Recipe of the Week: Spinach and Meatball Stuffed Shells
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t raised vegan. In fact, my parents didn’t even cook much when I was growing up, so delivery pizza and Chinese food were frequent guests at our dinner table.
One thing my parents did know how to cook though was stuffed shells. MAN, did we love some stuffed shells.
And so, in the spirit of reliving my childhood, I give you, cheesy spinach and veggie meatball stuffed shells!
What you need:
- 1 box of jumbo shell pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup parsley (fresh or pre-packaged)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, sliced and steamed
- 1/4 cup veggie broth
- 1 package of tofu (regular or herbed), cut into cubes
- 1 8-oz. tub of vegan cream cheese (available at health food stores)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 bag of fresh spinach, diced
- About 8 veggie meatballs, cut into halves and microwaved
- 2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I like roasted garlic)
- Italian seasoning, to taste
For garlic bread (optional):
- 2 slices of French bread
- A schmear of vegan margarine
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
OK, so this looks like a lot, but trust me, this recipe is even easier than getting Marta to sing “Jingle Bells.”
To start, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 375, and boil water for the pasta shells. Once the pasta is cooking, heat your olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, then add the parsley, the garlic, carrots, and veggie broth, simmering for about five minutes. Add the tofu, Italian seasoning, vegan cream cheese, and lemon juice all at once, and stir for five more minutes (or until the cream cheese melts). Add the nutritional yeast, spinach, and microwaved meatballs, stirring for a few minutes until you’ve got a nice mix.
By this point, your shells should be done, so drain ’em, and start stuffing ’em with the creamy mix. Place the stuffed shells into a baking dish (opening-side up), and then pour enough sauce over them to splash each shell. Make sure there’s sauce covering the whole bottom of the dish to really get the flavor in there, and top with Italian seasoning, as you see fit.
Put it all in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the shells start to get crispy. For the last 10 minutes, you can throw in the butter-and-garlic-topped bread slices on a baking sheet, so that your garlic bread is done at the same time.