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).
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!