vegan stuffed shells

vegan stuffed shells / loveandlemons.com vegan stuffed shells / loveandlemons.com

I swear, no one will know this is vegan. Ok, that was a big statement, let me start over. I’m really pretty sure that this one will win over your pickiest eaters. This isn’t fancy food here… we all loved jumbo shells in the 90′s and I’m bringing them back today with the best quotation marked “ricotta” that I’ve made yet.

The trick is to combine cashew cream with tofu. I’ve made a lot of vegan lasagnas by crumbling tofu with herbs – which looks very ricotta-esque, but still tastes decidedly tofu. The cashew cream offers a bigger better flavor and the tofu is there for texture. I also snuck some kale in for good measure.

vegan stuffed shells / loveandlemons.com

And (now) speaking of fancy food – this post was inspired by the selection of ingredients that came in my Hatchery Box. Hatchery is a monthly subscription of tasty artisan-made treats that come right to your door. Much the same way I love my farm delivery for produce - I just love this for the surprise of it all. Surprise ingredients are what get me out of cooking ruts. If you’re not one for surprises, don’t worry they send recipe cards to go along with each ingredient as well.

vegan stuffed shells / loveandlemons.com

Sauce, bake & devour…

vegan stuffed shells

Yield: serves 4 (pictured is a half-recipe)

Serving Size: 4 shells per person

vegan stuffed shells

Ingredients

    vegan “ricotta”: (can be made ahead)
  • 1.5 cups cashews, soak overnight & drain
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ume vinegar (or sub more lemon + salt)
  • 1/4 cup water (just enough to get the blade going)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup finely chopped raw kale (or spinach)
  • handful of chopped chives and/or other fresh herbs
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • for the shells:
  • 16 jumbo shells
  • a few cups of marinara sauce
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • (very optional) - top with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree together the cashews, garlic, vinegar, and lemon juice. Add only enough water to help the blade along. Taste and add salt & pepper to your liking.
  3. Scoop cashew cream into a medium bowl and add the crumbled tofu, oregano, red pepper flakes, kale, chives, and another few pinches of salt & pepper. Stir & taste.
  4. Cook your shells in salty water until al dente.
  5. Prepare a baking dish with a good slathering of marinara at the bottom.
  6. Scoop a few tablespoons of filling into each shell, place them into the baking dish. Top each with a generous spoonful of marinara and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes.

Notes

Pictured is a half recipe (for 2 of us). I stored 1/2 the ricotta mixture for the two of us for another night.

You can add the chopped kale raw or slightly cooked (heat it in a pan with a drop of oil until it wilts). It'll cook in the oven either way, the only benefit to the extra step of cooking it is that you can pack more in here if it's a bit wilted.

One night we added mushrooms - yum.

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This post is sponsored by Hatchery. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!

87 comments

  1. I need to get on this ‘ricotta’ bandwagon! Cashew cream is one of my favorite things in baked goods, but I need to try it in dinner dishes too!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      it’s SO good as a cheesy replacement!

  2. Yum! I love stuffed shells, and yours looks like a vegan option so good, you wouldn’t even miss the original! Beautiful pictures, by the way! :)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thank you Lisa!

  3. Ileana from alittlesaffron.com on said:

    These look so good. I’ve seen vegan cashew cream recipes but never a ricotta. This former vegan will have to try it some time!

  4. Jona from zeelemons.com on said:

    YES! I must get some shells and sauce for dinner tonight! Thank you.

  5. india from aveganobsession.com on said:

    what a wonderful recipe for ricotta. LOVE your photos!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thank you India!

  6. I am trying this recipe immediately. Stuffed shells? Homemade “ricotta”? SO in love.

  7. cheri from mysavoryspoon.blogspot.com on said:

    Never tried cashew cream before, sounds dreamy. This pasta dish looks amazing!

  8. I’ve been seeing so many stuffed shell recipes lately, but I haven’t seen very many vegan ones. This looks amazeballs. You rock. Thank you for filling that void in my life.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      ha, anytime :)

  9. Indira from illcookyouwash.wordpress.com on said:

    That looks delicious! I just actually bought that same dish online and I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival! Might use this recipe as its inaugural dish. :)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I use it all the time, it’s the perfect size for 2! (if yours is bigger you can fit more shells, the recipe is written for shells)

  10. Tereza from lifeandcity.tumblr.com on said:

    Definitely one of my favorite dishes!!

    http://lifeandcity.tumblr.com

  11. Asha from forkspoonnknife.com on said:

    Hmm.. I am not a huge tofu fan, so I have steered clear of using it as a substitute. I heard there is even tofu cream cheese. I much prefer cashew cream and love how versatile it is! This is a cool use of it Jeanine!

    I had a question – What kind of pasta did you use? GF or just egg free regular shells?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Just regular ones (they have no eggs)… I couldn’t find any that were gluten free, wheat, (or even organic :)). I have another variation coming up tomorrow that’s gluten free & healthier.

  12. Justina from onedomesticgoddess.com on said:

    This looks delicious! I love the healthy and beautiful food on your blog. Your recipes are always so creative.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thanks Justina!

  13. You always have the best pasta recipes, and I’m sure this is nothing short of phenomenal!! Do you think with the tofu, this can be made ahead and frozen too?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Katie, I think it might freeze well, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure… I did keep the ricotta filling (separate from the shells) in the fridge for 4-5 days.

  14. This is so inventive!!! I have been craving stuffed shells and lasagna lately. This will give me an excuse to try this tofu-cotta out! Alos, I loooove the saucy picture!

  15. mr.tinypants on said:

    Hey everybody! Stop saying how good this sounds and just make it already. My wife gave me a standing ovation for this one. She even ate the leftovers for breakfast. She never eats dinner for breakfast. It does not taste or feel vegan, which is to say the filling is savory, rich and rather velvety as opposed to twiggy, dusty and just plain sad. It’s incredibly delicious, guilt-free eating. You can prepare this to oven ready and freeze. To get the creaminess, I mixed the cashew cream with the tofu and finely chopped kale in a stand mixer on medium high speed, added 1/4 cup nutritional yeast as a binder. The key is to beat the political correctness out of the tofu. Thanks Jeanine!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      ha, glad your wife loved it! We laughed out loud reading your comment :)

  16. Bella from sincerelyisabella.blogspot.com.au on said:

    Mmmmm. I’ve just come out of a week of eating vegan and I’m definitely trying to eat less animal product. This s=looks like a brilliant recipe for doing so.
    Thanks Jeanine!
    Bella
    http://sincerelyisabella.blogspot.com.au

  17. trisha from sugarthumb.co.uk on said:

    these looks amazing. Totally going to give them a go. have a great sunday!

  18. I wonder if I can find gluten free jumbo shells…

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I don’t think they exist, but check out today’s post – I made an equally delicious version wrapping up this filling and baking it in cabbage leaves. (This filling would also work well in lasagna).

  19. MB from bourbonandbrownsugar.wordpress.com on said:

    Oh my… what a gorgeous post… looks like a fantastic dinner for (yet another) snowy day. Oh, and thanks for enlightening me to the existence of Hatchery. I can’t wait to try it! Just discovered your blog and looking forward to following many more posts :)

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thanks, and welcome! Hatchery is so much fun :)

  20. sg from stellacgardner.wordpress.com on said:

    love this post!!!! take a look my latest blog post, where I mention love and lemons and talk about the concept of Hatchery at http://stellacgardner.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/a-gift-to-the-taste-buds/

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      oh thank you – I had to laugh about “level of culinary expertise”… you are way too kind. Glad you were inspired by Hatchery, I think it’s such a great concept!

  21. mea from meatsandsweets.net on said:

    Love your blog!

    Also can’t wait to make this vegan ricotta. It looks great.

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  23. Skyforged from skyforged.fr on said:

    OH MY GAWD; it looks amazing…

  24. Morgan from instagram.com on said:

    I am JUST starting to experiment with veganism. Yesterday was day 1 of no meat/dairy but this was so delicious, I didn’t even miss it.

    Thanks so much for posting this!! It was really incredible!! Can’t wait to make more meals from your blog.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Ha, not a bad start for day 1 :). Congrats & I’m so glad you liked it!

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  27. Marisa on said:

    Made this last night! After so many wannabe cheese vegan dishes my husband was skeptical, but he and I both DEVOURED this. Perfect texture to dupe ricotta without a hint of tofu flavor. I was wondering, is the 1 and a half cups cashew blended then adding half a cup crumbled tofu incorrect? I ended up adding about a cup of crumbled tofu to make the texture resemble ricotta, with just half a cup it was way too runny. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Marisa, so glad you both liked it!

      That’s what I used but it’s possible that my cashew cream could have started out less watery – sounds like you made a perfect fix!

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  40. Ruth from realfoods.co.uk on said:

    I’ve only just finished breakfast, but these look so amazing that my mouth is watering already! I’m not actually a fan of anything cheesy, but I do LOVE cashews so this sounds dreamy. Can’t wait for dinner………

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  44. cair on said:

    Just made these tonight- they were absolutely fantastic! I’ve tried store bought vegan ricotta’s and they were never quite right, but this was incredible. Even my inlaw’s loved them, and they are meat eaters.
    I’ll be using this cheese in other recipes as well :)

    (I took the cashew cream, spices, spinach, and tofu and blended it instead of just mixing it all up. this made a great texture! )

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      so glad you liked it, thanks!

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  59. SLy on said:

    I just made this tonight. It was a hit with my husband. He’s Vegan, but I’m not. This is adding faith in me than Vegan can taste better than the average! I made the whole batch of the filling but only used half of it to make about 8 shells. Looking forward to making the rest.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      yes! So glad you (and he) liked it!

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  62. Chiara on said:

    I’ve made this dish twice now, and both times it turned out great! The first time I followed the recipe for the “ricotta” mixture to the letter and it tasted great. Last night I only had about 3/4 c. of cashews left so I mixed them with a whole block of semi-firm tofu. The filling still turned out deliciously even with those modifications.

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Chiara – so glad you’ve liked it – thanks for sharing!

  63. Rhea from facebook.com on said:

    LOL! As I was reading about your “Ricotta” I came up with “Rigotcha” you know, since it taste like Ricotta, but you got them because it’s not….LOL! Have a great day!

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