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Ricotta and Shells in Pan

Stuffed Shells with (Vegan) Ricotta Cheese

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Plant-based, vegan
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
resting time (eggplant): 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 219kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey
These stuffed shells are vegan, oil-free, and plant-based.  Tofu, raw cashews, and eggplant give the ricotta "cheese" a creamy texture.  
Print Recipe


  • 1 large eggplant sliced in half and scored
  • 1 16 ounce block tofu extra firm
  • 20 jumbo shells
  • 3/4 cup cashews, raw soaked
  • 5 ounces baby kale
  • 2 cloves mined garlic
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or more to keep pan from sticking
  • 1/2 cup plant milk of choice unsweetened
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 25 ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 1 recipe vegan cashew parmasean cheese optional


  • Preheat oven to 400°. 
  • Slice eggplant in half lengthwise, score the flesh side and sprinkle generously with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes.  When finished, squeeze out excess moisture. Place cut-side down on a silicone lined baking pan and cook for 40 minutes.  
  • After you take the eggplant out, turn oven down to 350°.  Let the eggplant cool enough to handle and then scrape out the insides into a dish. Set aside. You can discard skins.
  • While the eggplant is sitting and cooking do the following:
    1. Drain and press Tofu,
    2. Soak cashews,
    3. Boil water for shells,
    4. Sauté baby kale.
    5. Blend/process pressed tofu (except 1/2 cup), soaked cashews, and  plant milk. 
    (Specific directions are in steps below.)
  • Drain and press Tofu until most moisture is squeezed out. After tofu is drained and presses, break into small chunks and divide - setting aside 1/2 cup in a separate bowl.
  • Cook jumbo shells according to package direction for al dente.  Drain and set aside to cook.
  • Soak raw cashews in water for 30 minutes. After cashews have soaked for 30 minutes, drain water and toss it out.  Set aside cashews to blend later.
  • Line a large sauté  pan with vegetable broth. Sauté baby kale along with garlic until wilted and tender.  Set aside. 
  • Put soaked drained cashews, unsweetened plant milk, and all but 1/2 cup of pressed tofu into a high-speed blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Pour/scrape into a large mixing bowl . 
  • Add the cooked baby kale, cooked and scooped eggplant and all other seasonings and ingredients (except for pasta sauce, shells, and vegan parmesan cheese) to the bowl with the ricotta mixture.  With an immersion blender, aggressively  blend until smooth.  
  • At the last minute, add the reserved 1/2 cup tofu.  Continue to lightly blend until mixture resembles  the consistency of a ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Line the bottom of a large lasagna-type of pan with a thin layer of pasta sauce.  
  • Carefully stuff the shells with the cheese mixture and place in a single layer on top of the pasta sauce.
  • Spoon remaining pasta sauce on the top of the stuffed shells. Sprinkle generously with vegan parmesan cheese. 
  • Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes until heated through. 


If you serve this recipe to others you MUST disclose that this recipe contains nuts.  One normally wouldn't expect to find nuts in thy type of recipe so it is especially important.
Recipe for Vegan Cashew Parmesan Cheese
Recipe for Homemade Pasta Sauce


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 467mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2380IU | Vitamin C: 28.4mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2.1mg