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.
- 16 jumbo pasta shells
- ½ jar marinara sauce(about 13 oz.)
- 1 15-oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained
- ½ medium-sized onion, peeled and quartered
- 5 oz. frozen chopped spinach (about ½ cup), thawed and drained
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 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 9×13-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.