Jumbo Stuffed Shells

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 13, 2013


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.


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.

eggplant rollatini-4536

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.


Jumbo Stuffed Shells

Adapted from: Clean Food by Terry Walters

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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.


Vida Vegan Con Giveaway Winner!


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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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

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niquole March 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Looks great is it safe to freeze the shells?


Angela Liddon March 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm

I’m sorry to say I haven’t tried freezing them, and so I don’t have an answer for you! Maybe try freezing a few as a “test drive”, and see how they turn out? I’d love it if you’d let me know how it goes!


Taylor Rohead July 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Hi, planning to make this for my birthday this weekend (along with a bunch of other recipes), and was wondering if anything could be made in advance? If I made this herbed tofu ricotta two days early, would it keep in the fridge alright? Thank you for this lovely recipe!


Suzy August 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm

I made this tonight and we loved it! My non vegan husband said he even liked it better than ricotta and honestly, I couldn’t tell much difference. I will not be adding celery to the mix next time as I don’t think it fit the dish, the flavor was overpowering and we didn’t like the crunch, but everything else was superb! Great recipe!!


Kristen August 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm

My children and I made this tonight for dinner. My youngest doesn’t like meat or poultry and has a dairy and egg allergy so vegan recipes are about the only thing we can all eat. I used the food processor for the tofu filling and it turned out creamy and delicious. I was really easy to make as well which is an added bonus. This was a winner for our family.


Angela Liddon August 17, 2016 at 4:47 pm

I’m so happy to hear that, Kristen!


Debbie October 31, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Made this for my husband tonight, who’s not shy about telling me he doesn’t like something, and he LOVED it!
He’s not usually a fan of anything with nutritional yeast but it wasn’t a problem in this dish.


Angela Liddon November 1, 2016 at 9:55 am

That’s awesome, Debbie! I’m so glad it was a hit.


NWmama December 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Do you know if these freeze well? I am looking for something that I can have in the freezer to take out and make for Christmas Day.


Ashleigh February 11, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Amazing tofu ricotta!!! I blended mine in the food processor. My only disappointment is that it only made 12 shells not 30. It was barely enough to feed my boyfriend much less the rest of my family. I will keep that in mind next time for making it.


Ashley April 2, 2017 at 9:21 am

I made this last night and it was delicious! I was skeptical about the tofu ricotta but it totally worked. I used a food processor and it was smooth and had the exact same texture as real ricotta cheese. Will be making this again!


Angela Liddon April 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

I’m so pleased it ended up being a hit, Ashley!


Carol July 18, 2017 at 6:50 am

This recipe is delicious. I blended the ingredients into a smooth filling. Put in too much fresh basil from the garden, and the “ricotta” ended up green. So good! Definitely a keeper!


Angela Liddon July 18, 2017 at 11:59 am

Mmmmm fresh basil…I’m glad you enjoyed it, Carol!


India Wardell August 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm


My shells are in the oven. I blended the tofu. I tasted the ricotta and I’m blown away! I also added sun dried tomatoes. Thanks for the recipe!


Jen September 12, 2017 at 11:34 am

I lobe this recipe and followed it exact, although mine only made 15 shells. Hmmm


Kat January 14, 2018 at 6:37 pm

What book do you have this recipe in? :D


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018 at 10:27 am

Hey Kat, This recipe isn’t in my cookbooks, it’s just here on the blog :) Hope you enjoy it if you make it!


elizabeth May 1, 2018 at 12:27 am

Thank you so much for this recipe. I have yet to try it but I have good feelings about it being amazing! I used to make a stuffed shell recipe a few years ago and its one I’ve missed. I was so happy to see this! thank you, thank you!


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 1, 2018 at 9:31 am

Hey Elizabeth, I hope you enjoy it…I’d love to hear how it goes!


Erin Keefer July 5, 2018 at 5:44 pm

I’m really impressed by this recipe. We’re new vegans and I kept trying to find a good stuff shell recipe. Stuffed ricotta shells were my favorite and was afraid as a vegan, I wouldn’t be able to continue to eat it. My boyfriend was very impressed and liked it very much. I did crumble the tofu and sautéed it a little with the onion and garlic and other seasonings and then put it in the food processor. It makes a really good ‘ricotta’ texture. I didn’t have lemon juice so I added lime. And instead of nutritional yeast (we’re not a fan of it) I added a little vegan parmasean cheese. Made it twice now in 2 weeks. Even my non vegan friends thought it was delicious


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 6, 2018 at 7:10 am

Hey Erin, So happy to hear that! Thanks for your review :)


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