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Recipe 'Ricotta' & Spinach Pasta Shells Baked in Tomato Sauce

A rich, decadent, moreish dish that gets Nonna's stamp of approval -- so perfectly flavoured she won't even notice it's entirely plant-based and packed with protein!

You will need

Serves 4

Pasta shells

  • 25 x jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or sub water)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 400g firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheese or cream cheese (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste

Pasta sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or sub water)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 x 400g can tomatoes, crushed or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme

To top

  • Additional vegan cheese or cream cheese
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Herbs e.g. basil, sage

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Directions

30 mins to prep

40 mins to cook

  1. Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  2. Step 2

    Cook the pasta according to its packet instructions, making sure the shells are only al dente.

  3. Step 3

    To prepare the shell filling, heat the oil in a large fry pan over high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and spinach and sauté for 2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.

  4. Step 4

    Add the spinach mixture to a food processor with the tofu, nutritional yeast, vegan cheese (if using), salt and pepper. Process until it turns into a chunky paste. Set aside.

  5. Step 5

    To make the pasta sauce, heat the oil in a large fry pan over high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, oregano and thyme. Cook for 1 minute until all the ingredients are combined.

  6. Step 6

    Pour half of the tomato sauce into a large casserole dish.

  7. Step 7

    Carefully fill each pasta shell with the tofu spinach mixture. Place the shells in the casserole dish on the tomato sauce. Cover the pasta shells with the remaining sauce. If desired, crumble some vegan cheese, cherry tomatoes and herbs on top.

  8. Step 8

    Lightly cover the pasta shells and bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbling. Serve immediately.