Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale

No one will know these vegan stuffed shells are dairy-free! Packed with fresh herbs and kale, this stuffed shell recipe is one of our favorite dinners.

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale

I swear, no one will know these stuffed shells are vegan. Ok, that was a big statement, let me start over. I’m really pretty sure that these vegan stuffed shells will win over your pickiest eaters. This isn’t fancy food here… we all loved jumbo stuffed 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-esque. The cashew cream offers a bigger better flavor, and the tofu is there for texture. I also snuck some kale in for good measure, packing these vegan stuffed shells with veggies.

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale

And (now) speaking of fancy food – this vegan stuffed shell recipe 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 with Kale

Sauce, bake & devour…


5.0 from 11 reviews

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
No one will know these vegan stuffed shells are dairy-free! The "ricotta" is made from crumbled tofu and cashew cream, giving it a delicious texture. Fresh herbs and kale pack color and flavor into this favorite stuffed shell recipe.
Author:
Serves: 4 (pictured is a half-recipe)
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)
  • ¼ cup water (just enough to get the blade going)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • ½ cup crumbled firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ 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 degrees.
  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 large 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 ½ 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.

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

84 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Daniela
    02.24.2021

    Gotta tell you. Your recipe is indeed the best ricotta ever. I use cashews s lot but have been looking for ways to lower the fat & up the protein. This is it —the taste is perfectly creamy with the right texture. My husband loved it! He’s a part time vegan & is very keen on dairy & that’s a big shout out to you. Can’t wait to serve it to my carnivore friends!

  2. Beth
    01.15.2019

    Looks delicious. Will this recipe freeze?

  3. Jack Smith
    04.16.2018

    These were amazing! Makes for awesome leftovers as well

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.20.2018

      so happy they were a hit!

  4. d
    03.18.2018

    Great recipe! Didn’t have time to make the cashew cream the second time I made it, so I stuffed the shells with orange yam, mushroom and onion. Topped with some pine nuts. Love that your recipes are very adaptable.

  5. Anna
    08.20.2017

    Thanks for the great recipe! It’s become a regular occurrence in our house. Super flexible too; I didn’t have greens today so I tossed in some lima beans and chopped bell peppers. I add the little leftovers of any veggie.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.25.2017

      Hi Anna, thank you for coming back to let me know – I’m so thrilled that it’s become a staple!

  6. Siv Ricketts
    01.16.2016

    Just today my Tween noticed jumbo pasta shells at the grocery store. I used to make stuffed shells often when I was in my early 20’s and learning to cook, but abandoned them as I ate increasingly plant-based. My Tween has never had stuffed shells, so I promised I would research recipes. Yours wins! Can’t wait to go back to the store with Tween in tow, buy that bag of pasta shells, and make him the dinner he can’t wait to try. Thank you!

    • Siv Ricketts
      03.29.2016

      I’ve made this twice now and the whole family (including two teen boys) are fans. Thanks!

  7. Wow! The “ricotta” was so good on pizza. I added 2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp tamari for bit of extra salty-savory punch. To help replace the sweetness in dairy ricotta, I added 1/4 tsp agave. It was heavenly swirled with pesto, atop freshly made tomato sauce and a spelt crust. A keeper for sure-thank you!

    • jeanine
      11.08.2015

      so glad you liked it! thanks for your suggestions too!

  8. Angela
    10.18.2015

    This recipe is FANTASTIC! The filling is so creamy and flavorful, I am going to be making this again for sure. Thank you!

    • jeanine
      10.19.2015

      thanks! I’m so glad you liked it!!

  9. kate
    03.23.2015

    Dang.
    Dang, dang, dang.
    This was delicious!

    Others have already mentioned this, but it seemed like 1/2 c. of tofu was too small of an amount when combined with the 1 1/2 c. of cashew cream. I used the whole block of tofu with the cashew cream, and adjusted the spices to taste. I felt like the consistency was more ‘ricotta’ like with that adjustment.

  10. kayr
    02.01.2015

    Made this recipe tonight. New to vegan cooking. Delicious! Used spinach instead of kale and added fresh basil. Also made your vegan French toast.for breakfast. Great recipes.

    • jeanine
      02.01.2015

      So glad, thanks for letting me know – glad you liked the french toast too!! 🙂

  11. Kitty
    02.01.2015

    This recipe is amazing! We added chopped mushroom to the ricotta and a few sautéed mushroom on top of everything and it was delicious. We had a non-vegan friend over and served him this and coconut milk chocolate mousse for desert. It could not have been a better introduction to vegan cuisine. Thanks!

  12. This was really delicious. I served it for my mom’s birthday dinner and it was a hit. I actually made a double batch and froze half. We’re having it for dinner tonight, so that reminded me to come by and say thank you.

  13. Rhea from facebook.com
    11.15.2014

    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!

  14. Chiara
    10.26.2014

    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
      10.26.2014

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

  15. It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I’m happy that
    you simply shared this helpful info with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  16. SLy
    08.14.2014

    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
      08.15.2014

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

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.