Mangia is an Italian word for eat which is just what you'll want to do with this recipe; invite over all your closest friends and family and have a huge vegan feast. Yes that's right, vegan! These stuffed shells are SO good and completely dairy free. How is that even possible? Read on to learn more about a vegan superfood, nutritional yeast, that makes this recipe possible.
Vegan Stuffed Shells
PREP TIME: 35 mins
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
1 large box of jumbo pasta shells (containing 30+ shells)
16 oz package organic firm or extra firm tofu, ~8 oz tofu once drained
16 oz organic raw spinach
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
28 oz can organic crushed tomatoes
28 oz can organic chopped tomatoes
2 medium onions
2 large cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
4-6 large basil leaves, chopped *reserve for when the shells come out of the oven
Begin by cooking the pasta shells according to directions for al dente. Drain and set side.
To make the sauce, dice both onions, finely chop garlic, and set both aside. In a large pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Place onions in hot pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Add chopped garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add crushed and chopped tomatoes (*do not drain the tomatoes), sugar, dried oregano, and salt to the pan. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the sauce for ~25 minutes stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is simmering, start the filling. Sauté spinach until wilted and then press through a sieve to remove excess liquid. Rough chop and set aside. Drain liquid from tofu container though note that it is ok if some liquid remains in the tofu as this will help give the texture of a "ricotta like cheese". In a large bowl, combine the tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mash with a fork until thoroughly combined. Make sure there are no large pieces of tofu in the mix, if there is keep mixing until the entire mixture has the appearance of ricotta cheese. Add chopped spinach and again stir to combine.
In a large baking dish, add 2 cups of sauce to fully cover the bottom of the pan. Carefully fill each shell with ~3 Tbsp filling and place in prepared pan. Continue the process until all the filling is used. Cover shells with an additional 2 cups sauce, cover with tinfoil, and bake for 20 minutes. Once removed from oven, sprinkle shells with fresh chopped basil and serve warm. These stuffed shells store perfectly in the fridge up to 5 days and are great to pop back into a 350 degrees oven for 10 minutes for a quick mid-week meal. They also freeze well in an air tight container, just make sure to thaw in the fridge about 24 hours prior to reheating.
By now we hope you're ready to eat! Because these stuffed shells are so rich and packed with flavor that you won't even miss the standard cheese variation. Even those persistent tofu dislikers (we all have those friends/family) may just change their minds with recipe. Or maybe they don't even have to know your little secret, we won't tell...
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.