

Add the veg stock (made with one veg stock cube and hot water), and mix until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer on low for 15 minutes. Give it a taste, and if you need a little salt, add an extra pinch of salt. And just like that – you have a super creamy, indulgent, comforting, cheesy pumpkin pasta sauce.

All about the tofu ricotta swirled with basil pesto

Tofu ricotta is nice, but tofu ricotta swirled with basil pesto? YUM. Not only is the taste of this herby basil pesto tofu ricotta out of this world, but that swirled green basil pesto makes it look a little more fall-like, and spooky (ok, kinda). And as fancy as it sounds, it’s an incredibly easy recipe.

Remove the block of tofu from its packaging, drain out all the water, and tear it up into a high-speed blender or food processor. Add in the nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, mustard powder, and apple cider vinegar. Whizz it up until well combined and smoothish. If you’re using a Vitamix like me, you might need to scrape down the sides of the blender to make sure everything gets combined well. Transfer the tofu ricotta into a medium-large bowl. Dollop vegan basil pesto all around, and mix together 2-3 times. You want the swirls to stay intact, but if you accidentally mix it too much, don’t worry! It’ll still taste amazing. Set aside.

The final touches

Grab your packet of large pasta shells, you’ll only need around 26-30 shells for this recipe. Check the directions at the back and follow them. Normally, the package directions will say to boil water in a large pot, add a generous amount of salt, add the large pasta to the boiling water and boil for 8-10 minutes. You want to make sure you do a timer and don’t cook the pasta any longer. The pasta should be al dente, aka they should have a little bite to them. This way, they won’t break easily when stuffing them. And don’t forget, they’re going to bake with that creamy pasta sauce! Once the pasta is done cooking, drain the water and allow them to cool a little before stuffing them.

Stuff the pasta with that swirled basil tofu ricotta filling. Transfer them into the large skillet with the pumpkin sauce. If you don’t have a skillet, just transfer the pasta sauce into a baking dish. Dollop more pesto all over the top of the shells, along with a little more grated vegan cheese or vegan parmesan cheese. Sprinkle a little water over the vegan cheese, this is the secret to vegan cheese that melts perfectly. Bake for 20ish minutes. This is the epitome of comfort food, it’ll fill your home with warmth, and all those cozy spices.

Carefully remove the vegan pumpkin pasta from the oven, and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Top with loads of fresh basil leaves, and serve warm! Store any leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Once you try this vegan pumpkin and ricotta pesto stuffed shells recipe, please leave a star rating and review below! I try my best to respond to you all. Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram – I can’t wait to see your images!!

More vegan recipes you’ll love


Pumpkin and Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Shells (Vegan)

Get into the fall spirit with these vegan pumpkin and pesto ricotta stuffed shells. So delicious, warming, and perfect for pumpkin season.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
close up image of vegan pumpkin and pesto ricotta stuffed shells recipe
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  • 6 tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
  • 45 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups oat milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 12 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1x400g tin of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheese
  • 1 cup hot water + 1 veg stock cube

Pesto Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 tofu block (around 300g)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 46 tbsp vegan basil pesto
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)


  • 3 tbsp vegan basil pesto
  • 26 large pasta shells
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheese
  • fresh basil leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Pumpkin Pasta Sauce: Melt the vegan butter in a large skillet. Add in the thyme leaves, grated garlic, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and chili flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the all-purpose flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, while stirring to prevent burning. Stream in the oat milk, and with your other hand, mix together. Once it becomes thick, mix in the vegan cheese, black pepper, salt and pumpkin puree. Pour in the veg broth, mix, and cook for 10 minutes. Stirring often.
  3. Tofu Pesto Ricotta: Add the block of tofu, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, garlic cloves, mustard powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper into a food processor. Blend until combined. Transfer into a bowl, and dollop 4-6 tbsp of the basil pesto over the tofu ricotta. Mix together 3-4 times to create swirls.
  4. Pasta shells: Follow the directions on the packaging of the pasta. Drain the water.
  5. Final touches: Stuff the cooked pasta shells with the pesto ricotta and place into the skillet with the pumpkin pasta sauce. If you didn't use a skillet, simply transfer the sauce into a baking dish, then add the stuffed shells. Dollop 2-3 tbsp more of the basil pesto over, and top with vegan cheese. To help the vegan cheese melt, sprinkle a little water over the cheese. Bake for 20 minute. Serve with loads of fresh basil.