Nothing says comfort food like a hot pan of cheesy pasta shells in a bed of cashew cream sauce and topped with shredded mozzarella. This recipe is so delicious it will have your entire family coming back for more.
Since this recipe is made mainly from veggies you can feel good knowing that your kiddos are getting plenty of healthy nutrients too!
What makes it Healthyish?
I swapped out all dairy products for tasty plant-based, vegan alternatives. Honestly, it’s crazy how much this recipe tastes like traditional stuffed shells. It’s creamy, cheesy, flavorful and totally satisfying. You’ll be completely blown away. What’s great is that most of these items can be found in your refrigerator and pantry.
So, let’s get started!
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Cashew Cream Sauce
- food processor
- pasta pot
- saute pan
- mixing bowl
- baking dish
Cashew Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter I like Earth Balance
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
- 1 sweet onion
- 4 gloves garlic
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup veggie broth
- crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
Vegan Ricotta Cheese Filling
- ½ block of extra firm tofu not pressed
- 1.5 cups cauliflower pearls cooked and soft
- ¾ cup sweet potato cooked and soft
- 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
- jumbo shells – cooked al dente
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the noodles:
- Gently spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside.
- 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 sauté pan over medium heat add your vegan butter and olive oil.
- Slice the onion and garlic cloves and add them to the pan. Let the onions and garlic begin to sweat. Once translucent, add in your cashews, veggie broth, and crushed tomatoes. Also, add in a healthy amount of salt and pepper. I like spice so I added a pinch of red pepper flakes, but this is optional.
- 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 sauté pan.
- Simmer over low heat until you are ready to use. If the sauce gets too thick, simply add more veggie broth.
Prepare the vegan “ricotta” filling:
- Grab your food processor and add the tofu, cooked cauliflower, nutritional yeast and cooked 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.
- Add the spices, chopped spinach, and shredded mozzarella. Blend well using a spoon.
Assemble the dish:
- Grab the large baking dish and line the bottom with a healthy amount of the cashew cream sauce. Begin stuffing your shells with the vegan ricotta filling and lining them on top of the cashew cream. Repeat until all of the shells are filled. Top with shredded vegan mozzarella.
- Wrap with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese!
- Serve and enjoy!
Author: Sarah Thomas-DrawbaughSarah Thomas-Drawbaugh is a recipe developer and creator of the brand, Healthyish Foods®. Sarah makes plant-based, fish and chicken recipes that are simple and delicious. Her work can be seen in Healthy-ish by Bon Appetit and Bon Appetit Magazine (digital), Women’s Health Magazine (digital) and Mind Body Green. Sarah is a Pittsburgh, PA native but currently lives in Vail, Colorado with her husband, Dan and rescue dog, Graci!