Kid-friendly stuffed pasta shells your family will love

Most kids love pasta, but it can get boring. Try these tofu and butternut squash-stuffed pasta shells for a new family favourite.

Tofu and Butternut Squash Pasta Shells

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6


  • 1½ cup (375 ml) unsalted cashews
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water
  • 1½ tbsp (22 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (1 litre) frozen butternut squash cubes
  • 3 cups (750 ml) spinach
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) black pepper
  • 1 package (14 oz/400 g) firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1½ tsp (7 ml) dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) red chili flakes
  • 1 package (12 oz/340 g) whole wheat jumbo pasta shells
  • ½ cup (125 ml) lower-fat shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place cashews in a microwave safe dish and add 2 cups (500 ml) water. Microwave for 2 minutes and set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil on medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add butternut squash, spinach, salt and black pepper. Stir and reduce to low heat. Continue cooking until squash is tender and cooked through.
  3. Remove 1/3 of the butternut squash mix and place in a blender along with cashews and the water they soaked in. Set aside to cool.
  4. For the filling, crumble tofu into pan with remaining squash. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano and chili flakes. Mix together and set aside to cool.
  5. Once cashews with squash have cooled, blend until smooth to create a cream sauce. Adjust consistency with more water if necessary.
  6. Cook shells according to package directions and add 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) oil to the water to prevent shells sticking together.
  7. Spread a thin layer of cashew cream sauce on the bottom of a large oven-safe casserole dish. Stuff each shell with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the butternut squash and tofu mixture and tightly pack into dish.
  8. Pour the remaining cashew cream sauce over shells and sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.


  • Serve with a garden salad. Ask your little chefs to help wash and cut vegetables.
  • Little chefs will enjoy crumbling the tofu into a large bowl.
  • Freeze leftovers for a quick and simple dinner on a busy night. Just thaw the night before in the fridge.

Find more recipes on Canada’s food guide kitchen:

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