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Spinach, tofu and tomato stuffed pasta shells recipe

Spinach, tofu and tomato stuffed pasta shells recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Pasta bakes

Low-fat baked pasta shells stuffed with a mixture of tofu and spinach, covered in your favourite tomato pasta sauce. A vegetarian and vegan dream!

Yorkshire, England, UK

2 people made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • 175g large pasta shells
  • 250g tofu
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 600g spinach
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 jar tomato pasta sauce, just enough to cover the shells

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the pack. Make the tomato sauce if using home-made.
  2. Finely chop the spinach (use a food processor if you have one) and fry gently with the nutmeg until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Crumble the tofu into small pieces in a bowl and mix in the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add to the spinach and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Lightly coat the base of an oven-proof dish with olive oil. Place some of the mixture inside each pasta shell and place in a single layer in the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce over the shells, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Found it a bit bland. The nutmeg was probably too strong a flavour.-07 Apr 2014

Vegan Tofu-Ricotta Stuffed Shells

These amazing Vegan Stuffed Shells are filled with tofu-ricotta, chopped spinach, sautéed onions and garlic, plus a few seasonings! They're perfect for any special occasion dinner but easy enough for a week-night entrée! Filled with yummy creaminess, they're sure to be an all-round favorite!

Stuffed Shells

Disclaimer: This page may include affiliate links, and I could earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I personally use and recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

If you are an pasta lover like me, then you likely know that Italian food is so much more than just pizza and pasta bolognese. One of those Italian inspired dishes I fell in love with is marinara covered and baked Stuffed Shells. It is another hit from The Friendly Vegan Cookbook that I wrote with my friend, Michelle Cehn (founder of World of Vegan!) and I’m beyond excited to share it with you. Beware, they are slightly addictive!

Simple Recipe, Fancy Dish

This Stuffed Shells recipe is one of those super simple preparations using easy to find ingredients that ends up looking like a million bucks! The final result will look like you spent hours in the kitchen working your magic when in reality it’s only a few pulses away. Our kind of recipe for sure!

This is why these Stuffed Shells are such a good choice when it comes to hosting a dinner or lunch, you get to show off your amazing chef skills after a chilled time in the kitchen. Also, these Stuffed Shells are great for calculating portions in advance. If you calculate 3 to 4 shells per person you could serve between 8 to 6 people in one go and using only one batch of this recipe.

The Power of the Marinara

This preparation doesn’t have many tips and tricks because of its simplicity but there is one thing that can make it or break it. The tomato sauce is the life of this dish and that is why it is important to make sure it is packed with flavor.

You can buy a rich ready-made marinara (or arrabbiata) and save yourself the extra time, or you can get crafty and make a big batch of homemade marinara recipe (like the one on The Friendly Vegan Cookbook!). Prepping a big batch of homemade marinara for the week can make your weekly meals a lot more interesting.

If you have some leftover cooked shells, you can enjoy them like any other pasta, I usually like dressing them with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic powder, salt, red chili pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast.

Step 2: Cook your pasta

Tofu Ricotta Cheese and Shells being prepared

Cook the pasta shells per the package. I partially cooked pasta shells about 9 minutes as per the package instructions. You can use any type of pasta shell from a whole wheat or a gluten free pasta depending on your preference.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) container bruschetta
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained
  • ½ onion, quartered
  • ½ (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • ½ (8 ounce) package Mozzarella-style vegan soy cheese

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic cook and stir until the garlic begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, bruschetta, and salt. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, then stir in the red wine and sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then spread layer of the prepared tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan.

Place the tofu, onion, spinach, and pesto into a blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Pour the tofu mixture into a resealable plastic bag. Snip the corner off the bottom of the bag, and pipe the mixture into the pasta shells. Arrange the pasta shells in the prepared baking pan. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the shells, then cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until the pasta shells are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and sprinkle the soy cheese on top. Return to the oven and continue baking until the the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes more.

Dairy-Free Spinach Stuffed Shells

Cut down the cholesterol without losing any flavor in this vegan stuffed shells recipe from Jenna Weber of Eat, Live, Run. See the full post at the Fresh Tastes Blog.



Jenna Weber is half of the Fresh Tastes blog team. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and, since then, has worked as a pastry chef, bread baker and freelance food editor. Currently, Jenna blogs full-time on where her delicious daily recipes and quirky culinary musings appeal to thousands. She lives in Northern California and, when not in the kitchen, can usually be found on her yoga mat.

Spinach, tofu and tomato stuffed pasta shells recipe - Recipes

Who knew that tofu would be a suitable ricotta replacement? I love pasta and definitely consider it one of my favorite comfort foods. I used jarred tomato sauce for this recipe, but of course it would be that much better with homemade. Even friends and family who are devoted cheese fans really enjoyed this and thought it tasted like “the real thing.”

1 package whole wheat shells

1 container of extra firm tofu

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

4-5 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 package of Daiya mozzarella

1 jar of organic tomato sauce

1. Boil shells according to package instructions drain and cool.

2. Defrost frozen spinach in microwave (be careful not to overheat). Remove excess liquid.

3. In a mixing bowl, mash the tofu and combine the spinach, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, and pinch of sea salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Over low heat, sauté the garlic and olive oil for several minutes, then combine with the tofu.

5. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of a baking pan. Stuff the shells with the tofu mixture and line up in the pan side by side.

6. Spread tomato sauce liberally over the shells, and sprinkle some Daiya on top. Cover with any remaining sauce.


I'm Shilpa. A foodie and a food blogger, a Software Engineer, a mom of two young kids. We live in Kansas, USA, born and brought up in India. Love gardening, knitting and crocheting, art and crafts. This blog is to preserve my Aayi's (Varada, my mom who also blogs here) Recipes and cooking methods as well share my adventures with cooking.

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Cashews


  • 12 pasta shells (approx. 100 g /3.5 oz)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150 g (5.5 oz) spinach (frozen or fresh)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) cashews (soaked)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (divided)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 150 ml (0.66 cup) plantbased milk
  • 150 ml (0.66 cup) plantbased heavy cream
  • 0.5 tsp chili flakes
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg


Peel and finely chop garlic and onion. Defrost frozen spinach in a sieve or wash and chop fresh spinach.

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry onion and garlic until translucent. Add spinach and braise for approx. 10 minutes or until either the fresh spinach wilts or the defrosted spinach is warmed. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. In case the spinach is still too watery, transfer to a sieve and drain.

Add coaked cashews, water, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and apple cider vinegar to a liquid measuring cup and mix with an immersion blender until combined, but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or add more nutritional yeast or some lemon juice.

Add spinach to cashew mixture and stir to combine. For the last time, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Parallelly, melt vegan butter in a saucepan and stir in flour. Slowly add plantbased milk and heavy cream, but keep stirring all the time to prevent any lumps in the sauce. Season with chili flaked, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until thickened.

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Once the pasta shells are done, drain. Add approx. two third of the sauce to your baking dish. Carefully fill each pasta shell with the spinach-cashew mixture and transfer to the baking dish, right into the sauce. Repeat with remaining pasta shells and filling, then drizzle with remaining sauce. Bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until the first pasta shells turn golden brown on top.

Spinach “Chicotta” Stuffed Pasta Shells

CHICOTTA! You’ve heard of it, haven’t you? …no?

Considering that it was just invented last week, I really can’t blame you. “Chicotta” is a new creation that will change the way you look at plant-based cheeses. It’s a ricotta-like cheese made from… chickpeas! (hence the name, chickpea ricotta, or chicotta). With just some chickpeas and a few other simple ingredients, you can whip up the creamiest and most delicious non-dairy cheese you’ve ever tasted.

The invention of this craziness was a collaboration between my friend Kara (@karabshilling on Instagram) and I. She created a chickpea and spinach filling for pasta shells and was kind enough to share the idea with me. I started experimenting with a few additional flavor combos and was blown away by the idea of using chickpeas as cheese. At last, what we have here is the world’s most creamy non-dairy stuffed pasta with a gorgeous homemade marinara sauce. The flavors and textures in this dish are really beyond description.

This chicotta cheese works perfectly in the jumbo pasta shells we’re using here, but they can be hard to find (I had to try 5 grocery stores). Luckily, it works just as well in any other type of stuffed pasta dish from cannelloni, to lasagna, to homemade ravioli, and more. You’ve got to try this one.

Makes about 25 shells (4 servings)


  • 2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup cooked spinach
  • 6 cups marinara sauce (recipe below)
  • 12 oz jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup ground cashews

Step One: The Chicotta Cheese

Before getting started, soak the cashews for anywhere between 1-12 hours to soften them up. Then, combine the cashews, chickpeas (drained & rinsed), nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice in a food processor and let it run until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If it happens to be so thick that it crumbles, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water. You want the consistency to somewhat firm, but still creamy.

Transfer this mixture to a bowl and use a spoon to gently fold in about 1 cup cooked spinach (freshly steamed or frozen/defrosted is fine). As with most plant-based cheeses, the flavors and textures of this chicotta improve after being refrigerated for several hours. So while preparing everything else, cover the lovely chicotta and stick it in the refrigerator.

Step Two: The Marinara Sauce

You’re welcome to use any type of marinara sauce you’d like. If you have an old family recipe, use that. If you’re in a pinch, you can even use sauce from a jar. For this, I actually modified a new recipe I found on which was perfect. It goes like this:

Marinara Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add in the diced yellow onion. Allow the onion to soften slightly over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, in the food processor, pulse the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper until still a little chunky (or completely smooth if you prefer).
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the skillet with the onions, add two splashes of white wine, and allow to simmer for at least 25 minutes.

Step Three: The Pasta

Cook the jumbo shells according to the package instructions. You’ll need about 25 whole shells, and the average (12 oz) box has a bit more than that. Some shells will break or become deformed during cooking, however, so it’s better to make the whole batch and potentially have a few extras.

For best results, gently add the shells to boiling water and remove when just al dente. Gently scoop them out into a colander and transfer the best ones to a plate to prepare for stuffing.

Step Four: The Stuffed Shells

Carefully hold the shell open in one hand and gently spoon in about 2 tablespoons of the chicotta cheese and spinach mixture. This is a tedious process, but take your time and the final results will be completely worth the effort.

Add 2/3 of the marinara sauce (which should now be finished) to the bottom of a 9吉 pan and place each shell on top. Drizzle the remaining marinara over the top of the shells and finally add a layer of finely-ground cashews (a great substitute for parmesan cheese that can be made by simply blending the nuts into crumbs). Cover this pan with foil and bake at 400º F for about 20 minutes until everything is thoroughly heated.

To serve, spoon some of the marinara sauce onto the plate and rest several shells on the top. Optionally garnish with chopped basil and any extra nuts.

Try not to die from an overload of deliciousness as you take the first bite.