Friday Night Under Five – Stuffed Pasta Shells

Pasta Shells PINTEREST

The Vegan version of these shells are seriously OFF.THE.CHAIN delicious.  I was surprised we had leftovers.  We would not have if my daughter had not made two huge pans (pictured above).  It’s when we have wonderful, filling and flavorful meals like these that I know we can live this (mostly) plant-based lifestyle for the rest of our lives.

If you are new to a plant-based diet or simply trying something new.  My advice is to keep trying new recipes.  Sometimes one person’s take on a recipe is just not a match to your taste-buds.  Make some modifications or try a different recipe.  Expand your horizons.  If you had told me, even just two short years ago, we would be eating a predominantly plant-based diet, I would not have believed you.  It is only because we have been willing to try, to venture outside of our comfort zone – that this has worked. You may just be pleasantly surprised if you give it go.

Pasta Shells (Vegan and Non-Vegan Variation)

1 jar of Marinara or Spaghetti sauce

Ricotta “cheese” (See recipe below) (or a 16 oz. container of part-skim ricotta cheese)

Vegan “meat” crumbles (We prefer Gardein Crumbles) (If using real meat – a pound of ground meat of your choice)

A Bunch of Cooked spinach (You can either chop and boil fresh spinach until just tender or buy a small package of frozen and defrost and heat in the microwave) (A bunch as in a bushel not as in A LOT.)

1/4 finely chopped medium onion

1-2 tsp. Paprika

½ tsp. Salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1-2 tsp. Garlic powder (or minced garlic)

Large shells (you can use jumbo shells or manicotti shells )

Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese” (or Mozzarella Cheese)

Parmesan Cheese (Optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Boil large shells in a large pot with a splash of oil in the water so they don’t stick to the pan.

While water is heating and shells are boiling cook your meat or meat substitute. Add a bit of water to keep it moist and season with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and 1/4 a chopped onion. Add more seasoning to taste.

Once the “meat” is fully cooked, turn off heat and mix the cooked spinach with the meat. Once all of that is mixed add-on the ricotta. Make sure all three ingredients are fully mixed. (You can add a bit of Parmesan cheese here or a Vegan parm substitute.)

Once your shells are soft drain the water in a strainer and run cold water over the shells until they are cool to touch.

Get a glass pan and spread half the Marinara on the bottom.

To fill the shells a quick hack is to get an extra large zip block bag and cut off one of the bottom corners. (Don’t make it too small or the ricotta mix won’t come out) put the zip block bag with the cut tip down a large cup. Fold the sides of the bag over the cup. Then spoon the ricotta filling into the bag. Once the bag is full you can use just as you would a “frosting bag” and squeeze the filling into each of the shells.

A spoon works well too – just a little messy.

Use your “frosting bag” to fill your jumbo shells with the ricotta stuffing until your pan is full.

Use the remaining marinara sauce to top the jumbo shells then sprinkle some mozzarella over the whole dish. (Optional: sprinkle with additional parm. or parm. Substitute.

Bake for 20 minutes or until heated all the way through.

Serve with green veggies and garlic or hot crusty bread.

 

Ricotta “cheese”

2 cups boiled/ softened raw cashews

3 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS maple syrup (you can also use Agave)

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (we use unsweetened almond)

1 1/2 TBS olive oil

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

Basil and parsley for taste

Blend till smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides

 

 

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Wendy Mays

About Wendy Mays

Realtor* Recovering lawyer Sometimes blogger * Habitual Facebooker and Instagrammer * Momma to 2 Bigs and 4 Littles *Adoption advocate * Married for over of half my life to the most patient man in the world * He loves me and all my shades of crazy -- and for that he deserves the biggest and gaudiest mirror globe trophy * Jesus Girl Feminist *   Lover of all God's people and His Creation * Total Bosschick and believer that we can all win! In a nutshell, I am just a girl trying to balance my inner unicorn and rainbows self with my inner Xena Princess Warrior Self.

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