I was trying to remember the last time I had enjoyed some traditional stuffed shells (pre-vegan) and couldn’t come up with anything! So, that meant it was time to make some, but vegan style this time. My boyfriend and I created this recipe together. He made the red sauce considering he has good Italian blood running through his veins. And I made the almond ricotta. We joined forces and wa-bam! My new favorite stuffed shells recipe.
Almond ricotta ingredients:
- 1 lb raw, peeled almonds
- enough water to cover and saturate almonds during soaking process
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 3 tsp salt
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp Bragg’s nutritional yeast
Almond ricotta directions: Soak the raw almonds in water for at least two hours; I typically soak mine overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a day or two hours, bring the almonds and water to a boil for 10 minutes. Let the almonds cool before blending. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. The almonds should blend into a paste-like substance. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Red sauce ingredients:
- 2 large cans tomato sauce
- 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 large cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, ribboned
- 4 cups water
Red sauce directions: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add your cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce and crushed tomato. Stir. Add the salt, sugar, oregano and basil to the sauce. Cook the sauce on medium heat, stirring every 15 minutes. After the first hour, blend the sauce with an immersion blender or in the blender until smooth. Return to cook on medium low heat for the rest of the cooking process. The longer the sauce cooks, the better it will be. Michael cooked this sauce for about 5 hours. He would add about a cup of water after every hour to ensure the sauce doesn’t cook down too much. Remember to stir the sauce every 15 minutes!
- 2 boxes large shells
- water to boil pasta
- 2 tsp salt
- large bowl of iced water
- Follow Your Heart Vegan Sliced Mozzarella (optional), cut into thin strips
- Follow Your Heart Vegan Shredded Parmesan
- fresh ribboned basil, to top
Stuffed shells directions: Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large soup pot, bring water and salt to a roaring boil. Add the shells and cook for half the recommended cooking time on the box. Drain the shells and add to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and deter pasta sticking. With a spoon, or your clean hands, stuff the pasta shells with the almond ricotta mixture. Add a light layer of red sauce to the bottom of a large casserole dish. Begin to line/arrange the stuffed shells in rows in the casserole dish. Once full, cover the shells with your preferred amount of red sauce. Top the sauce covered shells with a light layer of vegan parmesan and mozzarella. Add the ribboned basil as a final touch. Repeat this process of shell stuffing and saucing until the almond ricotta runs out. We had about 2 large casserole dishes and 1 small casserole dish full of stuffed shells. Bake your shells on 350°F for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove and let sit for about 15 minutes. Serve with extra sauce if desired. Enjoy these shells, we did for several days and have no regrets.