2 28ozcans crushed tomatoes (I love the Muir Glen brand with basil)
1teaspoonolive oil, optional
1tablespoonwhite or yellow miso (I use chickpea miso)
1 14ozpackage extra-firm tofu, drained
1cupfresh basil leaves, optional but recommended*
1 12ozbox of jumbo pasta shells (you’ll have enough filling for about 21 shells)
Make the sauce (if using)
In a medium saucepan, saute minced garlic and salt in olive oil or a splash of water for 1-2 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, and stir to combine.
Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Cook the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add a generous pinch of salt to the water and add the pasta shells.
Cook according to the package instructions.
Strain the cooked pasta into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the shells fresh until ready to use.
Make the ricotta
In a food processor fitted with the s-blade, add the cashews, garlic, miso paste, salt, and nutritional yeast. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs but is not pureed.
Add the drained tofu, breaking it up into pieces as you go.
Pulse until the mixture is fully combined and still has some texture from the cashews.
Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chopped basil, if using.
Stuff the shells
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Drain the shells from the water bath, gently shaking to remove any water hiding in the shell cavity.
Add the ricotta mixture to a piping bag or plastic food storage bag and snip off the end to leave about a half inch opening. Alternatively, you can spoon the ricotta mixture into the shells, it just is a little messier.
Spread 2-3 cups of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish or similar size baking pan.
Stuff the shells, nestling them into the sauce as you go. Depending on how much filling you use, you should have enough for at least 21 shells.
Spoon more sauce over the stuffed shells, cover the pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.
Serve immediately with a salad or side of your choice.
I kept this recipe as simple as I could, but if you want to add more plant power to the vegan ricotta, stir in some fresh chopped spinach before you stuff the shells. Arugula could be good too! Mmm...or artichoke hearts. Maybe olives? The point is, you've got options.
This meal is a perfect candidate for bulk cooking and meal prep. If you double the sauce and ricotta, you can freeze the extra for another meal. Like the best damn vegan lasagna!
You will have leftover jumbo shells. This is just how it works. Accept it and move on with your life. ;)
If you’re feeling extra, thin out a ½ cup of savory cashew cream with water until it’s a pourable consistency and drizzle it over the top of the shells after the 30 minute cooking time. Broil until browned and then enjoy! I usually don’t feel the need to do this because the filling is so rich as it is, but just wanted to throw that option out there.