This show stopping dish is a from-scratch, homemade plant based ricotta with wilted spinach stuffed inside jumbo pasta shells or ‘conchiglioni’ whilst surrounded in a rich tomato sauce, then baked to crispy edge perfection. Ideal for hosting dinner parties. You can prep all elements of the dish earlier on and then bake it to heat through and serve.
What ingredients do I need to make these plant based ‘ricotta’ and spinach stuffed pasta shells?
Gluten Free Conchiglioni: these are jumbo pasta shells, if you’re not gluten free you can use regular ones
Tomato passata: pureed tomatoes from a jar or carton
Coconut sugar: to sweeten the acidic tomato passata
Mixed herbs or oregano: to add a herby italian finish to the tomato sauce
Extra firm tofu: this is a low FODMAP option that’s made with fermented soy bean curd – ensure you get extra firm tofu for the optimum ‘ricotta’ texture
Nutritional yeast: adds a cheesy finish
Lemon juice: balances the ricotta with a slight tang
White miso paste: adds an umami touch
Maple syrup: actually helps to balance all the flavours of the ricotta
Salt: to bring out the flavours
Blanched almonds: these are pre-soaked overnight immersed in warm water with 1 tsp salt. If you don’t have time, then begin the recipe by soaking the almonds in hot water for ideally 30 minutes. (PS. You can make this nut free with extra tofu)
Fresh spinach: using fresh spinach leaves only, not the chewy stalks
Optional garnishes: fresh chopped basil, pine nuts and vegan parmesan
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the grey recipe card at the bottom of the page
Is this low FODMAP suitable?
This recipe is low FODMAP according to Monash and was developed for Bay’s Kitchen using their low FODMAP tomato sauce. Please note their sauce contains alliums if you’re allium free, so opt for the tomato sauce recipe on here if you’re avoiding onion, garlic or alliums.
Is this recipe nut free?
There is a nut free option for this recipe, just omit the blanched almonds and add extra tofu.
How To Make:
Soak your almonds overnight or for ~30 minutes in boiling water, then drain.
Pat dry the tofu to remove excess moisture.
Pop the ricotta ingredients (not the spinach) into a blender or food processor and pulse until a thick hummus consistency forms.
Heat the spinach in a frying pan with a splash of water to wilt it, drain excess liquid and fold into the ricotta mixture.
Boil the pasta shells according to instructions for al dente, then drain.
Mix the tomato sauce with the coconut sugar and mixed herbs or oregano.
Transfer the drained pasta shells to the dish and use a spoon or batter scoop to evenly distribute the mixture into the shells.
Sprinkle with garnishes (optional), then bake to heat through, and serve.
How To Store:
Store in the fridge in an airtight container and heat through fully before eating. If you want to prepare before serving, make it up until baking and cover with cling film and store in the fridge for 2-3 days, then bake to heat through and enjoy.
Vegan Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- 250 grams gluten free conchiglioni jumbo pasta shells
- 500 ml tomato passata
- 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp mixed herbs or oregano
- 500 grams extra firm tofu or 550g if making this nut free
- 48 grams blanched almonds soaked in boiling water with 1 tsp salt for 30 minutes or overnight, then drained
- 120 grams fresh spinach leaves only, stalks removed
- 60 ml fresh lemon juice
- 3 tsp white miso paste
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 basil leaves roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp plant based parmesan grated
- Ensure you’ve soaked your almonds the night before. If you haven’t been able to, pour boiling water over the almonds and soak for 30 minutes (then drain before use).
- Wrap some kitchen paper and press lightly around the block of tofu to remove any excess moisture. Pour the almonds (drained), extra firm tofu, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, salt, miso paste and lemon juice into a blender or food processor and pulse until mostly smooth (it will be a thick slightly lumpy consistency that looks a little like hummus). Tip: pour the ingredients in the order listed.
- Pick any leaves off the spinach, then in a frying pan with 1-2 tbsps water over a mid-low heat for a few minutes wilt the spinach, strain excess liquid and then fold it into the ricotta mixture
- Space out the dry shells in your oven dish to ensure there are enough pasta shells for your dish (better to have a few extra as a few may break). Approx 250g should be enough but you may want a little extra to account for breakages.
- Bring a large saucepan to the boil and cook the Conchiglioni (jumbo pasta shells) according to the instructions. To avoid the shells sticking you may want to add 1 tbsp olive oil to the boiling water. Drain with a little water remaining in the pan to stop them sticking and let them cool for a few minutes before you handle them. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan).
- Pour ~2cm thick of tomato passata into one large oven dish (approx 35cm x 25cm) or two smaller dishes. Mix through the coconut sugar, mixed herbs or oregano and salt to taste and stir with a spoon. Add the shells to fill the dish and scoop in the ‘ricotta’ a medium batter cream scoop or using two teaspoons. Sprinkle fresh basil, pine nuts and vegan parmesan on top.
- Bake at 180°C (fan assisted) for 10-12 minutes or until the dish is warmed through, the ricotta begins to become very slightly golden and the tomato sauce is bubbling.
- Serve immediately. If not eating immediately, prepare up to step 6 and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze and thaw before baking.
If you want to prepare this before serving, make it up until baking (step 6) and cover with cling film and store in the fridge for 2-3 days, then bake to heat through fully and enjoy.
if nut free, sub the blanched almonds for add an additional 50g extra firm tofu (using a total of 550g tofu)