Stuffed Shells is a very elegant dish that can be used for a main course or a side dish for your next dinner gathering. The shells are stuffed with a vegan tofu ricotta cheese and spinach topped with your favorite marinara sauce (jarred or homemade). Once you make this easy ricotta cheese, you'll never want to try it any other way- it can be used with a variety of recipes (goes really well with lasagna too!).
I always interchange between ricotta cheese made from cashews and ricotta cheese made with tofu (like this one). For me, it really depends what I'm using it for - if I want something a little more decadent then I go with the cashew ricotta as it is much heavier than the tofu ricotta. What I love about this tofu ricotta is how light and airy it is, there's no heaviness feeling you get after eating it.
The key to stuffed shells is making sure the ricotta cheese isn't too thin; you want to keep it at a bit of a thicker consistency so that shells will be able to hold the mixture.
When it comes to marinara sauce, it really just depends on your personal preference. You can decide if you like to add more sauce to make it more saucy or keep it on the dry side by adding less of the sauce. I do recommend adding the sauce though, as it does provide a lot of depth to the recipe.
You can use store bought marinara sauce (I like using a variety of Organic marinara sauces) or you can make your own :) Completely your preference.
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1 block extra firm tofu
1 tbsp organic nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1-2 tsp veggie broth as needed
1 1/2 - 2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 350º
Cook pasta shells according to package instructions
In a blender or food processor, add the crumbled tofu (I just used my hands to break up the tofu), nutritional yeast, salt, garlic, and Italian seasoning. If using a blender, start on the slow speed and gradually increase to a higher speed. Be sure to scrape down the sides halfway through. * If you feel like you need to add liquid, add 1-2 tsp of veggie broth at a time. Be careful not to make it too thin*
Add in the chopped spinach and pulse 1-2 times if using a food processor and just blend for 10-15 seconds if using a blender/Vitamix - you should be able to see the spinach pieces in your ricotta.
Start stuffing the shells with either a spoon or piping bag.
In a cast iron skillet, deep baking dish, or any other deep pan - add some of the marinara sauce to the bottom
add the stuffed shells in your preferred way and top with additional marinara sauce
Bake in the oven for 10-13 minutes
Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy :)
Tools used in this recipe: