Vegan Stuffed Ricotta and Spinach Shells

These easy baked Vegan Stuffed Shells are a lightened-up version of the original that packs a ton of flavor and plant-based protein! They’re the perfect dairy-free dinner. Tender pasta shells are loaded with a blend of tofu ricotta and garlicky spinach then smothered in a flavorful pasta sauce before baking until bubbly! Top with fresh herbs for a dinner the whole family will love.


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I’ve always loved a good stuffed pasta dish, even as a vegan. Tender pasta stuffed with gooey, flavorful cheeses and topped with rich marinara sauce…comfort food to the extreme!

I grew up eating stuffed shells down the shore at neighborhood traditional Sunday Italian potluck feasts. So I like to think I know good shells.

And these vegan tofu ricotta and spinach stuffed shells do not  disappoint. One bite and I’m transported back to those delicious childhood memories, and I bet once you try them, you will be too!

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Why You’ll Love Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells

  • Simple methods. This pasta dish is mostly assembly, making it a great dish to make when there are many hands to help – like on date night or with your kids or friends!
  • Flavorful and cozy. All of the comfort of this classic family dinner without any of the dairy. Although, you’d never know it from the taste!
  • Freezer-friendly. Only cooking for 1 or 2? No problem! We’ve included instructions to freeze these stuffed shells for a batch cooking session you’ll be so glad you did later.
Overhead photo of all the ingredients you need to make Vegan Baked Conchiglioni

Ingredients in Vegan Stuffed Shells with Tofu

You’ll need 10 simple ingredients + spices to make our best vegan stuffed shell recipe!

  • Jumbo pasta shells – cooked and drained according to package directions
  • Olive oil
  • Dry white wine – optional, adds a great flavor to the spinach
  • Fresh spinach and basil – de-stemmed and chopped
  • Fresh garlic – minced
  • SpicesSalt, pepper, Italian seasoning
  • Tofu ricotta – We used our homemade tofu ricotta for this recipe!
  • Vegan mozzarella shreds – We like Violife or Vevan vegan mozzarella for this.
  • White miso paste – We use the mellow white miso paste from Miso Master
  • Marinara sauceHomemade tomato sauce or store-bought. We love the pasta sauces from Organicville and Botticelli for best flavor.

Stuffed Shell Variations

There are a few variations you can do with this vegan ricotta shells recipe!

Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells: Use the pumpkin ricotta recipe from our Tikka Masala Lasagna! You can also switch up the sauce by trading the marinara for a creamy white sauce like our vegan garlic cream sauce.

Vegan Stuffed Shells Without Ricotta: Don’t like ricotta? Try stuffing the shells with our whipped tahini feta or vegan goat cheese. Again, feel free to switch up the sauces too. Pesto might be nice here!

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Beyond Meat: Feel free to add some browned Beyond Beef or meatless sausage to this recipe! Just mix it in with the tofu ricotta.

Vegan Stuffed Shells No Tofu: Switch up the tofu ricotta for an almond or cashew-based version. There are lots of recipes out there, or you can use a store-bought version from brands like Forager and Kite Hill.

Head-on shot of a baking dish filled with freshly baked tofu ricotta stuffed shells with the front left corner scooped out onto a plate next to the dish

Substitution Options

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a varied degree of difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you! 

For the jumbo shells: Use gluten-free pasta shells to make gluten free vegan stuffed shells!

For the olive oil: Sub avocado oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil for the olive oil. You can also skip the oil and saute the spinach in some vegetable broth.

Wine options: Sub rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even white vinegar for the white wine.

For the spinach / basil: Feel free to sub all of one of these for the other, or switch it up with whatever greens you have in the fridge.

For the garlic: Feel free to sub minced shallots if garlic isn’t your thing. Or if you are using granulated garlic or garlic powder, 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder is said to equal one clove of garlic. If using jarred minced garlic, I’d use about 1 teaspoon per garlic clove.

Vegan mozzarella options: Skip the mozzarella cheese shreds or use diced vegan mozzarella slices / block.

For the miso paste: Sub vegan parmesan cheese for the miso paste.

Sauce Options: Feel free to sub your favorite pasta sauce in this recipe – creamy vegan garlic sauce, plant-based pesto, or dairy-free vodka sauce are all great options. So is the vegan bolognese from Botticelli!

In the bottom left corner, there is a round plate with three vegan stuffed shells and a fork. In the top right corner, there is the full baking dish of stuffed shells.

How to Make Vegan Stuffed Shells

These vegan stuffed shells are mostly assembly – which makes them the perfect dinner recipe to make with your partner, kids, or friends!

Step 1: Prep

Preheat your oven to 350F and spray a 9×13 casserole dish. If you haven’t done so already, cook and drain your pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Chop all vegetables as directed in the recipe card.

Step 2: Saute the spinach

Heat the olive oil and wine in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the salt and pepper and stir. Finally, add the spinach and stir to coat. Cook for another 1-3 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted.

Step 3: Make the filling

To a large bowl, add the contents of your saute pan, the vegan ricotta cheese, just 1 cup of the vegan mozzarella, miso, and Italian seasoning. Stir with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until totally combined.

Two overhead photos showing the process of sauteing spinach and mixing it with vegan ricotta for stuffed shells

Step 4: Assemble the shells

Spread 1.5 cups marinara in the bottom of the baking dish. Gently spoon the ricotta mixture into each shell and place in the sauced up dish, open side up. 

Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the shells and top with the remaining vegan mozzarella shreds. (Note: you can also use a piping bag for the ricotta if you want them to look even fancier.)

A grid with three side by side photos showing the layering process to make vegan stuffed shells: first a thin layer of tomato sauce, layer of stuffed shells, and more tomato sauce, dairy-free mozzarella shreds

Step 5: Assemble and bake

Cover the casserole dish and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered. Let sit outside the oven, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

A grid with three photos showing the progression of melting vegan mozzarella on top of baked vegan stuffed shells

Why are stuffed shells runny?

There could be a couple reasons your shells are runny. If you over-sauce or don’t bake the shells long enough to allow the sauce to thicken, they can come out runny. Also, if you’re using frozen spinach, the excess water would cause runny ricotta and shells.

How to Serve Vegan Jumbo Stuffed Shells

Serve the cooked shells hot, topped with minced fresh basil or fresh parsley. 

What goes with stuffed shells?

It’s the perfect main dish to go with:

How to Store Stuffed Large Shells Pasta

Store leftover vegan stuffed shells in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

How to Freeze Stuffed Shells

Allow the shells to cool fully before attempting to freeze. We like to put two or three in a freezer-safe bag or Souper Cubes container for individual portioning and an easy dinner. Frozen shells are best up to six weeks.

How to Reheat Stuffed Shells

Microwave frozen stuffed shells at 50% for about 3.5-4 minutes, then at 100% for 1.5-2 minutes until cooked through and warm.

Non frozen shells can be microwaved at full power for 2-3 minutes until warm.

Overhead shot of three vegan stuffed jumbo shells on a round plate sprinkled with fresh green herbs

I hope you and your whole family enjoy a steamy plate of these plant-based stuffed shells very soon! And when you do, I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks.

Leave a star rating and review on the recipe below; it helps more people find our recipes. Plus, we get such a kick out of hearing about your tasty dinner wins!

Now, go get that pasta water boiling. We’ll talk to you again soon!

Yield: 24 stuffed shells

Vegan Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Head on close up photo of a large spoon scooping a vegan stuffed shell out of a baking dish

These easy baked Vegan Stuffed Shells are a lightened-up version of the original that packs a ton of flavor and plant-based protein! They’re the perfect dairy-free dinner. Tender pasta shells are loaded with a blend of tofu ricotta and garlicky spinach then smothered in a flavorful pasta sauce before baking until bubbly! Top with fresh herbs for a dinner the whole family will love.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat your oven to 350F and spray a 9x13 casserole dish. If you haven’t already, cook and drain your pasta according to package directions. Chop all vegetables as directed above.
  2. Saute the spinach and basil: Heat the olive oil and wine in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the salt and pepper and stir. Finally, add the spinach and basil and stir to coat. Cook for another 1-3 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted.
  3. Make the filling: To a large mixing bowl, add the contents of your saute pan, vegan ricotta, just 1 cup of the vegan mozzarella, miso, and Italian seasoning. Stir with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until totally combined.
  4. Assemble the shells: Spread 1.5 cups marinara in the bottom of your casserole dish. Gently spoon the filling into each shell and place in the sauced up dish, open side up. Pour the rest of the marinara sauce over the shells and top with the remaining vegan mozzarella shreds.
  5. Finish and bake: Cover the casserole dish and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered. Let sit outside the oven, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve: Serve the stuffed shells hot topped with minced fresh parsley. It’s the perfect main dish to go with a side vegan Caesar salad or simple green salad with Italian dressing!
  7. Store: Store leftover vegan stuffed shells in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

3 stuffed shells

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 659Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 968mgCarbohydrates: 114gFiber: 10gSugar: 9gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

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2 Comments

    1. Hi, Annie! Just saute the basil with the spinach and add to the filling. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I'll be sure to clear it up ASAP. Have a great day, and can't wait to hear what you think of the shells!

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