If you're looking for a tasty, non-salad way to introduce more nutrient-dense greens into your life, look no further than these vegan super greens stuffed shells!
So much has happened since last week! We made the big move from city to suburbs. All and all, it went very smoothly.
We're loving our new house in the 'burbs. The only hiccup in the moving process has been that we quickly realized we have critters in the attic here. We thought they were raccoons given how noisy they've been at night, but turns out it's actually squirrels up there. The wildlife service that came out spotted plenty of evidence, including walnut shells and a fuzzy gray squirrel.
I have to say, the strangest thing about the suburbs—aside from the sounds of critter gymnastics in the attic—has been the general lack of sounds at night. In our condo, it wasn't uncommon to wake up to the sound of airplanes, semi trucks, car alarms, and construction at all hours of the night. Here, it's little more than the subdued hum of the furnace kicking on.
And while I haven't had much of a chance to cook in this new kitchen of ours, I've certainly been daydreaming about the idea. At the top of my to-cook-in-the-new-house list is most definitely these vegan super greens stuffed shells.
If you're looking for a warm, winter-friendly way to incorporate more greens into your life, these stuffed shells are it.
They pack heaps of nutrient-dense dark, leafy greens and are incredibly easy to make.
The recipe is also flexible. Read: You can easily knock down the power green punch a notch or two if you or your littles are less than enthusiastic about emerald-hued veggies.
However, if you're looking for a swift kick of leafy love, follow the recipe as written.
To make these simple vegan stuffed shells, start by pressing the tofu, cooking the jumbo shells, and sautéing the greens.
I prefer to use a combination of Swiss chard and kale, but you can feel free to adjust to suit your tastes. If you're just stepping into the world of dark leafy greens, baby spinach is a great green to lead with.
You'll saute the greens in olive oil and garlic. Then, you'll thoroughly chop them once they've cooled a bit.
Next, you'll pulse the pressed tofu in a food processor until the desired ricotta-like texture is reached. I prefer a smoother, creamier ricotta, so I pulse quite a lot.
Transfer the tofu to a large mixing bowl and stir in the chopped greens, finely chopped parsley or basil, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if you'd like a bit of a kick).
Then, stir, stir, stir until thoroughly mixed.
To prepare the shells, spoon a bit of marinara into the bottom of a casserole dish.
Then, stuff each shell with about three tablespoons of the tofu ricotta mixture and transfer to the casserole dish. Repeat until you have about 16 generously stuffed shells.
Finally, spoon a bit of marinara over each shell, cover the pan with foil, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until warmed through.
Serve the shells with plenty of additional marinara sauce, if desired.
Vegan Super Greens Stuffed Shells
- 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package instructions
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch green chard or rainbow chard, stemmed and chopped
- 1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and chopped (about four heaping cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup packed flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves, or a mix of both, very finely chopped
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional), to taste
- 32 ounces jarred marinara sauce
- Use a tofu press to press any excess water from the tofu. Alternately, wrap the tofu in several layers of paper towel, place it on a rimmed cutting board or large plate, and set a heavy cast iron skillet on top of it. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, set a pan on top of it and place several heavy books or cans in the pan. Press the tofu for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the jumbo shells cook and the tofu presses, preheat the oven to 400F, lightly grease a casserole dish, and get started on the filling.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chard, kale, and garlic, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the greens wilt and soften. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. If you prefer smaller pieces of greens (I do), turn the mix out onto a cutting board and chop to desired size.
- Add the pressed tofu to a food processor and pulse several times until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the greens, herb/s, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
- Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and/or pepper (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon sea salt).
- Spoon 1 to 1 ½ cups of the marinara into the bottom of the casserole dish, Use the back of a spoon to evenly spread.
- Stuff each shell with about 3 tablespoons of the tofu ricotta mixture, and transfer to the casserole dish. You should have about 16 generously stuffed shells. Spoon a bit of marinara over each shell, reserving some sauce for serving.
- Cover the dish with foil, poking several slits across the surface to vent.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until warmed through.
- Top with additional marinara, if desired, and serve immediately.
- Cover and refrigerate leftovers.
If I went the 10 oz frozen-block-of-spinach route, do you think half the block would be equal to your kale/chard bunch?
Hi, Joanna! That sounds about right. Honestly though, this recipe is quite forgiving in terms of what you add to the filling, so however much you prefer should work just fine. Enjoy! :)
Can I substitute tofu for something else? Oncologist suggests not having soy products. Recipes sounds yummy!
Hi, Phyllis! I know there are some nut-based ricotta recipes out there (as well as pre-made ricotta—e.g., Kite Hill brand makes one). I haven't tried the recipe with those myself, but I haven a feeling it would work out just fine.
I made this with the Kite Hill almond ricotta and it's delish! I would scale back the added salt to the ricotta mixture a bit though since the prepared ricotta is already quite salty. I can also confirm the recipe is very forgiving - I couldn't find jumbo shells so i used lasagna sheets and just made a simple layered dish with the noodles, sauce and filling. Yum!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Lindsay! Thanks for the tips about using Kite Hill ricotta—great idea.
I did not have shells so I made a "deconstructed" version with regular pasta. Delicious!
Wonderful idea, Courtney! Glad you enjoyed the recipe, and thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts. :)
I was so surprised at the amount of green that get packed into this recipe. The filling and the final product was absolutely delicious. Thanks for suggesting chopping the greens into smaller pieces before mixing with tofu. It helped my picky 2-year-old gobble up a couple shells without much complaint.
Hi, Yunji! Thrilled to hear you and your little one are enjoying the recipe. Thank you for taking time out of your day to come back and share your rating and feedback—it means so much to me and is helpful for others hoping to make the recipe as well.
Celeste Jackson says
I love the addition of the greens to this classic recipe, especially Swiss chard one of my favorite😋 Looking forward to trying this.mGood luck with the squirrel situation😉
Thank you and hope you enjoy it!
Made this for dinner today, Christmas Eve, with my hubby. Perfect as written. Will make again. Thank you for sharing!
So glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe, Danielle! And happy to hear it will be a repeat recipe—a high honor, for sure. :) Happy cooking (and new year) to you!
Really enjoyed this recipe and I'll definitely be making it again. Super flavorful and so healthy!!! I'm not even vegan and still loved it. Thank you :)
So happy to hear this, Christy! Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. :)