Vegan Stuffed Shells Florentine

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These vegan stuffed shells will knock your socks off! Made with rich and creamy cashew-tofu ricotta that’s blended with fresh spinach, stuffed into pasta shells and smothered in a quick garlicky tomato sauce…you’d never guess they were dairy-free!

If there’s one vegan dish that you could absolutely fool your non-vegan friends with, it’s these vegan stuffed shells.

Vegan ricotta cheese is one of the simplest dairy substitutes out there, and it’s VERY convincing. It really shines in this recipe. I’ve been known to snack on the ricotta filling right out of the food processor, on little pieces of bread or crackers (pro-tip: make extra if this sounds like something you’d do!)

Spinach and killer tomato sauce round out the dish. Hosing a special dinner soon? Make these! I don’t often recommend serving serving a dish featuring fake cheese to omnivores (vegan chili is always a safer bet for that kind of thing), but these stuffed shells are an exception. They’re absolutely scrumptious and you’d never guess they were dairy-free.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How They’re Made
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Baked Vegan Pasta Dishes
  • Vegan Stuffed Shells Florentine

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Jumbo pasta shells. Most dried pasta is vegan, but check the ingredients to be safe!
  • Olive oil. Any high-heat oil will work, but olive oil will give your sauce the best flavor.
  • Onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes. If you can’t find these, just buy whole or diced tomatoes in sauce and briefly blitz them in a blender.
  • Sugar. Use organic sugar to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Dried oregano.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Fresh basil. I don’t recommend substituting dried.
  • Raw cashews. Make sure they’re raw — roasted cashews will make your vegan ricotta taste like nuts. If you can’t have cashews, try subbing macadamia nuts or raw sunflower seeds. Whatever you use, you’ll need to soak them in water for a bit to soften them up for blending.
  • Non-dairy milk. Use anything that’s unflavored and unsweetened. Soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk are all good choices.
  • Lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed juice for the best flavor.
  • Extra-firm tofu.
  • Fresh spinach. Frozen spinach can be subbed if that’s what you have on hand. You’ll need about 2 ounces. Be sure to thaw and drain it before adding it to your ricotta.

How They’re Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Boil your pasta first so it’s ready to go when you need it.
  • To make the sauce, sweat some diced onion in olive oil until it softens, then add your garlic and cook it for a minute or so with the onion. Add tomatoes, sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper and let the sauce simmer for a bit. Fresh basil goes in last.

Tip: Feel free to substitute your favorite jarred sauce or homemade tomato sauce. You’ll need about 3 cups.

  • To make the ricotta cheese, first blend onion, garlic, soaked raw cashews, non-dairy milk, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture to a paste. It should be smooth, but don’t go crazy — remember that ricotta cheese is chunky.
  • Add tofu, salt, and pepper and pulse the machine until the mixture is chunky, like ricotta cheese.
  • Add your spinach last. Pulse the machine again until the spinach is well mixed into the ricotta filling. If your food processor starts getting overloaded, transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir the spinach in by hand.

Tip: You can save time on the day of serving by making the sauce and filling a day in advance.

  • Spoon the ricotta mixture into your shells and layer them in a baking vessel with the sauce. Cover and bake everything until hot and bubbly.
  • Feel free to sprinkle some shredded vegan mozzarella cheese over your stuffed shells during the last few minutes of baking. I usually skip this as I don’t find it necessary with all of the creamy ricotta.
  • I like to serve my vegan stuffed shells with a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Leftovers & Storage

This dish makes for awesome leftovers! Your vegan stuffed shells will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

Yes! Just use gluten-free vegan jumbo pasta shells.

Can these be assembled ahead of time and baked later?

They can! Seal them up tightly in your baking dish and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze them for up to 3 months before baking. I recommend thawing them in the fridge before baking if they’ve been frozen.

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