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 13 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 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.
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!


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  10. cair

    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

      so glad you liked it, thanks!

  11. Ruth from

    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………

  12. Marisa

    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

      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!

  13. Morgan from

    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

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

  14. mea from

    Love your blog!

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

    • jeanine

      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!

  15. MB from

    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

      thanks, and welcome! Hatchery is so much fun 🙂

    • jeanine

      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).

  16. trisha from

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

  17. Bella from

    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!

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.