foodie fridays: vegan stuffed shells
Let’s play pretend.
Of course you do.
Let’s pretend that you’re strolling down the street on a hot summer day wearing a white cotton Anthropologie tee to cover up your lobster-esque shoulders, while secretly listening to Justin Bieber on your iPod. You begin humming, “Baby, Baby, Ohhhh Baby,” while swinging your hips to and fro.
The Bieber keeps crooning and your heart begins to beat faster. Next thing you know, you’re pumping your fist in the air…“Oh, Baby, Baby, Baby” and Bieber Fever has taken a hold of you and you can’t help but dance! Then, suddenly, with a single wave of your sweaty hand, your iPod launches into the air and lands in the nearby bushes.
You sigh, wipe the sweat from your brow, pull the ear buds out of your ear, and stomp towards the bushes. Where in the dickens could my iPod be? You separate the limbs of the bushes, searching for your Bieber-machine. Suddenly, you grasp an object and pull out what appears to be a bronze lamp. “What the heck is this?”
An inscription is etched on the lamp. You begin to rub it slowly. The lamp starts to shake, smoke begins to appear, and POOF! a Justin Bieber genie whooshes forth from the lamp!
See, isn’t it fun to pretend?
Ya’ll know what happens when the genie appears so I thought I might skip to the part and ask you what your three wishes would be…
– Free Anthropolgie tops, skirts, and purses?
– Sing like Adele?
– Eat an obscene amount of yummy stuffed shells and never gain a pound?
What if I told you that I could make one of these wishes come true?
Oh, yeah. I am that good.
I found this recipe the other day because I was in the mood for something comforting. Stuffed shells scream comfort food in every direction. Well, I was surprised to find this recipe version on the lighter side. Hmm. Interesting.
I made my way through the recipe noticing that there was no ricotta, meat, or mozzarella. Weird. I was a little perplexed. As I boiled the shells, combined the filling, stuffed the shells, and baked the suckers, I had no idea I was in for such a treat.
People, make this dish. No really. Make this dish right meow.
Your boyfriend, husband, significant other will never know that this is a vegan dish. It packs a whole lotta flavor without losing it’s lustrous comfort feel.
Now, what about those other two wishes…
Vegan Stuffed Shells
(from Eat Live Run)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup fresh basil
16 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 box jumbo shells
1 1/2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce (*I recommend Newmans!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain tofu and pat dry with paper towels to get rid of any moisture. Place tofu in food processor along with olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic, 1/2 basil, and nutritional yeast. Process until smooth. Add spinach to the tofu mixture and stir to combine.
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook shells until al dente. Remove from saucepan when finished and drain.
In the bottom of a deep casserole dish, pour about 1/2 cup pasta sauce into the bottom, creating a nice saucy bottom. Take the shells and fill each one with about 2 tablespoons of tofu/spinach filling. Place them seam side down in the pan and repeat until all the little shells are full.
Pour the remaining yummy pasta sauce over shells, top with 1/2 cup basil, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve along with a glass of red wine!