One of my all-time favourite vegan meals is “Cheesy” Stuffed pasta.
There’s just something so comforting and delicious about it, and Amir and I often make it for a cosy Saturday night in front of a movie.
I decided to give our favourite meal a little twist by adding in some vegan Sacla chilli flavoured pesto – and I’m so happy I did!
It still tasted comforting and delicious (and, dare I say it, a little bit indulgent too) – the ideal winter’s plant-based dish!
However, the kick from the chilli pesto really lifted things and made the flavours even more intense and delicious.
Of course, if spicy food isn’t your thing, then don’t worry – you could easily swap it out for a classic basil pesto (I love all of Sacla’s vegan pestos – and no, this post isn’t sponsored!)
All in all, the perfect meal for enjoying on a cold and frosty evening!
Chilli Pesto 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
- 200g vegan cream cheese (I recommend using almond cream cheese)
- 3 tbsp vegan chilli pesto (I used Sacla)
- 2 handfuls spinach
- Handful basil, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (to taste)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp oregano
- 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, pesto 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.