Who doesn’t love cheese and pasta! Even if you’re living a dairy-free or vegan life, you probably don’t want to give up this match made in heaven.
Stuffing jumbo pasta shells with delicious ingredients like perfectly cooked tofu, nutritious spinach, creamy vegan ricotta, and fragrant tomato sauce is one of my favorite ways to make an easy dinner. Not only is this dish surprisingly nutritious, but it’s also entirely dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
This baked, stuffed shells recipe is excellent to make ahead of time as a dish for a family gathering and is one of the best vegan comfort foods I’ve found! The kids love it, too.
You can make these healthy stuffed shells without ricotta. Still, it’s so quick and easy to make delicious, homemade vegan tofu ricotta that I pretty much always keep a pot in the fridge or freezer ready for emergency dinners.
You can also pick up vegan ricotta from some specialist stores for your eggless stuffed shells if you don’t fancy making your own.
Dairy-Free Stuffed Shells Recipe
My family absolutely adores these easy stuffed shells. Wonderfully filling and satisfying pasta perfection awaits!
Before you start cooking, here are some of my top tips to make this jumbo shells recipe special:
1. Don’t overcook the pasta
Overcooked pasta will leave you with mushy vegan pasta shells that are simply not appetizing. Remember, your jumbo stuffed shells will continue to cook in the oven, so it’s a good idea to leave them slightly ‘al dente’ and rinse them with cold water once they’re done boiling.
2. Use a piping bag
Using a piping bag makes squeezing the delicious fillings into each shell easier and considerably less messy.
3. Any spinach works
For these vegan spinach stuffed shells, you can use frozen or fresh spinach – whatever you have on hand will be absolutely fine! Be sure to thoroughly thaw frozen spinach before cooking. You could also skip the spinach, but I think tofu ricotta stuffed shells with spinach are way tastier!
4. Press your tofu
Before cooking with tofu, it’s vital to squeeze out any excess liquid to get the best flavor. Use a tofu press for the best results, or squeeze the liquid out of your tofu by placing it between two paper towel-wrapped chopping boards and weighing it down with heavy objects such as cookbooks, tins, or cast-iron cookware.
Make these vegan stuffed shells without nuts by swapping the cashews for a second block of tofu. You won’t need as much water in the recipe if you do this, so add it slowly.
Sunflower seeds will also work beautifully in this recipe!
How to store and reheat vegan stuffed pasta shells
If you don’t want to eat your vegan stuffed shells immediately or have leftovers, simply allow the shells to cool, then place them in an airtight container.
The vegan tofu stuffed shells will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze them for up to 2 months.
When you’re ready to eat, simply pop them into the microwave or oven and cook until the stuffed shells are warm all the way through.
Final notes on our vegan stuffed shells recipe
I like to make these vegan stuffed shells the night before an event. I get everything ready and laid up in the casserole dish, cover with foil, and place in the refrigerator until I’m ready to cook. Don’t leave your vegan stuffed shells in the refrigerator for more than 8-10 hours before baking. With this quick and easy way to feed the masses, you can spend less time in the kitchen during the event.
My family absolutely loves these vegan tofu ricotta stuffed shells. They’re quick, easy, and filling: a guaranteed winner in any household! And even non-vegans love the rich, creamy flavors of the vegan ricotta tofu!
Vegan Stuffed Shells: Dairy-free And Delicious
12oz package of eggless jumbo pasta shells
26oz jar of marinara sauce (tomato sauce will also work here)
2 c raw cashews
24oz firm tofu, pressed
½ c nutritional yeast
¼ c fresh lemon juice (approximately 1 large lemon)
¼ c water
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
10oz package of chopped, frozen spinach or 2-3 c fresh spinach, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F and press the excess water out of your block of tofu.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the jumbo pasta shells with a pinch of salt.
Cook the pasta shells until they are almost done. Approx. 8-10 minutes or as per instructions on the package.
Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
Make the spinach ricotta by adding the cashews to a food processor and pulsing until they’re fine and crumbly.
Add the dry seasonings, yeast, and lemon juice to the food processor.
Combine until you have a light, creamy mixture.
Squeeze any excess liquid from the spinach by hand over the sink, then add to the food processor and pulse to combine.
In a large casserole dish, evenly spread 1 c of marinara along the bottom.
Scoop 2 Tbsp of the spinach ricotta mixture into each shell.
Lay the shell open-side up in the casserole dish on top of the sauce.
Continue stuffing your shells until you use up all of the spinach ricotta.
Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the vegan stuffed shells, and place the dish into the oven.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.
Serve hot and enjoy this vegan comfort dish!