04 October 2015

Vegan Stuffed Shells

This semester has started off at a run and I'm not sure I'm catching up. Thus, I haven't had a lot of time to make new meals. Well, that's not quite true. I've made two, both of which were delicious, I just haven't had time to post them. This particular dinner we ate weeks ago. And wow, was it good! The mellow flavor of the garlic is just wonderful and the texture of the tofu mixture is perfect. Shana also thought that flavor developed even more in leftovers.

I will say that this is not a meal you can make in a hurry. There are a lot of different parts that need to come together and you use a ton of dishes. But for a dinner party or something like that, this would a great option! It's something that non-vegans would find familiar, but not necessary miss the cheese due to the consistency of the tofu and the roundness of the flavors from garlic, miso, and nutritional yeast.

Tofu and Spinach Stuffed Shells
This recipe is slightly adapted from one published in the April/May 2015 issue of Vegetarian Times.

6 oz. jumbo pasta shells
12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 c. olive oil
1, 16 oz. block extra firm tofu
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. white miso
1/2 T. nutritional yeast
5 oz. baby spinach
1, 29 oz. can tomato sauce or puree
spices of choice (see Helpful Hints)

Preheat the oven to 375.
1. Cook the shells according to the directions on the package, but cook them until just soft (i.e., the smallest amount of time possible). Drain, rinse, re-drain, and cool on a kitchen towel.
2. In a small skillet, simmer the garlic in the olive oil over low heat until the garlic is golden, or about 15 minutes.
3. Put tofu, vinegar, lemon juice, miso, and nutritional yeast into food processor with a dash or two of black pepper and combine. You may need to scrape the sides periodically.
4. Combine your spices of choice with the 29 oz. of tomato sauce. Stir well.
5. Place spinach on a microwave safe plate and heat about 2 minutes until wilted. Run a knife through the wilted leaves to chop them slightly. Stir them into the tofu mixture.
6. Spoon filling into each of the shells - carefully! - placing each filled shell in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the tomato sauce over the top.
7. Bake 45 minutes and the let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Helpful Hints
  • The original recipe called for a 24 oz. jar of prepared tomato sauce. I like making my own, as I've not found a pre-made one with all of the flavors I enjoy. Plus, we liked the extra sauce. 
  • Speaking of the sauce, I used the following spices: Italian seasoning, paprika, basil, oregano, garlic, onion, cayenne. 
  • I really meant be careful with the shells when you're filling them with the tofu/spinach mixture. They are fragile and will tear easily. Just think of this as an activity to nurture your patience. 
The post "Vegan Stuffed Shells" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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