You’re going to love these vegan stuffed shells. They are filled with herbed cashew ricotta and fresh spinach and topped with a marinara sauce for a classic plant-based pasta dish that the whole family will love.
Do we agree that pasta is simply one of the most romantic meals? Whether it’s Vegan Pesto Pasta, Classic Fettucine Alfredo, or One-Pot Garlic White Wine Pasta with Peas, there is something so classically charming about simple vegan pasta dishes.
With just a few days before Valentine’s day, I thought I’d share with you one of the most romantic and delicious pasta of all time: vegan stuffed shells.
These jumbo shells are filled with delicious cashew and tofu ricotta flavored with fresh parsley and spinach. All topped in a classic marina sauce for a meal that is so rich no one will believe it’s vegan!
Let’s take a closer look.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
These vegan stuffed shells are rich, creamy, and topped with a delicious Sage Cream Sauce that makes this recipe perfect for fall. And, while they are an impressive meal, they are surprisingly easy to make.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Jumbo Pasta Shells – If you are looking for a gluten-free option, I like this brand of gluten-free pasta. (<<affiliate link)
- Cashew Ricotta – This homemade vegan ricotta is a blend of raw cashews, water, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt.
- Tofu – I recommend using extra-firm tofu. You need tofu that will keep it’s structure when crumbles. Avoid silken tofu and look for tofu that is water-packed (found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store).
- Herbs & Spices – You will need salt and pepper and oregano as well as fresh parsley.
- Fresh Spinach
- Marinara Sauce – Use either store bought or homemade.
- Vegan Parmesan – I recommend Violife parmesan. It is creamy, melty, and tastes exactly how I remember parmesan to taste. If you don’t have access to Violife, you can make your own parmesan.
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to make Vegan Stuffed Shells
Step One – Boil the Pasta Shells
Cook these pasta shells in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, until shells are al dente. Take care not to cook your shells past al dente. If they are too soft, they will tear when filled.
Once your pasta shells are done, drain the water through a colander and set them aside to cool enough so that you can handle them.
Step Two – Make the Filling
Blend together the cashews with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and a few spices. While I typically recommend using a Vitamix for blended cashew recipes, in this case, since you’re looking for the consistency of ricotta cheese, a food processor works great!
Transfer the cashew ricotta to a small bowl and add parsley and spinach. It’s important to stir this in by hand so that the herbs don’t get completely puréed.
Step three – Assemble the shells
To stuff the shells, take a single shell and gently press it open from the top and the bottom with your finger, opening it up width-wise (rather than lengthwise).
Scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of herbed cashew ricotta inside each shell and place them in your prepared pan. Repeat until all shells are gone. You will likely have a few torn shells, so I always make about 4-5 extra shells for this recipe.
Cover the shells with marinara sauce and bake.
Serving and Storing
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator the night before. Once thawed, gently reheat in the oven until heated all the way through.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Make the shells according to the instructions below. If you are going to store the shells, wrap them in plastic wrap before baking them and place them in the refrigerator or freezer. To bake frozen shells, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking them. They will need a little longer in the oven since they will be chilled.
Sure! There are many brands of gluten-free pasta. Follow the directions on the package for cooking.
More Vegan Pasta
- Skinny Creamy Garlic Sauce Pasta
- Vegan Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Bechamel Sauce
- Penne Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce
- Vegan Fettuccini Alfredo
You're going to love these vegan stuffed shells. They are filled with herbed cashew ricotta and fresh spinach and topped with a marinara sauce for a classic plant-based pasta dish that the whole family will love.
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 243 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
- 1 batch Cashew Ricotta
- 6 oz. extra-firm tofu, crumbled
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, minced
- freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the jumbo shells according to packaged directions. Strain through the water when shells are al dente. Do not overcook as they will become too tender to stuff. Allow shells to cool while preparing the filling.
In a food processor blend together the ingredients for the Cashew Ricotta until it begins to resemble ricotta cheese. Add tofu, oregano, salt, and pepper and blend until evenly incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in parsley and spinach and set aside.
Pour 1 cup of marinara sauce into a 9x13 baking pan. To stuff shells, gently press the top and the bottom with your fingers so that shells open width-wise. Spoon in 2 heaping tablespoons of spinach ricotta filling and place in the pan on top of the marinara sauce. Repeat until all the filling is gone. It should fill about 20 shells. Top with remaining marinara sauce.
- Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until sauce is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow shells to cool slightly before serving.
Serve with vegan parmesan and fresh parsley.
Serving and storing - Serve these stuffed shells immediately with vegan parmesan and fresh basil or parsley. Serve the shells with a big Caesar salad or homemade soup. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator the night before. Once thawed, gently reheat in the oven until heated all the way through.
Make in Advance - To make this recipe in advance, make the shells according to the instructions below. If you are going to store the shells, wrap them in plastic wrap before baking them and place them in the refrigerator or freezer. To bake frozen shells, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking them. They will need a little longer in the oven since they will be chilled.