Don’t you just love stuffed shells? But I have to say, I was scared to try them without ricotta and mozzarella….what if they tasted terrible? But once I started finding some vegan mozzarella cheeses I loved, I was ready to try. And WOW! Let me tell you that this is the BEST vegan recipe I have made yet! The shells are creamy and packed with flavor: perfect for serving for a fancy meal, bringing to a holiday get-together, or making ahead for meal prep.
This recipe is easy, but it does take a little time to assemble. It is well worth it for a super Italian-style healthy vegan meal!
Key Ingredients Needed
Jumbo pasta shells – I have looked but have not found whole wheat ones: please let me know if you find them and where!
Silken tofu – I used a shelf-stable one. It blends easily with the kale as a filling for the shells and supplies protein and calcium.
Vegan mozzarella cheese – I have tried ones made with cashews or coconut oil.
Kale – fresh or frozen. You could easily substitute spinach or Swiss chard. I prefer kale because it is not high in oxalate, so the calcium in it is better absorbed. You can read more about the best vegan calcium sources from this article by Dr. Reed Mangels from the Vegetarian Resource Group.
Shallots – these have a terrific mild flavor. Can substitute for sweet onion.
Fresh garlic – this is essential to the flavor of this recipe. The jarred garlic has a different flavor but can be used if needed. I don’t recommend powdered garlic for this recipe.
Sun-dried tomatoes– suggest dried ones instead of oil-packed to limit the fat and calories in this recipe
Crushed tomatoes – I used these to make a fresh sauce for the shells. I think this tastes better than a commercial one because there is no sugar added. But if you want to save time, use a jarred sauce. or make your own sauce ahead of time and freeze some to use in recipes.
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale and Sun-dried Tomatoes
When you make stuffed shells, it’s good to have a little extra time because there are a few steps. Let’s outline what they are:
Boil the shells: I found 10 minutes was enough time to make them soft enough to stuff, but not mushy. After draining them, run them under cold water.
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water. Then drain them and slice them lengthwise.
Saute the shallots, half of the garlic, and kale with salt and pepper.
Mix the tofu, half of the vegan cheese, and kale mixture.
Saute the other half of the garlic in olive oil,. Add the crushed tomatoes, half of the sun-dried tomatoes, and seasoning.
Now, it’s time to assemble your shells.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 9 or 9 x 13 pan coated with non-stick spray.
Stuff each shell with about 2 Tbsp. of the tofu mixture. Place stuffed side up into the pan. Then, spoon the rest of the sauce over the shells. Top with the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes and vegan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes. Watch the sun-dried tomatoes, because they can burn.
Can You Freeze These Stuffed Shells?
Yes! You can freeze them and reheat them in the microwave or oven: the flavor and texture were the same! I suggest freezing for no more than 3 months.
More Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Stuffed Peppers with Butternut Squash and Quinoa
- Arroz Colorido – Colorful Mexican Rice: A Meal Prep Solution
- Orange Tahini Grilled Tofu
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Kale and Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Baking pan: 9"x 9" or 9" x 13"
- Large pot
- 2 medium frying pans
- 12 large pasta shells
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ⅛ cup shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves (4 teaspoons) garlic minced, divided
- 2 cups kale, frozen
- ⅛ salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounces silken tofu
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese divided
- 12 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Boil water in a large pot. Add shells and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and our cold water over them to cool them down.
- Soak sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for 10 minutes. Dran and slice into strips
- In a frying pan, heat the olive oil for 1 minute over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add kale, 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring ocassionally.
- Turn off the flame. Mix the tofu, and half of the vegan mozzarella into the kale mixture.
- In a separate pan, heat a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the fresh garlic. Stir and cook for a minute. Then add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and half of the sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 4 more minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Spray the baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Stuff each pasta shell with about 2 tablespoons of the tofu/kale mixture. Place each shell open side up into the pan. Top with the test of the sauce, the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes, and the rest of the vegan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
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Have you made these vegan stuffed shells? Please share the recipe with a friend and let me know how you liked them in the comments: