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.
How to make Vegan Stuffed Shells
Step One – Boil the Jumbo Pasta Shells. These pasta shells get cooked like most other pasta but for this recipe, you will want to make sure NOT to cook your shells PAST al dente – that means to remove them from the water when they are still slightly firm. If they are too soft, they will tear when filled. But don’t worry. Since they bake 40 minutes in a rich marinara sauce, they will get plenty soft.
Once your pasta shells are done, strain the water through a colander and set them aside to cool enough so that you can handle them.
Step Two – Make the Filling. The cashew ricotta is a quick, 5-minute recipe that involves blending cashews with tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and a few spices. In the past, I have created this recipe by using only cashew or tofu as the ricotta base but I found that by blending both together you get the perfect combination of rich and creamy without being too dense and heavy.
You’re going to love it!
What you need to make Cashew Ricotta
You don’t need much to make impressive nut-based cheeses at home. You only need a few ingredients and a couple of kitchen gadgets. First of all, when making vegan ricotta, you will need a food processor.
Having a high-quality food processor is very beneficial for plant-based eating and especially when it comes to nut-based cheeses. This is the food processor I recommend. I have been using it for years and I love it!
In addition, you need the following ingredients:
- raw cashews
- extra-firm tofu
- nutritional yeast
- lemon juice
For this herbed ricotta recipe, you will also need fresh parsley and spinach. I add the parsley and spinach after blending it together in a food processor 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
Tightly wrap any leftover shells and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days of the freezer for 1 month. To serve, cover in tin foil and gently reheat in the oven.
Can these be made in advance?
Yes! Make the shells according to the instructions below. If you are going to be storing 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.
More Vegan Pasta
I am a huge fan of vegan pasta. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- 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
Well, that’s it! Everything you need to make the perfect vegan stuffed shells. Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at the recipe card below.
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.
Keyword: Vegan Stuffed Shells
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.
- Transfer any leftovers into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- To make this recipe in advance, 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.