Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells. I feel like I never really loved you enough growing up. You're pasta. You're cheese. You're saucy. But I never really got the exposure. My coworker George is known for his stuffed shells. Part math geek, part adorable dad, part stuffed shell cooker bad ass. But unfortunately I keyed into them after becoming a vegan so their majesty is purely known to me only though coworkers sighs and stuffed faces.
I have no idea why this recipe stuck in my head yesterday but I HAD to make them. I'm about to leave on vacation. I don't need more food to bring with me. But still they persisted.
So after a few item pick up at the store we got rocking and rolling.
The ingredients are simple. The result is amazing and you would honestly never know it's vegan. I also hate when people say that when you could clearly tell something's vegan. Tofu does a bad ass ricotta impression and I'm not even mad about it. Even if I am mad at my brother for holding fast to his 'I don't like tofu and I won't try it' line. **insert huge eye roll**
The video above includes a fun little light cocktail above so make that, watch that, and then come back, then maybe make another cocktail and proceed.
- 1 box stuffed shells
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 8oz package sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 box frozen chopped spinach
- 2 tsp diced garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 jar pasta sauce*
*I need to talk for one second about my FAVORITE pasta sauce. Lucini Tuscan Marinara sauce.
I honestly am not even that into pasta... thus pasta sauce also not usually into it. I was making something a few months ago that I needed it for so I went to the store to do my usual 5 hours of comparison reading nutritional labels and ingredients and this one checked all the boxes:
No additional oil (so it's fat free)
25 calories a half cup
1 gram of protein a half cup
Most marinara sauces have added oil bringing them to 50-70 calories a half cup, with 3 or more grams of fat. Not necessary and does not make them taste better.
The taste of this sauce is phenomenal. It's crisp, bright, chunky with ripe tomatoes, and I could eat in by the spoonful. Which I can do because the whole jar is 150 calories.
Back to the recipe...
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Let spinach block thaw in a bowl of hot water while you work. Boil whole box of shells for 5 minutes. When done, drain and spray with olive oil, or other cooking, spray to keep shells from sticking.
Step 2: Make tofu ricotta by putting drained block of tofu in a blender, adding the basil, pepper, and a 1/2 tsp salt and blend on low, pushing tofu down until it's a creamy consistency
Step 3: Dice mushrooms very fine and start to sauté. Take out partially thawed spinach, wrap in paper towels, and then squeeze out as much water as you possibly can. Put spinach in pan with mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are well cooked. Add in garlic, Italian seasoning, and a little more salt.
Step 4: Put veggies in a bowl and add ricotta. Mix until throughly incorporated.
Step 5: Get out a square baking tray or a two quart dutch oven. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom. to Using a spoon, put about 1 Tbs of filling into each shell and create a layer of shells on the bottom of the pan. Add sauce on top. Continue to stuff shells and make layers of shells and sauce.
Step 6: Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
Enjoy! These with a salad and a glass of wine make a nice Italian dinner at a calorie budget that won't break the bank.
Nutritional Information: Servings 5. Serving size 7 shells. Calories 361, Fat 4.8 g, Fiber 6.7 g, Protein 20.3 g, Carbohydrates 59.6 g