Jumbo Stuffed Shells

196 comments

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I made this recipe several months ago and completely forgot about sharing it with you. Not because it was unmemorable – quite the opposite – but recipes and photos occasionally get lost in the bunch if I’m not careful. The photos on my computer are a bit out of control (or so says my husband). I’m trying to work up the courage to tell Eric that I’ve filled up yet another hard drive, but that is another story.

This stuffed shell pasta is inspired by Terry Walters, author of Clean Food and Clean Start cookbooks. There’s a recipe for basic stuffed shells in her Clean Food cookbook, so I played around with it by adding more veggies and fresh herbs. The outcome is a tasty tofu “ricotta-like” cheese that can be added to stuffed shells, spread on lasagna, or even turned into eggplant rollatini if you are so inclined. Of course, it doesn’t taste exactly like ricotta cheese (not that I even remember what it tastes like!), but it sure is a tasty dairy-free alternative.

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Speaking of eggplant rollatini, here’s a photo when I made it last summer – served on a bed of julienned carrot and zucchini “pasta” with a sprinkle of almond parmesan cheese. A lovely summer meal. Edit: I’ve added the directions for prepping the eggplant in the comments section.

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I haven’t been able to find any gluten-free dairy-free jumbo shells yet, but I’m sure they exist. If you know of any brands, please give them a shout-out in the comments! For those of you looking for a soy alternative, maybe give nut-cheese a try instead. I have a cheese recipe in my lasagna recipe that could probably be used for stuffed shells also.

As for the tofu, you can crumble it by hand or you can use a food processor. I’ve made it both ways and I can’t decide which I prefer. Crumbling by hand is a bit messy, but it saves cleaning the processor while using the processor is a bit quicker and results in a creamier texture. It’s really up to you how you make it.

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Jumbo Stuffed Shells

Adapted from: Clean Food by Terry Walters

Email, text, or print this recipe

Yield: approx. 30 shells or 6 servings

  • 3.5 cups pasta sauce
  • 340 grams jumbo pasta shells (I used 30 shells or 2/3 of the box – but make extra as some break)

 

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 (14oz) package extra-firm or firm tofu, pressed
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4-1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

 

1. Rinse block of tofu and wrap with paper towels followed by 2-3 tea towels. Place it on a cutting board or plate and add several heavy cookbooks on top. Press tofu for about 20-25 minutes to drain out the water. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press.

2. Grease a very large casserole dish. I used about 30 shells, but you’ll need to cook more than that as some shells will break during the cooking process. Cook shells in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 8-11 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain shells and set aside to cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400F. For the tofu ricotta: In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped celery, basil, and parsley and sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Feel free to throw in some spinach for extra greens.

4. For the tofu, you can either crumble it into the skillet with your hands or you can give it a whirl in the food processor and then stir it into the skillet. If you use the processor, the texture will be very creamy like ricotta cheese and if you crumble it with your hands it will be more chunky/crumbly. It’s up to you how you want to make it. I usually opt to crumble it by hand so I don’t dirty the processor. Stir in the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon, and cayenne all to taste. Over medium heat, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until most of the water cooks off.

5. Spoon about 1 cup of marinara sauce into the casserole dish and spread around. Add about 2 tbsp of tofu ricotta into each stuffed shell and place shells on top of marinara sauce. Cover shells with the remaining 2-2.5 cups marinara sauce and any leftover tofu ricotta. You can add vegan cheese on top, but I don’t bother. Cover dish with tin foil and poke several air holes. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until heated throughout. Serve with a basic green salad and garlic bread, if desired.

For nutritional info, see here.

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Vida Vegan Con Giveaway Winner!

winnervvc1   Jumbo Stuffed Shells

I’m excited to announce that the winner of the VVC giveaway is Traci! Congrats! Traci wrote,”I am from Portland and will be home visiting during that time! OH WHAT A TREAT that would be!”

Traci I will shoot you an email today to get things rolling. Thanks again to Grace for her generous ticket donation and to everyone for participating. I really appreciate all of your lovely comments by the way.

If you are still thinking about attending the conference (and I think you should!!), there are still tickets for sale.

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{ 196 comments… read them below or add one }

rachel March 13, 2013

Looks delicious!! But where’s the rollatini recipe? =)

I’m on a sugar/wheat detox so I’m drooling at these shells as I have a lack of pasta in my current life, but the rollatini I could have!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Hi Rachel,

Here’s how I made it:

I used 2 eggplants. I left the peel on for photo purposes, but I don’t eat the peel so it’s probably easier to just peel it beforehand (and it’s easier to slice without the peel too). First, pre-cook the eggplant to release some of the water. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice eggplant lengthwise into ¼ inch pieces – this part is a bit tricky, but don’t worry too much if you get the odd piece that doesn’t slice properly. Lay eggplant slices flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment and brush slices with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (the salt helps draw out water). Bake for about 8 minutes and remove from oven. Set aside to cool. After that, you just add your tofu ricotta in the centre and roll it up. Place it seam-side down in the dish. Bake it the same way you do the shells.

The eggplant works nicely to make a “noodle”, however I find it to be a bit watery, even with the pre-cooking. It’s not the end of the world, but I just wanted to mention it so you aren’t alarmed!

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rachel March 13, 2013

Sweet! Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

No problem, enjoy!

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Tanya @ playful and hungry March 15, 2013

That would have been my question, too! Thanks for that comment, Angela! Looks great!

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Victoria March 13, 2013

I was just curious if there is anything else I can use besides Tofu? I am new to the dairy free lifestyle and I am not sure if I want to venture to the Tofu. I have heard so many mixed opinions about it. Not sure if it is right for me or not. I was thinking I could soak some cashews, and use a food processor to make them into a spread “or cheese” I can add garlic, olive oil, and other seasonings to make it italian flavored..?? Please let me know what you think!

Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Hey Victoria, I linked to a cashew cheese in my post that I used for my lasagna (found here: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/11/07/vegan-lasagna-with-basil-cashew-cheeze/ ) Im sure that would work just fine

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Steph Mc March 15, 2013

You could also roast cauliflower and blend with cashews. It’s a touch lighter than straight cashews but super delicious!

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Celese April 15, 2013

A tip I use sometimes to make things less watery is to add some flax seed mill. In this case the gold would be better color wise. It absorbs the liquid like crazy and adds so much good stuff :) I’m sure im not telling you anything new and i’m by all means NO expert but I thought I might add as its helped me. Thank you soo much for helping me in my quest for a healthier family!

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Stephanie March 29, 2013

I made this last night…it was so good! I actually processed the veggie mix (with spinach) too and it created a lovely smooth texture!

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Osgmom March 13, 2013

I have a bottle of White Linen just waiting for a delicious recipe like this! Can’t wait to try it. Sending lots of sunshine your way :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Please send more sunshine because it doesn’t seem to be working! hah. I clearly jinxed it when I mentioned spring-like weather on the weekend.

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} March 13, 2013

These look just like one of my favorite childhood dishes that my mom used to make. Except dairy-free, of course :) Delicious!

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Sarah March 13, 2013

I’m now officially on the hunt for gluten-free shells! If worse comes to worse, I suppose I could stuff the mini ones….right? Or is that only something a crazy-gluten-free-vegan would do?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Sarah it’s funny you mentioned that because Eric suggested it the other day. I said have fun with that. lol

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Lydia B March 14, 2013

Hey, don’t know if somebody already mentioned this, but Tinkyada (my favorite brown rice pasta brand) sells grand shells that are GF for pretty cheap! I’m going to order a couple boxes of these because I cannot WAIT to make this recipe!

http://www.luckyvitamin.com/p-104647-tinkyada-pasta-brown-rice-pasta-grand-shell-with-rice-bran-8-oz

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Chinasa April 8, 2013

Awesome!!! Thanks, I love Tinkyada too.

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Shannon March 13, 2013

Those look great! Stuffed shells are such a great comfort food!

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nan March 13, 2013

Angela,

This post is a perfect example of why I love your blog so much! Your food looks fresh, tasty and healthy.. and you offer alternatives in your recipes (soy-free filling, if I am so inclined).

I look forward to your blog posts so much. They make my day! I’ve tried quite a few of your recipes (cookie dough balls, voo, lentil spiced soup, green monsters, pumpkin pie smoothie lentil hummus avocado pasta) and I’ve loved them all! I’m trying to turn to more vegetarian/vegan options and your food has never made me (or my meat-loving husband) feel deprived.

Thank you so much. I am really looking forward to your cookbook!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Hi Nan, Thank you, I appreciate that so much!

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Heather March 13, 2013

Mmmm looks delicious! I was just thinking about summer and tomatoes for canning sauces. Also, can you add a gazpacho recipe to your summer to do list? Please and thank you from a tomato lover!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013
Katie March 13, 2013

I have been looking for such a recipe for so long! Thank you, thank you!! Stuffed shells was one of my favorites growing up! Beautiful photography, as always!!

Can’t wait to make these!!

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Holly March 13, 2013

This looks so good! Tinkyada actually does make brown rice jumbo shells. They’re not quite as big white flour ones, but still a great alternative :)

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Sarah @ Yogi in Action March 13, 2013

Oh wow- these look delicious! I think I’m going to have to make these immediately! They sound pretty easy also, which I’m a fan of.

I’m not a big eggplant fan though, so I’ll be sticking with the stuffed jumbo shells!

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Shundara@ SavyNaturalista March 13, 2013

I have been craving Italian, and wanted to make lasagna but I am lactose intolerant so ricotta would have made me sick for days, so happy to see a recipe for ricotta cheese it looks great.. :)

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Laura Thomas March 13, 2013

Angela, I sympathise with your out-of-control photograph plight! For every picture on my blog I have about a hundred others on my hard drive! I haven’t come up with a good system yet :-/ Recipe looks so bright and fresh and ‘springy’! Going to a vegan cheese potluck this weekend and this would be a fabulous dish to bring along. Yum!

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Ashley March 13, 2013

Gorgeous photos + meal!!! I looove tofu as ricotta in lasagna and shells, which reminds me I need to make it again pronto. Definitely will try out this version!

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Emily March 13, 2013

That Tofu Ricotta sounds delicious! I’m always looking for new ideas with tofu…it gets boring if you don’t mix it up. Thanks! :)

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Holly March 13, 2013

Looks like Tinkyada makes jumbo gluten free shells. If they are like they’re other pasta they should be pretty good.

http://www.tinkyada.com/ProP1.htm

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Thanks for the tip!

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Mallory March 14, 2013
Sarah March 13, 2013

These look so tasty, is there something I could use in place of tofu? I can’t digest soy any better than I can dairy. :(

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Hey Sarah, I linked to a cheese recipe in my post that I used in my lasagna recipe – I’m sure that would work in the shells too. Not sure if you can have nuts but thought I’d give that option.

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Cassandra March 13, 2013

White beans blend up nice and creamy, too. Don’t know if all legumes are a problem or just soy. Beans make a good spread or mixture that can stand in for tofu or nuts in ricotta-type recipes. I’m not promising that beans will function the exact same way, but they are delicious and nutritious, and they do get creamy. Give ‘em a shot! :-)

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Sarah March 13, 2013

Thank you both for the replies. Sorry I didn’t see the link to the lasagna recipe. I love beans and nuts, and only have problems with soy (and lactose, but that’s obviously not a problem when eating vegan)

I’ll have to try both! I love beans and nuts, and haven’t had a stuffed shell that hasn’t made me really ill in a long time!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 14, 2013

Goodluck & let us know how it goes :)

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Sarah March 15, 2013

Made them for dinner tonight, half with the tofu ricotta, but subbing white beans for the tofu, half with the basil cashew cheeze sauce with 2-3T of nooch. We used homemade pasta sauce and sprinkled a very small amount of daiya on top. Cheese on top is definitely unnecessary.

Anyway, very good! We preferred the basil cashew sauce, the punch of basil was really nice, but next time we’re going to try the basil cashew cheeze sauce, sub for white beans, add parsley and perhaps run it through a blender after ingredients are added.

Thank you both for the suggestions and thank you Angela for the delicious recipe! I think I could get fat off of your basil cashew cheeze sauce.

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Abby @ The Frosted Vegan March 13, 2013

Oh my, thank you!!! I’ve been craving stuffed shells, so this is perfect for my dinner tonight : )

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Alissa N March 13, 2013

Oh my goodness, those photos made my tummy growl!! This would be perfect for Easter!! I love feeding unsuspecting friends and family vegan food and not telling them it’s vegan. They never notice the difference and always love it!! :)

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Stephanie March 13, 2013

Good gosh…. you had me at pasta. YUMMY.

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CareyBerry March 13, 2013

Thank you so much for including nutritional information! These are beautiful and I can hardly wait to give them a try.

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Ali March 13, 2013

Tinkyada makes gluten free and dairy free big (“grand”) brown rice shells! :) I have some in my pantry and they are fantastic! My favorite gluten free pasta brand by far.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Thanks Ali, I will keep an eye out for them.

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Melissa March 14, 2013

For people in Toronto, you’ll find the Tinkyada Brown Rice Grand Shell, if it’s in stock,at Fiesta Farms. Watch the cooking time…I found they cook faster than the suggested time. And they are a bit fiddly to stuff compared to the gluten options, which are larger. That said, when they are the only option for a dried, stuffable, gf pasta, they are worth the fiddly work.

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh March 13, 2013

These look amazing! I love making stuffed shells. I’m always hoping to run across whole wheat jumbo shells but never seem to have any luck. BOO!

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! March 13, 2013

I’ve never been a stuffed shell fan because I don’t like that much cheese at once and I don’t like ricotta…but a vegan version!? Sounds delicious! Especially since I love tofu!

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Katie March 13, 2013

I bet your basil cheese sauce from your lasagna would taste good stuffed in the shells!

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health March 13, 2013

Vegan cooking is such a challenge and you continue to master it! These look great, I love stuffed shells! I really wish the VVC was a different weekend, I would love to go but I bought tickets to FL that weekend. :( maybe next time.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 13, 2013

I made a vegan eggplant rollatini 2 years ago after returning from Italy – I can’t believe I never used the filling to stuff shells! I bet this could make a killer ravioli too.

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Meg March 13, 2013

Hi Angela!

I work in a health food store and was just reading this blog post on my lunch…
The brand Tinkyada makes jumbo shells. The only ingredients are stone-ground brown rice, rice bran and water.
I’m sure they are available in most health food stores!

The recipe looks amazing by the way=)

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Nanna March 13, 2013

Oh wow, I haven’t even tried this yet but I think it may be my new favourite food. O_O

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Courtney March 13, 2013

Those stuffed shells look delicious! I’m definitely adding this to my “to try” list.
I am glad this can be made without a food processor, as I don’t have a Vitamix or anything like it just yet.

Congrats to Traci!

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Jesse (OutToLunchCreations) March 13, 2013

These picture are beautiful and the paste also looks delicious!

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Faith March 13, 2013

Hi Angela, I use the Tinkayda Brown Rice Pasta Grand shells, which are gluten and dairy free- they work great! You can find them on luckyvitamin.com.

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Lillian @Seize the Latte March 13, 2013

These look fantastic! I love stuffed shells, and I love the use of tofu as a dairy-free option. I’ve been able to find Tinkyada GF shells — the only catch is that they’re not as jumbo as regular jumbo shells, so they require a bit more work. Uber-jumbo or not, though, this is a great recipe. :)

Here’s a link for the GF quasi-jumbo shells — I hope this helps! http://www.amazon.com/Tinkyada-Grand-Shell-Brown-Pasta/dp/B001H82980

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Dani March 13, 2013

This looks amazing! Would there be a way to substitute something else for the tofu? I try to avoid soy as much as possible.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Hi Dani, See my link in the post to the lasagna recipe. there’s a fantastic basil cashew cheese that should work in these shells.

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Allison March 13, 2013

Making these immediately. Thank you!

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Katie @ Veggie and the Beast March 13, 2013

These photos are GORGEOUS. I’m glad you found them! My photo library is also a complete mess of RAW photos, exported photos, and edited vs. unedited photos. It’s actually kind of stressful :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

hah yea I hear you on the stressful part. I try not to think of it and avoid looking…I know great coping mechanism! ;)

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Kara March 13, 2013

The Eggplant Rollatini looks fantastic! What did you use to make the zucchini and carrot noodles? And, did you cook them? Thanks!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 13, 2013

Sometimes I lightly steam them, other times I don’t bother. Both are fantastic! I used my julienne peeler (see the link in the post) Zyliss brand. Hope this helps!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks March 13, 2013

They’re the prettiest stuffed shells ever! And that you kept them vegan! Angela, your photography the past 6 mos or so has just been growing and looking even more fabulous. If this is any indication of the work that’s going into your cookbook, it’ll be a best-seller for sure :)

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Kristina @Run and Assimilate March 13, 2013

These both look amazing, I just made stuffed shells the other night, but they did not look like this!

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Kaylie @ Skinny Muffin March 13, 2013

All of your food always looks SO delicious. This is a must-make. Soon!

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Ali @ Project Kale March 13, 2013

These look great! We did stuffed shells using spinach, white beans, and cashews (among other ingredients) – instead of tofu. I haven’t found gluten-free shells either – but you could always use this stuffing for gluten-free lasagna and use rice noodles!

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