Easy Vegan Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

December 13, 2019

Entree

By: Chris Petrellese 

Loaded with homemade tofu ricotta and spinach, and topped with vegan cheese and homemade marinara sauce, these Vegan Stuffed Shells are a holiday entree that everyone is going to love.

a close up shot of a vegan stuffed shells recipe with a scoop taken out of the baking dish

It’s the holiday season once again, and I am cooking up some of my family favorites. These Easy Vegan Stuffed Shells will not disappoint, I promise! Using our homemade tofu ricotta recipe, these stuffed shells taste just as good, if not better, than the stuffed shells I had growing up.

Process shot of vegan ricotta spinach stuffed shells with homemade marinara before baking by sweet simple vegan

Every Christmas, my aunt would bring a big tray of stuffed shells over for dinner and they would also be the star of the dining table. Veganizing this recipe is very near and dear to my heart, and I’m excited to say that these shells are spot on to how I remember them tasting as kid.

a close up shot of vegan ricotta spinach stuffed shells with homemade marinara after baking by sweet simple vegan

When it comes to the sauce to smother your shells with, you can either use our homemade marina sauce recipe or a store-bought version. If you’re looking to save a little bit of time, there are some delicious store-bought marinara sauces available, like Rao’s Homemade.

a overhead up shot of vegan ricotta spinach stuffed shells with homemade marinara in a white dish and blue towel after baking by sweet simple vegan

If you’re craving some more recipes similar to this one, we’ve got you covered.

Vegan ricotta stuffed shells being scooped out of a baking dish

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you recreate any of our recipes, we love to see your photos!

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a close up shot of vegan ricotta spinach stuffed shells with homemade marinara before baking by sweet simple vegan

Easy Vegan Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells


  • Author: Chris @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 (5 shell) servings

Description

Loaded with homemade tofu ricotta and spinach, and topped with vegan cheese and homemade marinara sauce, these Vegan Stuffed Shells are a holiday entree that everyone is going to love.


Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 7 oz. frozen baby spinach leaves
  • 1 recipe (16 oz.) of our vegan ricotta cheese (see notes)
  • 2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Additional Ingredients:

  • 2025 jumbo shells
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • Fresh chopped parsley and/or basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and have a large 9×13-inch baking dish ready. 
  2. Prepare the flax egg by mixing together the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and setting it aside for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
  3. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Once the pasta has cooked, strain and set aside.
  4. In the meantime, thaw the frozen spinach by placing it into a mesh strainer and running it under very warm water. Mix it around with your hands and break apart any icy chunks as needed. Once it has thawed, turn off water and use your hands to gently squeeze the water out. Alternatively, you can place the spinach in a large bowl and microwave it on high for 3 minutes. Remove it and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before using.
  5. Prepare the ricotta cheese if you have not already done so. To make the ricotta filling, add the ricotta to a large bowl along with the prepared flax egg, spinach, shredded vegan mozzarella, parsley, basil, onion powder, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix until uniform and set aside.
  6. Prepare the baking dish by pouring half of the pasta sauce into the bottom of it, spreading it evenly to all edges. The remaining sauce will be poured on top of the shells. Alternatively, you can pour all of the pasta sauce into the dish and then fill it with stuffed shells.
  7. To stuff the shells: there are two options. You can either fill it by hand with a spoon OR you can place the ricotta filling into a piping bag and pipe it into the shells, which is a bit easier and less messy. Either way works, your choice! Fill about 24 shells up with roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling, or as needed. You can always go back and add more filling to the shells if you have extra. Evenly arrange the shells in the baking dish. We were able to get 6 rows of 4 shells, but your results may vary depending on the size of your dish. 
  8. If you did not use all of the sauce, evenly top the shells with the remaining sauce. Then, sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of vegan mozzarella cheese on top. 
  9. Cover the baking dish with foil and place it into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, reduce the heat to 375°F and place it back into the oven uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until it is nice and melty. If you would like, you can broil the stuffed shells as well to further melt the cheese. Just be careful, it can burn easily!
  10. Remove the dish from the oven and top with freshly chopped parsley and/or basil. Serve warm.

Notes

  • The ricotta recipe calls for raw garlic which results in a very strong garlic flavor in the final dish. If you would like for the garlic to be a bit more mild, you can either mince and sauté the garlic prior to making the ricotta or you can just use 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder. 
  • If you are using store bought vegan ricotta cheese and it does not contain garlic, we recommend adding some (see above note). 
  • You can make these stuffed shells up to 24 hours in advance! Cover them and place into the refrigerator until ready to bake. Bake according to the directions in the recipe. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Reheat the stuffed shells in an oven safe dish in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Holiday
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian

Keywords: Vegan, Italian, Entree, Holiday, Pasta, Stuffed Shells

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Isaac says:

    I’ve been wanting to make something like this forever! I went ahead and made it last night on a whim. Thanks for the great recipe, my partner and I both LOVED it. 🙂

  2. Terri David says:

    I add chopped mushrooms as well.

  3. Michelle says:

    This recipe was awesome. We totally over-ate, but so worth it!

  4. Melissa says:

    These were amazing!! Shared them with my non-vegan loves and they didn’t even know they were vegan. ☺️ Nailed it on this one. This is one to bring for holiday dinners for sure. Thanks so much for posting.

  5. Asha says:

    I love these!
    I brought them to work and nobody believed they were vegan. I would double the filling next time to make more. The recipe as is didn’t quite fill my pan and I had extra shells left over.

  6. […] Try the recipe from Sweet Simple Vegan, here. […]

  7. Lori says:

    This is a regular in our house! Great for serving to guests as you can prepare ahead of time and put in over when it’s close to dinner time. Excellent leftovers too! Just made for friends and they loved it.

  8. sabrina says:

    made this tonight for the family and they loved it! We are new to the vegan diet but your blog has allowed us to cook creatively, I also found other vegan recipes if you’d like to check it out ? 🙂 ~ https://bit.ly/33RYRT2

  9. kayla says:

    love this recipe! made it for friends who aren’t vegan and they all enjoyed it!.. love your blog! what do you think about these vegan recipes? ~https://bit.ly/33RYRT2

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