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Tofu “Ricotta” Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Eggplant

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Hi Friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the weekend! And here is something to start you off on the right foot…

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I’m not sure what propelled me to roast an eggplant and toss it in the tofu filling for these jumbo shells, but maybe it had something to do with this:

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Sadly, this is the first time I’ve eaten eggplant in a very long time. How could I have been missing out on such an amazing vegetable! Sometimes it takes pregnancy cravings to remind me of foods that I otherwise have forgotten about.

No, I’m not pregnant (thankfully, not yet!?!). But my friends Joelle and Caroline are, and they were both craving Asian style food, so we came up with Chinese eggplants and vegetable/tofu stir-fry with rice noodles. And, those eggplants. I had forgotten how wonderful eggplants are.

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And, so, this. This is what happened a week or so later when I came home.

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Two quick questions before I head out: (1) What is your favorite Easter entree? and (2) How do you best remember Christ’s death and resurrection in a holiday that is so easily made trivial by only eggs and candy?

Wishing you the best of weekends!

Tofu “Ricotta” Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Eggplant

Serves 4-6
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hours, 40 minutes
Allergy Soy, Wheat
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • salt (for eggplant)
  • 21oz extra firm tofu (or 1 and 1/2 blocks)
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 3/4 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 -2 teaspoon salt ((Or to taste, and yes, I know this is the second time salt is listed. :)))
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 20 jumbo pasta shells

Directions

Step 1
Slice the top off of your eggplant. Then, cut it in half lengthwise. Score each half as if you were going to cut it into cubes when you're done roasting it.
Step 2
Sprinkle each eggplant half generously with salt-- in the scored cuts as well. Now, you'll let your eggplant halves sit, cut side up, for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F towards the end of the 30 minutes.
Step 3
After 30 minutes, you'll notice that each eggplant has quite a bit of water droplets on the top and in the cuts of it. Squeeze each eggplant half gently over the sink, and let the salty water run out.
Step 4
Now, put your eggplant in a rimmed baking pan that is lined with either parchment paper or a silicon liner. Brush each eggplant half with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then place each half cut side down on to your baking sheet.
Step 5
Bake your eggplant for about 40-45 minutes, or until the eggplant has mostly collapsed, and the inside is soft and mushy.
Step 6
While your eggplant is baking, you can get started on your filling and cook your jumbo pasta shells.
Step 7
Cook your jumbo pasta shells according to package instructions. I like to boil mine in an uncovered pot of salted water for about 11-13 minutes.
Step 8
In a medium frying pan, saute 1 clove of minced garlic and onion with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When your garlic and onion have been cooking for about 1 minute, add your frozen spinach to the mixture, and cook everything until the spinach is just thawed.
Step 9
In a medium sized bowl, mash your tofu with a fork until it is crumbly. Take about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your crumbled tofu and put it in your blender with 1/4 cup cashews and 1/4 cup water. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.
Step 10
Pour blender contents back into medium sized bowl, and add garlic, onion, salt, yeast flakes, basil, and the spinach mixture as well. Mix it up. :)
Step 11
Once your eggplant is finished roasting, use a spoon to scrape out the eggplant contents from the skin, and put them directly into your tofu mixture. Stir it up!
Step 12
Stuff your shells with your eggplant tofu mixture, and place in a bed of your favorite marinara in a 9 X 13 in baking dish. Pour a little more marinara on top of your shells. At this point, you can sprinkle a little of your favorite vegan cheese on top, if you want. But, I just left it out.
Step 13
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, or until your tofu filling is just starting to turn more golden/yellow.
Step 14
Serve hot.

Note

While the ingredients call for 20 shells, I found that I used up all of my filling with 18 shells. Usually a few shells are damaged beyond repair with the boiling process, which is why I recommend cooking 20 shells total, just on case. ;)

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{ 27 comments… add one }

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious March 11, 2013, 2:55 am

    Who knew tofu would come in so handy in these stuffed shells?! This is definitely a must-try in my book!

    Reply
    • Lindsay March 11, 2013, 7:20 pm

      Thanks, Chung-Ah! I’ll just throw it out there: I LOVE tofu! :) Thanks for stopping by. I LOVE your blog, by the way, kind of the same way that I love tofu. hehe ;)

      Reply
  • Sister Spice March 11, 2013, 7:31 pm

    I like tofu but I’ve never prepared it, so I am excited to have a recipe to follow! And a yummy-looking one, at that!

    Reply
  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan March 12, 2013, 2:18 pm

    You must have read my mind, I was JUST thinking about how to make a stuffed shells dish vegan! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lindsay March 12, 2013, 9:30 pm

      You’re sweet. :) Wish I could send you some.

      Reply
  • Doug W April 2, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I’m definitely trying this however I have cut out my beloved pasta so for the shells I will use zucchini! Can’t wait to try this!!!!

    Reply
  • Sha Sha April 6, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Don’t know how I feel about pasta shells with no :( cheese! But if it tastes as good as it looks than I’m up for anything. Gonna try this next week with whole wheat shells.

    Reply
    • Lindsay April 7, 2013, 8:03 pm

      LOL! That’s the spirit–gotta give it a try! Btw,….I miss you!!

      Reply
  • manda July 24, 2013, 1:54 pm

    First of all let me say that this recipe is a savory explosion. I came for a nice tofu ricotta recipe suggestion for my shells and liked the rexipe so much I mostly followed it.
    I subbed some stuff to suit my kitchen, like doing mushrooms rather than eggplants which was delicious though it reads like the eggplant sort of falls apart and it seems that is an importtant ingredient for the texture you were going for here. :) next time I want to eggplantify

    I wanted to clear something up that I was confused about.
    In your list of ingredients basil and nutritional yeast are listed but in the directions there is no mention of how to apply them. I thought my tofcheese could handle them so I just mixed them in. was this correct?

    Mandaaa

    so I camehere with a question; you list basil and nutritional yeast in your list of ingredients

    Reply
    • Lindsay July 24, 2013, 2:42 pm

      Yes! You got it right. Sorry for the confusion. The basil and yeast flakes go with the tofu. Thanks for your kind words. :)
      Mushrooms instead of eggplant sounds AH-mazing, btw! ;)

      Reply
  • Dani January 14, 2014, 7:34 pm

    Just tried these and was surprised at how much I liked them! Thanks! I didn’t use the yeast flakes because I couldn’t find them, but everything came out just fine without!

    Reply
  • Stephanie January 17, 2014, 10:31 am

    How would you recommend going about freezing them?

    Reply
    • Lindsay January 17, 2014, 9:53 pm

      Whenever I freeze shells or lasagna, I usually bake them first, then freeze them in a glass pyrex dish. Then, I just microwave to reheat. :)

      Reply
  • Lee February 9, 2014, 5:41 pm

    Are the pasta shells vegan?
    What brand do you use?

    Reply
    • Lindsay February 14, 2014, 7:05 am

      Yes, as long as you’re not using egg noodles, most pasta shells are vegan. Check your ingredients to know for sure. I believe I just used an off-brand found in my local grocery store, but I honestly can’t remember for sure.

      Reply
  • Wendy March 13, 2014, 8:26 pm

    This was my First time trying this recipe and I must say it was absolutely delicious
    !! I didn’t use the flakes but we did put mushrooms inside the tofu mix and it tasted great. So grateful for your recipe we’re new to the vegetarian lifestyle and this help a bunch.

    Reply
    • Lindsay March 14, 2014, 10:18 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed, it Wendy! Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

      Reply
  • Amber July 12, 2014, 6:44 pm

    These came out amazing. I even had requests for the recipe after putting a picture of my finished shells on facebook. Thank you for a delicious comfort food recipe.

    Reply
    • Lindsay July 15, 2014, 5:35 pm

      Yay! Thanks, Amber, for taking the time to let us know how you liked it! :)

      Reply
  • an na July 27, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Thank you for posting this recipe I am making it today can’t wait to eat it.
    Hope you have more recipes

    Reply
  • Hannah August 22, 2014, 8:34 am

    I made this recipe last night and it was delicious! I followed the recipe closely—only adding in additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to the filling mixture. This is definitely a meal I will make again. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lindsay August 22, 2014, 10:49 am

      Great, Hannah! Thanks for your sweet comment. :)

      Reply
  • Christina September 1, 2014, 3:46 pm

    Is the tofu absolutely necessary for the ricotta texture. Can I omit it and the result be fine or is there something you can recommend as a substitute?

    Reply
    • Lindsay September 5, 2014, 3:39 pm

      Hmnmmm….I can’t think of a good substitute off the top of my head.

      Reply

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