Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale

No one will know these vegan stuffed shells are dairy-free! Filled with a delicious vegan ricotta and 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 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 7 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.
Serves: 4 (pictured is a half-recipe)
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
  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.
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!

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  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 on said:

      it’s SO good as a cheesy replacement!

    • I was just curious to know… if I do not use the ume vinegar, how much lemon juice should I use? In total. Thank you!! Have a good one. 🙂

    • Kathi on said:

      Easy to do, I boiled the cashews instead of waiting. Fabulous taste. Next time I will increase the receipe by half I guess I tend to stuff too much. But a definite keeper.

  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 on said:

      thank you Lisa!

  3. Ileana from 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 on said:

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

  5. india from on said:

    what a wonderful recipe for ricotta. LOVE your photos!

    • jeanine from on said:

      thank you India!

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

  7. cheri from 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 on said:

      ha, anytime 🙂

  9. Indira from 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 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. Asha from 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 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.

  11. Justina from on said:

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

    • jeanine from on said:

      thanks Justina!

  12. 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 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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 on said:

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

  15. Bella from 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!

  16. trisha from on said:

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

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

    • jeanine from 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).

  18. MB from 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 on said:

      thanks, and welcome! Hatchery is so much fun 🙂

    • jeanine from 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!

  19. mea from on said:

    Love your blog!

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

  20. Skyforged from on said:

    OH MY GAWD; it looks amazing…

  21. Morgan from 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 on said:

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

  22. 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 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!

  23. Ruth from 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………

  24. 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 on said:

      so glad you liked it, thanks!

  25. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours nowadays, yet I never found any
    interesting article like yours. It is lovely worth sufficient for me.
    In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right
    content as you did, the internet can be much more useful than ever before.

  26. Let me explain, my dad suffered from ALL of the following: acid reflux; heartburn; hiatal hernia; gastritis;
    esophageal reflux and bile reflux when I was growing up (past tense).
    Esophageal cancer being one of the more serious cases that can occur.

    And, if this undigested food gets into your colon, it can create
    colon cancer, if it occurs over many years.

    Here is my web blog: ways to relieve heartburn

  27. Buying cheap ones might save you money in the short run,
    but you will end up suffering for a longer time. Other causes include lifting extremely heavy
    objects and putting extra strain on the tissues of
    the feet that are prone to damage. This can be accomplished
    with the use of orthotics.

    Here is my page – shoes for plantar fasciitis relief

  28. green energy tips on said:

    Nice weblog right here! Also your web site loads up very fast!
    What web host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink for your
    host? I desire my web site loaded up as fast as yours

  29. If a 2 piece in your mind means “bikini” and you shudder at the thought,  then you should
    check these out, because now on the market on skirtini’s and tankini’s which cover more than a bikini but still look great.
    9 percent over last year, made up the majority of
    this market. Hence, a very important to establish the right bathing suit for
    each various outing.

  30. I am really happy to glance at this webpage posts which carries lots of useful
    facts, thanks for providing such statistics.

  31. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
    popst was good. I don’t know whho you aare but certainly you are
    going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  32. pravilna prehrana from on said:

    Great wwebsite you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards
    that cover the ssame topics talked about in this article?
    I’d really lolve to bee a paart of online community where I can geet feed-back from other knowledgeable individuals that
    share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let
    me know. Cheers!

  33. The rank and file performance will be given a formal rating every
    six months — this will be the basis of their salary increments.
    Not only is Junior sized clothing not cut for a woman’s figure, it
    also shows more skin that we would like. It should not be
    a surprise that if some is more than interested in going for
    online shopping besides looking forward to gain the upper limit
    benefit by buying unique clothes, then it needs less mention that the is the thing that can help you realize the dream of buying clothes.

    Feel free to surf to my webpage – celebrity dresses 2013

  34. 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 on said:

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

  35. lol bedava rp from on said:

    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.

  36. 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 on said:

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

  37. Rhea from 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!

  38. Alice Seba from on said:

    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.

  39. Kitty on said:

    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!

  40. kayr on said:

    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 from on said:

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

  41. kate on said:

    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.

  42. Angela on said:

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

    • jeanine from on said:

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

  43. Annaliese from thedirtysifter on said:

    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 from on said:

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

  44. Siv Ricketts on said:

    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 on said:

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

  45. Anna on said:

    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.

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

  46. d on said:

    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.

  47. Jack Smith on said:

    These were amazing! Makes for awesome leftovers as well

Post a comment

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

Rate this recipe (after making it):