These easy Vegan Stuffed Shells are creamy, delicious and are perfect for a cozy family dinner! They’e made with a homemade tofu ricotta cheese and I bet that no one will even be able to tell that they’re vegan!
I know that January is all about eating soup and salads, but it’s so cold outside right now and cozy dinners are a must! And the best part about these Vegan Stuffed Shells is that they’re actually pretty healthy! They’re made with a tofu ricotta cheese so they’re low in fat and they’re packed with veggies 🙂
These Vegan Stuffed Shells are cozy, comforting and great for a big family dinner. I like to serve them with a big salad and garlic bread and we can usually eat them for days.
What You’ll Need For This Vegan Stuffed Shells Recipe
- Jumbo Pasta Shells – You should be able to find these in the pasta aisle at the grocery store. I have seen gluten free jumbo pasta shells before but you might have to go to a natural foods store to find them. If you can’t find jumbo pasta shells anywhere you could use manicotti instead.
- Tofu Ricotta Cheese – I’ve made both tofu and cashew based ricotta cheeses before and I really love the texture that the tofu gives. Using a tofu based ricotta also makes the dish much lower in fat. To make my Homemade Tofu Ricotta I use extra firm tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso paste, dried herbs, garlic powder and salt.
- Vegetables – You really can use any kind of vegetables you like in this recipe. I chose to use bell peppers, zucchini, onion and spinach. You could also leave them out if you prefer a more traditional stuffed shell recipe.
- Tomato Sauce – You want to use a good quality tomato sauce that you enjoy the taste of.
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese – I like to top my vegan stuffed shells with some vegan parmesan cheese. All you do is blend up some raw cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and spices until it resembles the size of regular parmesan cheese.
How To Make Vegan Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells sound a little complicated but they’re actually really easy to make!
- I start by cooking the pasta shells. You want to make sure that you don’t overcook them because then they will start to fall apart and you won’t be able to stuff them. I then chop all the vegetables and cook them in a sauté pan until tender and starting to caramelize. This will give them tons of flavor!
- Make the vegan parmesan cheese by adding ingredients to the food processor and blending until cashews are broken down. Then, make the vegan ricotta cheese by adding all ingredients to a food processor and blending until creamy.
- Pour about 3/4 of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a large baking pan and spread out. Let the shells sit until they’re cool enough to handle. Scoop the ricotta cheese mixture into each shell and place them on top of the tomato sauce. Top each shell with a small spoonful of tomato sauce and then bake until bubbly.
- Just before serving sprinkle with vegan parmesan and fresh herbs!
Soy Free Vegan Stuffed Shells
If you can’t eat soy you can either buy a store-bought vegan ricotta cheese made from nuts or you can easily make a cashew based vegan ricotta cheese. Here is a great recipe! I love nut based vegan cheese sauces but really love the texture of the ricotta cheese when it’s made with extra firm tofu.
I served these to my husband and he said that he couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t real ricotta cheese in them. Obviously since they’re not covered with melted cheese you can probably see that they’re vegan, but the taste and texture is spot on!
This is a great meal to have in the freezer when you need a super easy dinner and it’s also perfect for bringing to a friend who just had a baby or is in need of a homemade hot meal 🙂
These Vegan Stuffed Shells are made with a homemade creamy tofu ricotta cheese and they taste exactly like regular stuffed shells!
- 1 box jumbo shells (I cooked a 12 oz box but didn’t end up using all of the shells)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium sized zucchini, small diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, small diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 packed cup chopped spinach leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
- Optional toppings: fresh herbs, vegan parmesan cheese (recipe below)
Tofu Ricotta Cheese
- 28 ounces extra firm tofu
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons yellow miso paste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add jumbo shells and cook according to package directions. I like to add a splash of olive oil to the water to prevent them from sticking to each other. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook vegetables until softened, about 10 minutes, and then add the spinach and cook until just wilted.
- Add all vegan ricotta ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes. If it seems really thick you can always add in a tablespoon or so of almond milk or water. Add the ricotta cheese to a large bowl and mix in the cooked vegetables.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Pour about 3/4 of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and spread out. Use a one tablespoon scoop to scoop ricotta cheese into each shell noodle and then place into the baking dish. Spoon a few teaspoons of marinara sauce over each stuffed shell and bake in the oven until sauce is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with vegan parmesan and fresh herbs.
To make vegan parmesan cheese: In a food processor, add 1/3 cup raw cashews, 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt. Blend until mixture resembles parmesan cheese crumbs.