I know for most people, tofu is to be avoided. It has a weird texture without much inherent taste, and it’s made from soy. I never fell into that category of tofu haters – I’ve been a tofu lover since day 1. Stir fried, baked, even made into chocolate pie, I’ll eat tofu pretty much anyway you throw it at me. Josh is perhaps a little more normal and has long believed that tofu is weird, so I made it one of my life’s missions to change that.
The magical day his mind changed was a couple of years ago when I made tofu ricotta for the first time. The one thing he hated more than tofu was ricotta, so I knew at best it would be less disappointing for him than eating actual ricotta. To my surprise, he LOVED it. It adds a cheesy-type, ricotta-y texture, without being grainy like ricotta. It’s the perfect way to convert a tofu hater – no one would ever guess this is tofu.
Whether you’re looking to up your protein intake, reduce the calories, or eliminate cheese entirely, this is a great recipe. I blended in some spinach and mushrooms for good measure and topped the whole thing with some Daiya cheese (because Josh has an obsession with melty, melty Daiya). It all comes together relatively quickly and easily, but looks like something you put a lot of effort into. I’ve been totally unable to find whole wheat or gluten-free noodles (only regular, white noodles) – if whole wheat or gluten-free is important or necessary for you, use pre-cooked lasagna noodles and roll them up or even layer like lasagna.
Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Tofu Ricotta
Author: Kelly Hutchinson
12 oz jumbo pasta shells (see note)
12 oz extra firm tofu (regular, light, or sprouted)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp onion powder
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (can use Parmesan if not making vegan)
1 c spinach, tightly packed
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp. water, divided
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
Optional: ½ c vegan mozzarella cheese, like Daiya (or regular cheese)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a large casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions (there should be directions for pre-baked, otherwise remove approximately ¼ of the full cooking time). Once cooked, strain and lay out on a baking sheet to cool.
Meanwhile, drain the tofu package. Cover the tofu in paper towel and give a good squeeze to remove extra liquid.
In a food processor combine the tofu, lemon juice, seasonings, nutritional yeast, spinach, and mushrooms. Pulse until the tofu is crumbly and resembles ricotta, adding 1 or 2 tbsp. of water if the mixture looks very dry. (If you don’t have a food processor: crumble tofu with your hands, finely chop spinach and mushrooms, and stir everything together).
Pour about ½ of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish. Stir in 2 tbsp. of water. Stuff shells using a spoon and place, open side up, in the dish. Some of the shells will be broken, which is okay – you likely won’t use all of the shells.
Top the shells with remaining sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with optional cheese and bake until melty.
If you prefer/need whole wheat or gluten-free noodles and can’t find jumbo shells, use lasagna noodles. Spread tofu mixture onto cooked noodles and roll up, covering with sauce like you would shells.