Pumpkin Chili Stuffed Shells in Butternut Squash Sauce

With today (Oct. 17, 2018)  being National Pasta Day, I thought I would share with you one of my newest and tastiest recipes yet! Pumpkin Chili Stuffed Shells! Yes – PUMPKIN Chili. In all honesty, you don’t even taste the pumpkin. But, you are still getting all the health benefits from it! You wouldn’t believe there’s an entire can in there.

What’s nice about this recipe is that it is a two for one deal. You get the Pumpkin Chili Stuffed Shells recipe along with just a really great chili recipe. So, if you aren’t in the mood for stuffed shells and just want a bowl of chili, just make the chili. It’s healthy, hearty, and very warming. You can make it with whatever ground protein you have, too. Instead of ground beef, try ground chicken or turkey. If you’re into #MeatlessMonday, grab a bag of the meatless ground. You can tailor this recipe to fit you and your family. You can even stop for a rotisserie chicken on your way home, shred that up and skip the ground meat all together.


Pumpkin Chili Stuffed Shells

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30-35 minutes | Servings: 8-10  | Difficulty: Easy


6 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lb ground protein (Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Plant-Based)
1 large yellow onion, small dice
1 Poblano pepper, small dice
5 garlic cloves, minced or grated
2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp cardamom
1 cup stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 – 15oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes
1 – 15oz can of cannellini beans
1 – 15oz can red kidney beans
1 – 15oz can 100% pumpkin puree
2 boxes of large shells
2 jars of butternut squash pasta sauce
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Parsley, chopped for garnish


1. In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground protein and brown. Remove from pot and set aside.
2. In the same pot, add the diced onion and diced poblano pepper. Cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally – until the onion starts to turn clear. Add the garlic and cook and additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and cardamom. Stir spices around, letting them cook about 1-2 minutes. This will make them fragrant and help them open up.
4. Add the stock, tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes, cannellini beans, red kidney beans, pumpkin puree, and reserved ground protein. Stir until combined. Cover and let cook for 30-35 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
5. While the chili cooks, boil the large shells about 1-minute shy of their cooking time. Drain and rinse under cold water.
6. Add 1 1/2 jars of the butternut squash sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
8. Once the chili has cooked, fill each shell one at a time with chili filling. Place each shell in dish with butternut squash sauce. It will be crowded, that’s okay.
9. Once the dish has been filled with stuffed shells, spoon the remaining 1/2 jar of sauce over the shells and sprinkle with shredded Gruyere cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for any remaining un-melted cheese. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Written by

I am the oldest, funniest, and best looking of the three pieces of fruit to come from our parents loins. Hmmm… if I was a piece of fruit, I think I’d be a peach. Fuzzy on the outside, a little soft, a little juicy, and a big ol’ heart in center. I believe I was 17 years old. The year was 2003 (holy crap, that was 15 years ago?) when I decided to make the change and become a vegetarian. Born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania, being a vegetarian was not all that common. And, because it wasn’t all that common, I had to figure out the vegetarian lifestyle all on my own. I quickly discovered how much more energy I had and how much better I felt. A few years later I met the macaroni to my cheese, the basil to my pesto, someone that really made my dough rise, the love of my life, Sarah. Many of you already know the story of our first date and are still wondering why she said yes to a second. For those that don’t know the story, I don’t know if you’re lucky or if you missed out. While only being together for 6 months, we decided to move in together. Actually, Sarah the Stalker found an apartment in Jim Thorpe, PA – where I lived. She had lived just 20 minutes away in one of the next towns over and couldn’t bare to be that far away from this piece of Porter House steak. Can you blame her? So, she bought me a tooth brush for her place and gave me a key, at which point it became our place. Here is where I rediscovered how much I loved to cook – by making our nightly dinners. Also, I may or may not have had a small obsession with Rachael Ray. Fast forward to 2016, and my now wife Sarah and I are moving to the Carne Asada capital of the world, Tucson, AZ. No more cold and no more snow! Tucson is a charming little city with a small town feel in Southern Arizona, about a stone’s throw away from Mexico. There is a lot of Mexican influence here from the street names, the adobe style homes, and the FOOD. The food is incredible here. There’s an old wives’ tale here about the salsa in Tucson. How hot the salsa is depends on how angry the lady in the kitchen making it is at her husband. We have had some mild salsas and we have had some salsas that made you feel like you sold your backside to el diablo. I’ve always had an interest in food, ever since I was a little kid. I have great memories of being in the kitchen with my grandparents and mom that inspire me to continue to cook for people and write recipes. Last June, with the support of my wife, I quit my career of 13 years in banking to focus on writing a cookbook. My cookbook will incorporate dishes I ate growing up, recipes I created, and a modern twist on some classics. My focus is not going to be strictly vegetarian recipes. I have plenty of recipes that include meat. My days start with a large cup of coffee and a walk on the treadmill or a hike through Saguaro National Park. It continues in the kitchen either testing a recipe, writing one, or working on my new website! The cookbook is taking longer than I anticipated, so I decided to start sharing my recipes online and to start to gather a following. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and don’t forget to subscribe to never miss a recipe!


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