Vegan Stuffed Shells That My Italian Grandmother Would Be Proud Of

I love Italian food! All the cheese and dairy that comes along with it, however, is not a friend of my husband. He still wants to indulge in pasta though, so now we have to be more creative. I created this Vegan Stuffed Shell recipe that even my Italian grandmother would be proud of. They taste super close to the real deal and the recipe is EASY!

***Note: I used a high speed blender (my Magic Bullet) to create the sauce and ricotta for this recipe. If you don't have one, be sure to soak all of the nuts in water or vegan milk for 30 minutes to one hour if using a food processor or blender.

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

Vegan Ricotta:

  • 1 cup almonds (whole)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegan parmesan cheese (I used Go Veggie and found it at Whole Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto (I used a jarred Whole Foods brand)

Garlic Basil Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5-6 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder (you could use cornstarch or tapioca starch instead as it's just used for thickening purposes)

Additional Ingredients:

  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce

How-to:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and let cool a bit. Set aside.
  3. Make the vegan ricotta by putting the almonds, 1 cup almond milk, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt in a high speed blender.*** Process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add in the pesto and 3 tablespoons vegan parmesan. Mix with a spoon and set aside.
  4. Make the Garlic Basil Cream Sauce by putting the cashews, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, apple cider vinegar, basil leaves, and arrowroot powder into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth.
  5. Grease an 11x7 inch baking dish (I used an olive oil spray). Evenly spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  6. Place the cooked pasta shells in the dish one at a time. I laid out 2 rows of 8 shells. (You'll have some shells leftover. I always cook a few extra in case any break while boiling).
  7. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of vegan ricotta. If you have any leftover, keep adding more to the shells until you use it all.
  8. Drizzle about 1/2 of the Garlic Basil Cream Sauce over the shells.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Serve by pouring a little extra Garlic Basil Cream Sauce on top of them and adding some fresh cut basil on each portion. My husband took the leftover shells for lunch the next day and used the rest of the sauce then.
 Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

 Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

 Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Photography by Carolyn J. Braden