Updated: Jan 14
There is something so celebratory about pumpkins - from their color to their sweet taste to their incredible seeds, it is no wonder that pumpkins are synonymous with the fall season. They are a symbol of Halloween, and a staple for all those who celebrate Thanksgiving.
Pumpkins are excellent for this time of year, when we are transitioning from the fall into the early winter season. They are nourishing and so helpful for building up the health of your bodily tissues for the entire year ahead: one of our wellness goals for this time of year, per Ayurveda.
This Vegan dish (which you can just easily make with coconut oil if you are averse to ghee - butter without the casein, or dairy component) is the perfect healthy addition to your holiday meal this year.
Instead of making you feel sleepy afterwards, this stuffed pumpkin shell dish will actually help lift up your energy and inspire you to feel joyful!
STUFFED PUMPKIN SHELL INGREDIENTS:
24 to 28 jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pink rock salt
Cooling pungent masala to taste (recipe below)
15 dried Thai basil leaves
TOFU RICOTTA INGREDIENTS:
1 (14-ounce/400g) block extra firm tofu
1/4 cup (20g) spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon hing
1/2 teaspoon kalonji seeds
1 teaspoon pink rock salt
1/2 teaspoon cooling pungent masala
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1 medium lemon, juiced and zested
**Cooling pungent masala is an amazing recipe from Divya Alter in her wonderful book "What To Eat for How You Feel." It's a way to have black pepper without getting heated by it.
4 tsp fennel seeds
4 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp jaggery, Sucanat, organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, or your favorite sugar substitute
Preheat oven to 350°F (or 175°C). Put parchment paper into 9×13-inch baking dish.
COOK PASTA: boil water in a large pot. Add the jumbo pasta shells and cook them until they are just right (do not overcook - read the directions on the box). Drain them well afterwards.
Move the cooked pasta shells to the baking dish. You can add some ghee or coconut oil to ensure they don't get too sticky.
PREPARE TOFU RICOTTA: Drain the tofu so there is not too much water in it. Blend together all the tofu ricotta ingredients by pulsing enough that the texture becomes like that of ricotta cheese.
PREPARE PUMPKIN RICOTTA FILLING: Using a big bowl, mix together the tofu ricotta, pumpkin purée, nutmeg, salt and cooling pungent masala with a non-sticky spatula. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of this filling into every jumbo pasta shell.
Scatter the Thai basil leaves on top of the sauce. Bake the stuffed shells for 25 minutes, or until the pasta shells become a light golden brown color. Serve warm.
Take a moment to offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for the beautiful bounty of Nature's blessings in the form of the food before you. The joy you will feel when you eat this wonderful dish will increase in proportion to the gratitude you offer in your heart for it.