Cheese-Free Stuffed Shells Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Cheese-Free Stuffed Shells

Tofu can still be a tough sell for some adults, much less for kids, who aren't likely to be swayed by arguments of how high tofu is in protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. The small set worries about texture and taste. So, we resorted to the oldest trick in the book: pasta. We stuffed shells—always a kid favorite—with an Italian-seasoned tofu filling, then topped them with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of soy cheese. The creamy results will fool any tofu-phobe—in fact, our test-kitchen tasters liked these shells even better than the traditional ricotta-filled ones. Because tofu absorbs flavors so well, it's an ideal stand-in for mild ricotta cheese. Once the gang has scooped up the last bite, you can come clean, and use the meal to turn them on to other tofu dishes. Or it can just remain your healthy little secret.



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16 jumbo pasta shells
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½ jar marinara sauce(about 13 oz.)
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1 15-oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained
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½ medium-sized onion, peeled and quartered
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5 oz. frozen chopped spinach (about ½ cup), thawed and drained
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¼ cup fresh basil leaves
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2 cloves garlic, peeled
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2 Tbs. olive oil
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1 Tbs. dried oregano
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½ tsp. salt
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¼ tsp. ground black pepper
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½ cup shredded Cheddar-style soy cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce over bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish.

2. Put tofu and all remaining ingredients except soy cheese in food processor; purée. Transfer tofu mixture to 1-gallon sealable plastic bag.

3. Snip off a bottom corner of bag; squeeze about 3 Tbs. tofu mixture into each shell. Arrange shells over sauce in baking dish, drizzle with remaining sauce and cover tightly with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle shells with cheese and bake 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Nutrition Information: 

21 g
Total Fat: 
17 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
41 g
821 mg
5 g
3 g
Serves 4

Comments on this Recipe

These came out great, even without the garlic and onion.

I have made this recipe over and over again - it's wonderful! I use fresh spinach (instead of frozen) and exclude the onion. The trick is to remember NOT to mince the garlic, just place it peeled into the food processor.

I have been useing tofu for years and know so many recepes I could go on the food channel and have a new one every day for years.

YUMMMMM!!!! being a Veggie is so much fun! I love re-creating foods, and having to think about them more. People ask if I miss meat, and to tell the truth I really don't. With such a wide variety of flavorful foods, there really isn't anything to miss!

I just tried the recipe and recommend lots more sauce to balance out the flavours in the dish.

Great recipe! I'm in marathon training, so trying to find extra ways to integrate protein into my diet. My food processor is broken, so I improvised by chopping fresh spinach finely, grating the garlic with a hand grater, and mashing everything with a potato masher. Also caramelized the onions, which added great flavor. Opted to roll up in prepared whole-wheat lasagna sheets instead; worked great!

Most versatile and best recipe every. My one year old loves these! I often will add a can of rinsed white kidney beans and add veg stock to thin the mixture for the food processor.