Vegan pumpkin kale stuffed shells in a white baking dish on a grey countertop
Photos by Meghan Rodgers

Earth-Inspired Eats — Vegan Pumpkin Kale Stuffed Shells

By Meghan Rodgers


September 1, 2020

Can you feel it?

That cool, fall chill is in the air. And that means it’s time for all the pumpkin goodness!

These delicious pumpkin kale stuffed shells would be as great for a casual September weeknight dinner as they would be an addition to your fancy Thanksgiving table. They only take about 30 minutes to prep. Plus, it makes for a great recipe for crowds—who doesn’t love pasta?

And what’s more?

These shells are totally vegan!

A closeup of the vegan pumpkin stuffed shells near a wooden serving spoon

Of course, store-bought pasta and kale already qualify, but the crumbly tofu and pumpkin take on a creamy texture that creates a totally satisfying substitute for ricotta cheese.

If you’ve never cooked with or eaten tofu before, this is an easy recipe to start with. Pressing the tofu in a towel helps release some of the moisture, but no special cooking skills or equipment are required. And once mixed with tasty pumpkin and smothered in homemade sauce, you’ll never notice the difference between tofu ricotta and the real deal.

Tofu is a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians, plus, it’s low in calories and contains absolutely zero cholesterol. If you’re looking for easy ways to eat healthier at home, save this recipe and start to incorporate Meatless Monday at your house. You’ll better your health, while bettering the planet.

Feel free to top stuffed shells with vegan cheese, but I think this recipe is delicious all on its own!

Want to save time?

This recipe is a great candidate for make-ahead meals. Prep and assemble shells, then store in the refrigerator overnight. Pop them in the oven the next day for baking.


Vegan Pumpkin Kale Stuffed Shells


12 ounce package jumbo shells
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 1/2 cup chopped kale

Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp dried basil

A close up of one stuffed shell.


1. Press tofu. (Wrap tofu in towel, or paper towel. Place in bowl, and place a a slightly heavy item on top—I use a large soup can. This will help drain some of the moisture.) Leave sit for 20-30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

3. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta al dente according to package. Don’t overcook the pasta or they’ll become too soft to work with. Drain immediately, and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil to coat. This will prevent shells from sticking.

4. While shells are still cooking, start the sauce. In a large sauce pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onion and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

5. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to sauce pan. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes.

6. In a medium mixing bowl, use your hands to crumble the tofu. Stir in the pumpkin. Add kale and mix well.

7. Pour 1/4 cup of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread to coat.

8. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the pumpkin kale mixture. Arrange stuffed shells in baking pan.

9. Bake in oven for about 30-35 minutes.


Meghan Rodgers is a media professional and writer covering travel, food and the environment. Find her writing on the food blog EverybodyCraves and her website,