Vegan Life | Recipes

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Tofu Ricotta

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When I was in college and learning to cook, the first dishes I perfected were Italian pasta dishes, like lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, and of course, stuffed shells. Stuffed shells are a delicious comfort food for me, but they're made with cheese and eggs. Fortunately, I've managed to create delicious vegan ricotta from tofu, and stuffed shells are once again on the menu in my kitchen. A little bit of flour helps to bind everything together in place of an egg.

These vegan stuffed shells are so easy to make that you'll have no problem making them any day. But they are also perfect for holidays like Christmas and Easter, or for family gatherings.

A good marinara sauce is important for any stuffed shells recipe.

This recipe uses a large amount of marinara sauce; if you don't make your own, I'd recommend choosing a high-quality brand such as Rao's or Silver Palate. A good marinara makes all the difference in any stuffed shells recipe. I've made the mistake in the past of using store-brand pasta sauces, and I didn't realize what I was missing until I tried a better sauce. I'm on a budget, so I stock up on my favorite sauces when they go on sale.

I cook the pasta shells al dente, or a little on the firm side. The sauce will continue to soften the shells in the oven, so you don't need to overcook them. The shells will also be less likely to tear. However, feel free to cook the pasta to your preference! Be careful not to tear the shells when separating and filling them.

You'll need to make a batch of tofu ricotta for this recipe, you can find the recipe for that here.

Being vegan doesn't have to stop you from enjoying classic comfort foods like stuffed shells!

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Tofu Ricotta

Yield6-8 servings

Prep Time37 minutes

Cook Time38 minutes

Total Time75 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. jumbo pasta shells

  • 10 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 batch tofu ricotta

  • 2 tsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 7 oz. dairy-free shredded mozzarella, such as Trader Joe's cashew mozzarella (optional)

  • 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Half-fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta shells, and cook al dente, about 8 minutes, stirring regularly. Drain the shells and place them in cool water to stop them from cooking further.

  3. While the pasta is cooking, place the spinach in a mesh sieve, and balance the sieve at the top of the pasta pot. Cover the pot with a lid, removing occasionally to stir the pasta. Remove and drain the spinach when it's bright green and wilted, about 3-4 minutes. (Depending on the size of your sieve, you may need to steam the spinach in two batches. If you don't have a sieve, you can wilt the spinach in a large skillet with water over medium heat.)

    Steam spinach until it's dark green in color and reduced in size. This spinach is nearly ready, but not quite.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, mix ricotta, flour, onion powder, black pepper, spinach, and mozzarella (if using).

  5. Spread 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce on the bottom of a large 10 x 15 baking dish.

  6. Fill each pasta shell with a large spoonful of ricotta filling and place in the prepared baking dish. When all shells are in the dish, top the shells with an additional 1 cup of marinara sauce.

    Arrange your shells in your casserole dish, and top with additional marinara sauce.
  7. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Notes & Hints

This recipe makes enough filling for 21-24 shells (depending on whether you use mozzarella); but a 12-oz box contains 36-40 shells. Some shells may tear, so you may wish to cook more than 24 shells, but you don't need to cook the whole box.

If you do want to make use of all the shells in a 12-oz. box, multiply the ingredients by 1.5x. You will likely need an additional casserole pan to fit all the shells.

Cooking the shells al dente reduces tearing, and the shells will soften further in the oven. You don't need to cook the shells for the time listed on the box.

StephSunshine

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.