Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells
These Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells are full of savory fall flavors and make for a super satisfying comfort food meal. “Tis the season for pumpkin recipes, and though I love it in sweet desserts and breakfasts, I adore it in savory dishes like this one. The natural sweetness of the pumpkin pairs beautifully with spicy homemade turkey sausage and nutty, sharp Parmesan cheese. Did you notice I said homemade turkey sausage? Don’t worry, I promise that part is easy and only takes a couple minutes. You can transform lean ground turkey breast into a super flavorful sausage just by mixing in a few dried seasonings! I love doing this because you get the full flavor of sausage for far less calories or WW Freestyle Smartpoints than using traditional sausage. I find these Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells to be super filling, and who doesn’t love a hearty, satisfying pasta dish for fall? Better yet, a (3 stuffed shells) serving is just 275 calories or 6 Green, 5 Blue or 5 Purple myWW SmartPoints! To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
I’ll be upfront with you, this is not a quick, 30-minute weeknight meal. You have to cook the pasta, the meat, and the sauce separately, and while you can do a lot of that simultaneously and none of the steps are difficult, it does take a bit of time. Stuffing the shells also takes some time, and then the whole dish bakes together for 30 minutes. I would suggest leaving yourself around an hour of prep time before putting these in the oven. You may not need quite that long, or you may need a bit more (everyone works at their own pace), but either way, I just want to give you a head’s up since many of my recipes prep much more quickly. I think the finished product is worth it though!
Looking for more tasty, lightened-up pasta dishes like these Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells? Check out my One-Pot Barbecue Chicken Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash Pasta with Bacon, Chicken Pot Pasta, Beef Enchilada Pasta Skillet, One-Pot Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta, Bruschetta Chicken Pasta, One-Pot Mediterranean Chicken with Orzo, Pasta with Chickpeas, Turkey Sloppy Joe Pasta, Sausage Ricotta Pasta, Beef Stroganoff, Beefy American Goulash, Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells, Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna Roll-Ups, Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini Skillet, Spicy Sausage Pasta, and many more in the Pasta section of my recipe index!
Pumpkin and Sausage Stuffed Shells
- 18 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 lb uncooked 99% lean ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- ½ teaspoon dried minced onions, some spice brands call them chopped onions
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup reduced sodium fat free chicken broth
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded, divided
- Cook the pasta shells according to package instructions*. Drain and rinse shells and allow them to cool before handling.
- *While the water is boiling for the pasta, combine the ground turkey, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper, the minced onions, fennel seed, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes in a mixing bowl. Mush together with a fork or your hands until thoroughly combined. While the pasta is cooking, mist a large skillet with cooking spray and bring over medium heat. Add the seasoned ground turkey to the heated pan and cook, breaking up the meat into bite-sized pieces and stirring occasionally until the meat is cooked. Add the spinach to the pan and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes or so until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the ricotta cheese until well combined.
- Pour the broth and milk into a small saucepan and bring over medium heat. Cook until you start to see the first signs of bubbling and then add the pumpkin and reduce the heat to low. Whisk the pumpkin into the liquid until it absorbs and the sauce becomes creamy. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, marjoram, sage, and 1 ounce of the shredded parmesan. Stir together until the parmesan is melted into the sauce.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350. Spread about ½ cup of the pumpkin sauce across the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish (such as a 7x11) and set aside. Make sure the pasta shells are cool enough to handle, then use a spoon to stuff them full of the turkey/ricotta filling. Lay the stuffed shells in a single layer in the prepared casserole dish, open side facing up. Pour the remainder of the pumpkin sauce over the top of the stuffed shells to coat evenly. Sprinkle the remaining ounce of shredded Parmesan over the top. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
275 calories, 32 g carbs, 6 g sugars, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 4 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com) MyWW SmartPoints per (3 shells) serving: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Green: 6 SmartPoints/ Blue: 5 SmartPoints/ Purple: 5 SmartPoints Weight Watchers Points Plus:
7 per (3 shells) serving (PP calculated using a Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator and the nutrition information below) Created with inspiration from Rachel Schultz
Hi Emily! LOVE your recipes – so do my kids! In the instructions for this one in step 3 you say to pour the milk and the broth into a saucepan. There is no milk listed in the recipe. Just curious how much is required. Hoping to make this over the weekend – can’t wait! And thank you for this site!
Oops! Thank you so much for catching that, I added it! I have been experiencing allergy brain fog for the past week and it’s showing, haha.
Do you think I could make this without the pumpkin? I love pumpkin but not in savory dishes.I’m thinking I would need more liquid and possibly a thickener?
Honestly, pumpkin is the main component of the sauce for this dish, so I wouldn’t try to make the sauce without it. You could always make the stuffed shells and then use a completely different sauce, either from a jar, or another sauce recipe with flavors you prefer.
I’m not sure if you tried this or not, but you should if you haven’t. I made this Saturday, and I couldn’t taste the pumpkin. It just made it creamy. I was worried it would taste like a pumpkin pie, but everyone who ate it was surprised it didn’t taste like pumpkin.
Can I substitute greek yogurt for the ricotta?
I personally wouldn’t, it would change the flavor and texture as they are very different products.
Hi Emily! This recipe looks amazing. Do you think I could use unsweetened almond milk instead of skim milk? Thanks!
I definitely think you could do that. I hope you love it!
I can’t wait to try this! Do you think it would freeze well? I was thinking prepping it through stuffing the shells & putting the pumpkin sauce on top, and freezing it at that point. What do you think?
I need to know if this can be successfully frozen as well. There is only my husband and myself so freezing is an option I need for most recipes. Thank you
This was outstanding! We couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers! It was that good.
I made this last night and WOW!!!! The flavors are so delicious together. I will definitely be making these stuffed shells again! I’m very much looking forward to lunch leftovers today!
I plan on making this tomorrow night for dinner. Can I prepare the shells ahead and make the sauce later?
I can’t find stiff shells anywhere. Do you think i could use manicotti instead?
This is fabulous. I found turkey sausage and added some onion and red pepper flakes.
Made this last night and it was a big success; even my fiance who doesn’t like pumpkin (or ground turkey or spinach) ate it. Emily is right that it’s not the quickest meal to make, but nothing in the recipe is hard – just multiple steps/pans.