Happy New Year everyone!
I don’t know about you, but after one hectic school run, it already feels like Christmas was one hundred light years ago.
Anyway, I am back working after a few weeks off (blissful!) and ready to come at you with new content. I asked some of my followers what recipes they’d like to see in January, and people voted overwhelmingly for savoury dishes and foods with tofu in.
I decided to combine the two with these delicious, Vegan Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells, which has been a HUGE hit in our house lately!
It’s a super simple recipe to pull together (although, admittedly, there are a fair few steps – but don’t let that deceive you!) and tastes like the ultimate winter comfort food.
It’s full of flavour, utterly delicious, and a huge winner – even with the meat eaters in our house!
Since it is plant-based, it’s also a lot lighter than many stuffed pasta dishes. Amir and I ate it all between us (we are greedy when it comes to food) and didn’t feel full in the slightest!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. The perfect recipe for a cold Veganuary day!
Vegan Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Serves 4
- For the marinara sauce –
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- One red pepper, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes (the better quality, the better!)
- Handful fresh basil
- For the pasta –
- One 250g pack conchiglioni pasta
- 1 small onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 200g tofu
- 1-2 tbsp plant-based milk
- 250g vegan cream cheese (I recommend using almond cream cheese – I used Nush cream cheese with chives for extra flavour)
- 3 handfuls spinach
- Handful basil, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (to taste)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: Chunk vegan cheese, to grate over the top
Preheat the oven to 200C and set aside a casserole dish.
Cook your pasta shells according to packet instructions, knocking two minutes off cooking time (they will continue cooking in the oven). Drain, then set aside.
- Make your marinara sauce by heating some oil in a pan. Add the garlic and fry gently, stirring often, for a few minutes. Add in the red pepper and tomato puree and continue to heat for a further few minutes. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, then bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until thickened (around 20 minutes) and slightly reduced.
- Pour the marinara into a blender, along with the basil, and blend smooth. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Pour into the bottom of your casserole dish and set aside.
- Now, make your pasta filling. Gently heat some oil in a saucepan, then gently fry the onion for a few minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Allow to cool.
- Place the tofu into your blender, along with a splash of plant milk, then blend smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add in the garlic and onion and blend once more.
- Turn the tofu mixture into a mixing bowl, then stir in the cream cheese and remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste. Spoon the mixture into the almost-cooked pasta shells.
- Arrange your pasta shells on top of the marinara sauce. Grate over some cheese, if using, then cover with foil. Place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Enjoy immediately.