These generously filled vegan spinach and ricotta pasta shells are seriously scrummy, seriously yummy and you won’t even realise it’s rich in protein and greens! Feed them to any fussy eater or unknowning omnivvore and I’m pretty sure they’re going to love it. Now you could say there’s a little labour involved in stuffing the shells but it’s really not that hard, it’s quite fun and definitely all worth it once it’s done for the big bursting satisfying bites of the filled shells.
The filling for this is a simple Tofu Ricotta with spinach and herbs added- simply put all the ingredients into the food processor and blitz til smooth. If you haven’t made tofu ricotta yet, don’t sleep on it – it’s so easy and incredibly delicious and versatile and you can even keep it in the fridge to use as a snacky dip (I like to use it as a spread on corn thins) or in other savoury ricotta-related recipes.
COOKING THE PASTA SHELLS
You’ll need Jumbo Pasta Shells for this recipe! Called Conchigilioni in Italian – Conchiglia means shell. I found mine at Coles. You’ll need to cook the pasta shells before stuffing but it’s important to cook them for a few minutes less so they don’t tear too much (a few small ones are okay) and they will finish cooking in the oven when everything is baking.
WHAT SAUCE SHOULD I USE?
I find myself making this after Bolognese days with the leftover Ragu, but honestly your fave red pasta sauce will do!
Vegan Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells (with Tofu)
Vegan Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells
Tofu and Ricotta Filling
- 325 g hard tofu
- 500 g frozen spinach thawed
- 1/2 bunch parsley finely chopped
- 1 1/2 lemons juiced
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp onion powder or flakes
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp water as needed, to blend
- 15-20 jumbo pasta shells do a few extra incase some break
- 2-3 cups your favourite pasta sauce
- vegan cheese optional, to serve
- parsley or basil finely chopped, to serve
- Preheat oven to 180ºC
Cook the Pasta shells
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and add a generous pinch of salt.
- Cook the pasta shells for 2 minutes less than the packet instructions (this is to prevent the shells from tearing and to make them easier to fill, i also like to cook a few extra incase some break) – drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking you can prepare the filling.
Prepare the Ricotta Filling
- Squeeze out as much liquid from the spinach as possible.
- Roughly chop the tofu and place into a food processor with all the filling ingredients except the water.
- Process until smooth. Add water 1/4 cup at a time until you get a pretty smooth creamy filling that is easy to handle. You don't want it to be runny at all but you do want to add enough water so that your filling is juicy and not dry.
Stuffing and Assembly
- Pour enough pasta sauce to cover the base of a baking dish
- Generously stuff each pasta shell and arrange in the baking dish til full.
- Drizzle with remaining sauce and sprinkle on vegan cheese if using.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 mins. Uncover and bake for a further 15 until sauce is hot and bubbling.
- Sprinkle with more freshly chopped herbs and enjoy!