Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vegan Baked Shells

A very small, small part of me would like to be vegan. Or at least dairy free.

Well, perhaps like is the wrong word. I should say that a big part of me is confident my body would be happier if I gave up dairy entirely. However, when I have the debate with myself, usually my brain and taste buds win over.

I can't help it. I just love cheese.

Brie. Swiss. Creamy ricotta. No matter how you slice it, I'm delighted.

That's why I'm always glad when I stumble across a recipe like this. A perfect supper for those of us not really convinced we want to be vegan.

Baked shells. Topped with a delicious tomato sauce. Stuffed with a creamy, VEGAN tofu mixture that just screams "ricotta cheese."

The tofu is blended up with a mix of spices and a bit of nutritional yeast. What results is as creamy as ricotta cheese with a similar taste composition.

Well, pretty similar. This isn't the ricotta cheese I would want to spread on toast and eat fresh, but mixed with chopped spinach and baked it was delicious.

These stuffed shells baked up beautifully, and they made for a delightful dinner!

Do you have a favorite vegan supper? I'm in the mood to start experimenting.

Vegan Baked Shells
recipe adapted from Fresh Tastes

This recipe would easily serve four for dinner, and I got closer to six dinner-sized portions out of it. This uses about a half package of shells. The filling could be easily doubled.

1 box jumbo shells (I filled about 1/2 of the shells with the filling here. The filling could easily be doubled, or the number of shells cooked could be decreased to about 2/3 of the box, to control for any that break)
1 recipe for your favorite tomato sauce (Here's mine, though then the recipe won't be vegan anymore!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
16 ounces extra-firm tofu
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted

Drain the tofu, and pat it dry with paper towels. Crumble the tofu into the bowl of the food processor, and add in olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic and yeast. Process on high until the mixture is smooth and resembles ricotta cheese in consistency.

Add the spinach to the tofu mixture.

Cook the shells in boiling water until they are al dente, following package instructions. Drain well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Ladle tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Stuff each shell with about two tablespoons of tofu mixture. Then, place each shell seam-side down in the pan.

Repeat the process until all shells have been stuffed. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the shells.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for about 30 minutes. Enjoy.


  1. These sound really good! My favorite vegan dish is the spicy peanut noodles that I get at a local restaurant. I've made them at home a few times, but not necessarily vegan. Vegan would just be waaaay too hard for me. I can't imagine life without butter!

    1. Ooh! Spicy peanut noodles sound fun. I rarely cook Asian-inspired dishes, but I think if I want to try more vegan dishes I should. Butter would be far too hard for me to live without too.

  2. I occasionally think about going vegan...but I just love cheese. And real buttery baked goods. And eggs. And the ease of non-vegan baking. So basically I could never be vegan. But I do try to make at least one vegan meal a week (which equals me eating about one vegan meal a day).

    I love the sound of this stuffed shells filling! So much healthier than ricotta. :)

    1. One vegan meal a week is a great idea! I see so many people do Meatless Mondays, but since I do meatless everyday trying a vegan meal is a great idea. I'm going to have to start searching for some recipes (I'm also glad to know that I'm also not the only one to eat leftovers often!).