Vegan Stuffed Shells with Cashew Cream Sauce
Nothing says comfort food like a hot pan of vegan stuffed shells with cashew cream sauce. The vegan ricotta cheese filling is so creamy and cheesy you’ll have a hard time noticing that it’s dairy free. Add in the pasta and silky cashew cream sauce, and this stuffed shells recipe is a winner.
Since this stuffed shells recipe is entirely plant-based, you can feel good feeding these creamy shells to your family. They are so delicious your entire family will be coming back for more. Perfect for nights when you want a warm, cozy meal that everyone will enjoy.
About this recipe
For this stuffed shells recipe, I swapped out all dairy products for tasty plant-based, vegan alternatives. Honestly, it’s crazy how much these ricotta stuffed shells taste like traditional ricotta stuffed shells. Flavorful and satisfying, this recipe checks all the pasta boxes. You’ll be completely blown away.
It’s important to note that you will need to soak your raw unsalted cashews in water overnight. Should you forget, you can soak them for 5-6 hours at room temperature. Soaking the cashews makes them softer and easier to digest. It also makes the sauce silky and smooth once blended.
Additionally, you will want to make sure that the cauliflower and sweet potato are both fork tender. Adding raw cauliflower and sweet potato will make the ricotta filling lumpy and bitter. So, be sure to cook both vegetables until they are fork tender.
Store any leftover shells in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days. To reheat, simply microwave the shells in a microwave safe dish until they are heated through. Looking for more vegan dinner recipes? Try my plant-based pulled “pork” or my plant-based spicy tahini noodles with crispy tofu.
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Cashew Cream Sauce
- 1 package jumbo shells – cooked al dente
Cashew Cream Sauce:
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked overnight, drain water before using
- 2 tablespoons butter, Earth Balance
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion , sliced, about 1 cup
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can crushed tomatoes with the juice , 14.5 ounces
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
Vegan Ricotta Cheese Filling:
- ½ block extra firm tofu, not pressed
- 1.5 cups cauliflower, boil until fork tender, pat dry
- ¾ cup sweet potato, boil until fork tender, pat dry, remove skin
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella , daiya brand
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried parsely
- handful of chopped spinach, sliced very thin
- food processor
- pasta pot
- saute pan
- mixing bowl
- baking dish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Gently spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside.
Prepare the pasta:
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and cook your jumbo pasta shells until they are al dente. I cooked about 20 shells. Drain water from the shells, drizzle with olive oil and set aside.
Prepare the cashew cream sauce:
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add your vegan butter and olive oil.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sweat the onions and garlic. Once translucent, add the cashews, vegetable broth, and crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Let the ingredients simmer for 5- 10 minutes.
- Next, you’ll carefully ladle the ingredients into a blender. Blend until completely smooth (no lumps) and then pour the sauce back into the saucepan.
- Simmer over low heat until you are ready to use. If the sauce begins to tighten, simply add more vegetable broth.
Prepare the vegan “ricotta” filling:
- Grab your food processor and add the tofu, softened cauliflower, nutritional yeast, spices and softened sweet potato. Blend well. You'll want to make sure you blend out any lumps. Remove the mixture from the food processor and add it to a large mixing bowl.
- Gently fold in the chopped spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Assemble the dish:
- Grab the large baking dish and line the bottom with a healthy amount of the cashew cream sauce. Stuff the shells with the vegan ricotta filling and line them on top of the cashew cream. Repeat until all of the shells are filled. Top with more sauce and shredded vegan mozzarella.
- Wrap with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and broil for an additional 2-3 minutes to melt the cheese!
- Serve and enjoy!