My family has always been great about providing a vegetarian entrée at holiday get-togethers. I consider myself pretty lucky in that department. We’ve got a lot of Italian in the family, and fortunately, vegetarian Italian food is pretty darn easy to do, and everybody loves it – not just the vegetarians. Lasagna, baked ziti, and stuffed shells have adorned my plate at many Christmases past.
It wasn’t until I cut out dairy that things got challenging. Pasta with lots of sauce and cheese? Easy? Ditch the cheese and suddenly things can get a little boring. That’s why these days I try to bring a vegan main dish whenever possible, and I try not just to bring something that I’ll enjoy, but something that everyone, whether vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, can get down with.
The key to getting everyone interested in checking out your vegan dish is to make it a more interesting version of something they might otherwise be all about. Everyone loves stuffed shells, and adding butternut squash and crunchy walnuts instantly ups the intrigue factor, so they’ll all want a taste.
Butternut squash is some pretty amazing stuff, which is why you’ll find it in both the sauce and the filling of these shells. Blended up with some creamy cashew cheese, it adds some creamy smoothness and sweet flavor to the filling. Since I like a little bit of extra texture in my shell filling, I went and added some crunchy walnuts too. The sauce is a simple blend of roasted butternut squash and onion with some creamy non-dairy milk, and to make it even more creamy, cashews.
All in all, these shells are rich, creamy, and delicious, with a nice blend of sweet and savory flavors. Your family should be pretty impressed if you serve them up over the holidays.Print this recipe
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