In fact, legend has it that one of my uncles, a lover of all dishes meat-and-cheese-related, had no idea this was vegan until I told him. After he ate a plateful. I believe his words were something like, "This is vegan, really?! It tasted exactly the same as regular stuffed shells." Hell, I'm betting even babies and dogs would love these shells, but please, please, don't test that hypothesis. Because I love it so much, let's repeat that one sentence real quick: "This is vegan, really?! It tasted exactly the same as regular stuffed shells."
I am tagging this as "students," too, because it can be made cheaply, and we all know students are poor.
The following, I share with you, because, CYoFC readers, I do love you. <3
V e g a n S t u f f e d S h e l l s
About 40 jumbo shells
3 jars tomato sauce
2 pounds firm tofu
2-3 cups of baby spinach (optional)
1 & 1/3 cups
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons dried parsley
4 teaspoons dried basil
4 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
NOTE: If you don't want to make this much (the above serves about 12), just halve all of the ingredients. Don't forget to halve the seasonings and salts, though!
- Cook the pasta according to directions the on the box
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Drain the tofu well and pat dry. With a fork (or potato masher), mash the tofu, vegan mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, salt and seasonings together until the texture resembles ricotta vegan cheese. Yep, no blender or food processor needed here. OPTIONAL: include 2 cups of baby spinach leaves in the mix before you mash it.
- Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with a thin layer of pasta sauce. Using a small spoon, fill each shell with a scoop of the tofu mixture. Lay each stuffed shell gently on top of the pasta sauce, seam facing up. (FYI: The original recipe said seam facing down, so choose what you will.)
- When the baking pan is full, pour the rest of the tomato sauce evenly over the shells. Sprinkle with a small amount of nutritional yeast. OPTIONAL: gently arrange a baby spinach leaf over each shell. The vein of the leaf should run perpendicularly to the seam of the shell. This will make your tray of shells look prettier, and your friends/family may think these are actually basil leaves. Mine did. Extra cooking cred points, score.
- Bake for 30 minutes or so.
This looks complicated and daunting, but really, the basic steps are 1) cook the pasta, 2) mash together the fillings, 3) put sauce and pasta in the tray, 4) fill pasta, 5) cover pasta with more sauce, 6) bake.
|In da tray.|
What do I mean by "jumbo shells," you ask? Here's a photo:
|There they are, looking all jumbo and menacing.|
iMangia, my pretties!