Vegan Stuffed Shells

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Looking for something to please both vegetarians and meat eaters? This dish is an easy crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t love pasta? Some of the steps can be completed the day before, so it shouldn’t take too long to pull everything together when you plan to serve it. I appreciate recipes like this that allow me to spend time with my guests rather than slaving away in the kitchen on the big day. (Always choose organic ingredients, if available, for the most nutrition).

Ingredients:

2/3 box of large shell pasta

1 Tbsp. oil: grapeseed, olive or coconut

1 chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms

1 container organic firm tofu

10 oz. frozen spinach, kale or chard, defrosted and drained

1 Tbsp. parsley flakes

1 tsp. oregano

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Shredded veggie mozzarella cheese (8 – 12 oz.)

1 jar any good meatless spaghetti sauce

Drain all the water off the tofu, then place tofu on a flat plate lined with several layers of paper towels, cover with more paper towels, top with another plate and on top of all that place a large unopened can of anything that weighs about 2 lbs. Your goal is to press as much water from the tofu as possible. This will take about 30 minutes, so continue with the rest of the recipe while the tofu drains. (I like to squeeze water from the saturated paper towels a couple of times during this process). Tofu is very versatile and will take on the flavors of any seasoning IF it isn’t water-logged, so draining it well is very important.

While the tofu is draining, also drain the defrosted spinach, kale or chard — whichever you are using. (Use a large spoon to press out any extra moisture or it will also dilute the flavor).

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet and saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Add thawed, drained greens and toss together. Heat through, then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl combine: tofu (mash with a fork), 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, parsley, oregano and salt. Add sauted vegetables and mix all together. The hard part is done. This mixture may be refrigerated until tomorrow if you wish, or you may complete the rest of the recipe.

Next day or continue:

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside on a clean tea towel to cool.

Add half the veggie mozzarella cheese to the tofu mixture and stir to mix.

Lightly grease a large glass casserole dish. Spread a thin layer (scant 1/2 inch) of sauce on the bottom.

Stuff each shell with a large spoonful of tofu mixture and place each one in a single layer in the casserole dish.

Distribute the rest of the sauce over each shell and top with the remaining veggie cheese.

Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes. Remove foil the last 10 minutes of baking.

Serve hot. Enjoy the compliments!

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan “Parmesan Cheese”

This is an exciting recipe I discovered while viewing a recent cooking demo on http://www.therenegadehealthshow.com . (I highly recommend this site.)

We all know how expensive commercial brands of veggie cheese are, so I couldn’t wait to try this recipe.  I made it last night to serve on tofu stuffed shells, and it was great.  You can make a larger batch to keep on hand. It’s simple and stores well in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

5 large Brazil nuts, rough chopped

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste (I found that 1/2 tsp. works well)

Grind the nuts.  Add sea salt and nutritional yeast, and grind again.  Done!

Is that easy, or what?

Tofu Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

8 oz. chopped mushrooms

1 container (12.3 oz.) Mori-Nu silken tofu, drained and mashed with a fork

15 – 20 jumbo pasta shells

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast*

1/4 c. Parmesan flavor veggie cheese, plus another 1/4 c. reserved for topping

1 Tbsp. parsley flakes

1 tsp. oregano leaves

1 – 1 1/2 tsp. salt or sea salt

about 8 oz. shredded mozzarella flavor veggie cheese

1 qt. any good marinara sauce

Method:**

Cook the pasta shells according to pkg. directions, drain and set aside. (Lay them on a damp linen dishtowel covered with another damp linen dishtowel so they won’t dry out or stick together while you work).

Saute onions, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil. Add thawed, drained spinach and cook for another couple minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl combine tofu, 1/4 c. veggie Parmesan, oregano, salt, nutritional yeast, and veggie mozzarella (reserve 1/4 cup). Add sauteed vegetables and mix together with a fork.

In a rectangular casserole spread a thin layer of marinara sauce.

Stuff the noodles with the tofu mixture (2 – 3 Tbsp. per shell), and place the stuffed shells in the casserole. (Place the stuffed shells close together so they don’t tip over).

Spoon remaining sauce over the stuffed shells and top with reserved veggie mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30 – 4o minutes. Serve.

* Nutritional yeast can be purchased at the health food store. It is not Dry Active Yeast although it looks similar. It is a granular powder that comes in a jar, and it gives food a cheesy flavor and aroma. Nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins.

** You can also substitute this tofu mixture for the ricotta cheese used in any vegetable lasagna recipe — just layer it between lasagna noodles, sauce, and veggie mozzarella cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Or, you can layer the tofu mixture with of any type of pasta and sauce for another one dish variation.