If you’re a lover of classic Italian food—and who isn’t?—you’ll adore these vegan stuffed shells. They’re like a fancier remix of lasagna. They plate beautifully, are sure to wow dinner party guests, and are shockingly easy to make. Ready to feel like a top chef?
Just boil some jumbo pasta shells and gently fill each one with our cheesy tofu-based ricotta filling made flavorful with onion, garlic, fresh basil, lemon, and other fresh ingredients. Sprinkle some extra vegan cheese on top (if you’d like), bake them, and pour yourself a glass of wine. It’s time to close your eyes, take a bite, and be transported instantly to the coast of Italy.
This recipe hits all the marks. It’s a warm filling comforting vegan dinner that will make you feel like you’re dining in a little villa on the coast of Italy. Plus, it’s:
This recipe can also be made gluten-free vegan if you can find gluten free jumbo shell pasta! I you’re looking for a soy-free option, try using Pumfu (pumpkin seed tofu) or another soy-free tofu alternative. It will still be absolutely delicious!
Jumbo Pasta Shells – This is the one unique ingredient you’ll need to make these vegan stuffed shells. You can find jumbo shell pasta online and at many mainstream grocery stores as well as many big box stores such as Target and Walmart. But if you can’t find them, you can also use manicotti pasta or even lasagna noodles rolled up around the filling to make vegan lasagna rolls!
Firm or Extra-Firm Tofu – To create a soft ricotta-like cheese filling, I prefer using Firm or Extra-Firm tofu in this recipe (rather than super-firm, which comes vacuum packed and is denser and more chewy).
Fresh Basil – If you have fresh basil that’s the most ideal for this recipe, but if you don’t have any you can always substitute dried basil instead. I’ve done that many times and it’s still delicious!
Nutritional Yeast – A staple in every vegan kitchen, nutritional yeast (aka “nooch”) gives a cheesy flavor to this dish.
Marinara Sauce – The marinara sauce provides a substantial portion of the flavor of these stuffed shells, so it’s key to use a flavorful marinara or arrabbiata sauce you love. You’re welcome to use store-bought from a jar—just know that these vary tremendously in depth of flavor and freshness. For this dish, skip the Prego and invest in a higher quality pasta sauce if you can. We have an incredible homemade vegan marinara sauce recipe if you feel inspired to make your own. It will make your house smell divine.
Vegan Cheese (Optional) – The vegan cheese is completely optional. I often make stuffed shells without added vegan cheese on top and I never miss it. But if you are a die-hard cheese lover, get your favorite package of vegan cheese shreds and sprinkle them on top before you bake!
Hungry for more crazy-delicious vegan recipes for your favorite foods that we’ve perfected for you, rigorously tested, and make all the time in our kitchens? Grab a copy of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook and get ready to cook up:
…and 100 more dishes worth your time in the kitchen.
I wrote this book with my co-author Toni Okamoto as a compilation of the best-of-the-best recipes we’ve created and turn back to again and again over the past 13 years (each) of being vegan. I hope it empowers you to step into your kitchen with confidence and whip up food so good you’re excited to share it with even your most skeptical friends and family.
This vegan stuffed shells recipe with tofu ricotta is from The Friendly Vegan Cookbook by Michelle Cehn and Toni Okamoto. Published with permission from BenBella Books, 2020, all rights reserved. Photos by Zhoro Apostolov. Please note that this article contains affiliate links.
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Can we make this a day ahead?
Can’t wait to try it.
Absolutely! You can make them a few days ahead even!
The tofu ricotta is easy to make and they are a major crowd favorite!!
These look delightful and I can already smell the shells baking in the oven!
These are a favorite in our home!
Loveee it! Looks so delicious!! I’m so excited to make this recipe 🙂
Incredibly creamy and rich! You’ll never miss the dairy ricotta cheese in this recipe. My hubby is a cheese addict (working on helping him out of this!) and he still loved this recipe. It’s amazing how much tofu cheese these shells hold and the fresh basil really makes this recipe sing. I can’t wait to share this recipe with the Italian side of my family. So easy, super tasty and such a great twist on the classic. YUM!
These shells have been a family favorite for some time. They are easy and fairly quick to assemble. They are an elegant and flavorful dish.
I love that these are way easier to make than other stuffed shells I’ve tried! Yet they are still super flavorful and absolutely delicious. Okay, I may need to go make another batch, now I’m hungry just thinking about them!! Definitely give them a try 🙂
I adore these stuffed shells! They are the perfect alternative to lasagna when you’re feeling a little lazy and you crave Italian food! The tofu ricotta is to die for! Please give it a try!