The Vegetarian Option

Maybe I’m biased…but I welcome vegetarian/vegans. That pay….but I won’t digress in this post. I’ve heard that the whole vegetarian/vegan option on catering menus is a pain, but I kinda like it. It gives you the opportunity to really think outside the box. Don’t give in and serve another boring lasagna or tell them to eat more salad. Have a little fun with it! There are so many forms of protein available to play with.

Here is a tried recipe using tofu and pumpkin to make stuffed shells. This is a vegan recipe that I came up with for one of my menus for class. Would work great on an autumn or winter seasonal menu.

Vegan Stuffed Shells

Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (or can use one medium sized pumpkin, roast with skins on, and puree and you’ve got basically the same product)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning


  • 1 box jumbo shells
  • 1 jar tomato sauce

“Cheese” Topping:

  • 1/2 block tofu
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and (white) pepper to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cook shells according to directions on box, drain and set aside.
  3. Layer the bottom of a baking pan with half of the tomato sauce.
  4. Saute onions and garlic until translucent. At last minute add spinach. Cook only for a minute or so. The spinach will wilt quickly.
  5. Make stuffing in a food processor. Chop tofu into smaller pieces and blitz. Add pumpkin puree and blitz until mixed well. When pumpkin/tofu mixture is completely mixed together, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add spinach and italian seasoning.
  6. Fill each shell with the pumpkin/tofu mixture.
  7. Make “cheese” sauce in a blender. Add tofu, italian seasoning, and garlic cloves. Slowly add olive oil until the tofu is no longer solid but completely in liquid form. Add salt and (white) pepper to taste.
  8. Arrange shells in baking pan and cover with remaining tomato sauce and “cheese”
  9. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 20-30 minutes until hot. (There is nothing to needs to be cooked so the ingredients really just need to get some heat).

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