Easy Vegan Stuffed Shells

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Spoon in a baking dish of vegan stuffed shells

Our EASY Vegan Stuffed Shells give the classic dish a run for its money! Made with a tofu and cashew vegan ricotta, it’s a protein-packed, creamy, cheesy, and OH-SO satisfying meal!

Elegant enough to serve for a celebration or holiday dinner but also great for meal prep (hello comforting lunches all week long). It’s the best of both worlds. Plus, just 9 ingredients required! Let us show you how it’s done!

Spinach, cashews, pasta shells, tofu, salt, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon, and marinara

How to Make Stuffed Shells

The star of this vegan (and optionally gluten-free) show is the creamy, dreamy, dairy-free ricotta featuring cashews for richness and tofu for protein. While garlic adds a savory component and lemon juice adds brightness, nutritional yeast gives this creamy combination its “cheesy” flavor.

Food processor with cashews, nutritional yeast, and garlic

Next, we stir in spinach for a smidge of color and a nutritional boost.

Bowl of cashew tofu ricotta with spinach stirred in

Then it’s time to stuff those shells!

Using a spoon to add a tofu, cashew, and spinach filling to pasta shells

All that’s left is topping with sweet and savory marinara sauce before baking to perfection.

Baking dish of vegan stuffed shells sprinkled with vegan parmesan cheese and basil

Add a sprinkle of vegan parmesan and they’re ready to serve! Is your mouth watering yet?

Baking dish and bowl of vegan stuffed shells

We hope you LOVE these vegan stuffed shells! They’re:

Cheesy
Saucy
Classic
Rich
Protein-packed
& SO comforting!

These shells are satisfying on their own but also perfect with The BEST Vegan Garlic Bread, Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad, or Perfect Roasted Broccoli with Vegan Parmesan.

Love Pasta? Try These Next!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a vegan stuffed shell on a fork

Easy Vegan Stuffed Shells

Rich, saucy vegan stuffed shells with a protein-rich tofu and cashew ricotta filling. Perfect for meal prep or the holiday table. Just 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Fork in a bowl of vegan stuffed shells
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

PASTA

  • 6 oz. dry jumbo pasta shells (gluten-free as needed // 6 oz. or 170 g yields ~20-30 shells, depending on size)

FILLING

  • 1 ¼ cup raw cashews*
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3-3/4 cup water
  • 7 oz. extra-firm tofu (1/2 package yields 7 ounces or 198 g)
  • 1 ½ cups cut frozen spinach* (5 oz. yields ~1 ½ cups)

SAUCE

  • 1 (26 oz.) jar favorite marinara sauce (1 jar yields ~2 ½ cups // we like arrabbiata)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • PASTA: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add shells. Stir and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • FILLING: Meanwhile, add cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and water (starting with the lesser amount) to a food processor or high-speed blender. Mix/blend, scraping down sides as needed. Add more water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time until a thick paste forms.
  • Add the tofu and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more lemon juice for brightness, garlic for zing, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, or salt to taste. Then add the spinach and stir with a spoon until just combined.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Once the shells are done, drain and let cool slightly. Pour 1 cup (240 ml) marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 9-inch (or similar size) glass or ceramic baking dish, then generously stuff the shells with the filling.
  • Arrange shells split side up in the pan and top with remaining marinara — they should be covered but not drowning. Bake for 35 minutes or until warm and bubbly. Serve warm garnished with fresh basil and vegan parmesan cheese (optional).
  • These go great with Caesar salad (or other salads), steamed or roasted broccoli, and/or garlic bread.
  • Store leftover shells covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in a 350 F (176 C) oven or in the microwave until warmed through. Not freezer friendly — the noodles become mealy when reheated.

Video

Notes

*We didn’t find soaking the cashews necessary. If using soaked cashews, start with less water in step 2.
*You can use fresh spinach instead of frozen, but we recommend either blanching, steaming, or sautéing it first.
*Adapted from our Vegan Stuffed Shells with Roasted Eggplant.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 381 Carbohydrates: 39.2 g Protein: 16.7 g Fat: 19.7 g Saturated Fat: 3.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 857 mg Potassium: 662 mg Fiber: 6 g Sugar: 7.3 g Vitamin A: 3357 IU Vitamin C: 23 mg Calcium: 214 mg Iron: 5.2 mg

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  1. Angela says

    SHOCKED my non-vegan family with this one last night! Easy, delicious, and they were floored to learn it was vegan. I added cooked mushrooms with the spinach and will do that every time – so good. They want me to make it again tonight!

    Tip: If you’re newer to nutritional yeast, Frontier Co-op Nutritional Yeast is waaaay better than Bragg’s and most other brands. It really has that delicious, cheesy flavor for cooking.

  2. Anna Balkena says

    This was so good! I made it with gluten pasta as not gluten free and I soaked the cashews, I just prefer it that way.
    It was super yummy and filling, I will definitely make it again! 🙂

  3. Sara says

    I made this for my non-vegan, tofu adverse husband… and he loved it. He said it was one of the best Italian meals he has ever had. It was warming, comforting, rich and satisfying.

    The best moment was when he paused, looked at his empty plate and said, “I never in my life thought I’d ever be eating vegan. This is good @&$#.”

  4. Terry Scalzo says

    Absolutely amazing! My Italian grandmother would be impressed. I used Pumfu, fresh spinach, and extra garlic, and I omitted the nutritional yeast. I’ll be making it again as a vegan main dish on Thanksgiving. The Minimalist Baker never lets us down. Thanks!!

  5. Rozzi says

    This is SUPER delicious!! Added extra spinach, and toned down the garlic a little. Also made it in cannelloni rather than shells, and it worked a treat. Will definitely make it again!

  6. Michele says

    This sound amazing!! Do I need to squeeze out the water from the spinach? I have a 10 ounce block of spinach I can use. I’m doubling the recipe. I have a 16 ounces package of tofu. Can I use all of it? Also, I only have a 24 ounce jar of pasta sauce. (2 for doubling). Will that be enough? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michele, we didn’t find it necessary to squeeze out the spinach, but it wouldn’t hurt and may help if it’s been in the freezer for a while and has some freezer burn! For the tofu, it should be okay, but the flavor of the tofu might be noticeable. We chose the ratio in this recipe for a perfect balance between richness of the cashews and minimal tofu taste. Two (24 oz.) jars of marinara will be fine! Hope that helps!

  7. Heather says

    Oh my gosh, so yummy! My 8-year-old and I had fun making this together. My store didn’t have jumbo shells, so I used manicotti noodles, which worked well. This is definitely going to be made again and again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you SO much for the lovely review, Heather! We’re so glad you both enjoyed them! xo

  8. Sarah says

    WOW! Seriously. So. Good!

    My husband and I both said, you wouldn’t even know the difference. IMO these are the best stuffed shells I’ve ever eaten. Great for vegans and non-vegans alike!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Sarah. We are so glad you both enjoyed the recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  9. CaitT says

    Yum! This cashew tofu ricotta is so good. We loved this recipe in its simplicity and execution. It was fast to make and delicious to eat! Highly recommend and will be adding to my regulars list of recipes. Will likely double this next time for more leftovers.

  10. Curt says

    Oh my gosh. When I saw this recipe, i took the day off work to make it.

    I only made the filling but made it exactly as written. Next time i might add a little nutmeg. I put it in homemade ravioli (not vegan).

    There is a restaurant in my neighborhood that makes spinach ricotta ravioli, and i eat them at least once a week. I am moving to a new country in a few weeks, and i was seriously so sad i’d have to leave my ravioli behind! Now i’ll always have these in my freezer; I love that the filling is veganized. Thank you again and again.

    • Curt says

      Okay, i just made this filling again. (The second batch is for the freezer; don’t judge me. 😅) i added some fresh nutmeg and some white miso for more umami. Be careful with the salt if you add miso, obviously. I could eat this every day, methinks.

  11. Cedella says

    Eating this delicious meal as we speak, great for leftovers, such a quick meal to heat up for lunch! I looked in my cabinet when making it and I didn’t have enough cashews but I had walnuts, I just boiled them in water to soften them a little bit before putting it in the food processor and it worked out perfectly! I also had fresh mushrooms so I sautéd them and added them into the tofu mix, which added some chewyness! The only thing I would say is if you are making this for a family I would do double the recipe! (Great for thanksgiving) THANKS SO MUCH 10/10❤️

  12. Luci says

    This was very easy to make. I did not soak cashews or cook the fresh spinach ahead. It provided a nice texture. I sprinkled extra fresh basil on top before serving. Delicious!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Lucy! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Nope! You can add it to the ricotta directly from frozen. Just break it up in the bag a bit first.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lahey, if they aren’t gluten-free noodles they will be better after freezing. But the filling also gets a little watery when reheated. It’s okay after freezing, but best when fresh.

  13. Jenny Pompilio says

    I made this last night but used it for lasagna since I didn’t have shells handy. My 16yo son hates anything vegan that pretends to be dairy so I called it “spinach tofu ricotta” and just didn’t mention the cashews or nutritional yeast. He loved it (no bias against tofu I guess 😂) I’ll use it again w/shells & future lasagnas, thx! 🙏

  14. Tracy says

    Can you direct me to a place to buy or a brand of gf shells? I have always changed recipes to lasagne noodles because I have not been able to find gf shells anywhere. Looking forward to trying this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! Tinkyada is the brand we’ve used. We haven’t seen them in stores, but they’re available online.