Dairy-Free Stuffed Shells with Spinach in Nellino's Sauce
This recipe is a healthy twist on the classic Italian dish, Conchiglie ripiene, or "Stuffed Shells." As you can see on the label, Nello’s Sauce is vegan, so I wanted to do a recipe that showcases this. However, you can always substitute ricotta cheese to make the dish more traditional and leave out the nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast gives the tofu a cheesy flavor. You can find it in the bulk bins at your local natural foods supermarket. This recipe is adapted from Jenna Weber's found on the PBS Food Blog.
Note: Pictured are two small jars of Nellino's Marinara. You may also use 3/4 of a single large jar. You'll need olive oil (not pictured), about 2 tbsp. Also, get as much water as you can out of the tofu by wrapping it in a towel and placing a heavy object (like a book) on top for 15 minutes.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and by cooking the jumbo shells according to the package directions in boiling water with a pinch of salt. Sauté the onion in olive oil until browned. Drain the shells and let them cool while you prepare the "ricotta" mixture. Use your hands to break apart the tofu into the food processor.
Add the salt, garlic, nutritional yeast, oregano, olive oil, and onion, and pulse until combined--don’t liquefy. Next, add the defrosted spinach to the food processor and combine until almost smooth, you will recognize the ricotta texture!
Pour about half of a small jar of Nellino’s (or 1/4 of a large jar) into the bottom of a pan (at least 9 x 13)
Using your thumb to open the shell, stuff each with about 2 tbsp of the filling.
Close the shell and place seam side down into the pan.
Finish stuffing as many shells as you can fit into the pan (we always "lose" some to a quick dip into the remaining sauce!). Top with a full small jar of Nellino’s (or half of a large jar).
Carefully spread the sauce evenly over the shells.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Buon appetito!