Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells with dairy-free Spinach Cream and Homemade Tomato Sauce – This recipe is incredibly delicious, vegan, healthy, and super easy to make! It makes the perfect lunch or dinner that is also ideal for meal-prep to make ahead!
Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells with Spinach Cream
Creamy, healthy and so delicious! This Vegan Stuffed Shells with Spinach Cream is the ultimate comfort food recipe! If you want to try a new dish that’s easy to make using only a few simple pantry staple ingredients, then you should try this one! This dish is made of pasta shells that are filled with a mixture of fresh steamed spinach, dairy-free cream cheese, roasted garlic, and onions, then placed on top of homemade tomato sauce and baked to flavorful golden perfection. I used organic wheat pasta shells here but you can also use gluten-free pasta shells if you’re a gluten-free eater. And if you do not have pasta shells handy, you can also use cannelloni or other pasta shapes that you can stuff with veggie fillings.
Healthy dairy-free Spinach Cream Filling
Roasted onions and garlic add amazing tasty flavors to the spinach cream filling of these vegan pasta shells! To make the stuffing, simply steam fresh spinach until wilted, first. Then drain and squeeze out excess water with your hands before chopping roughly with a knife. In the meantime, fry chopped onions and garlic. Next, mix everything together with the vegan cream cheese or homemade cashew ricotta. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice as desired (or other seasonings of choice) to taste. And that’s it! If you don’t have fresh spinach, you can use frozen spinach, of course. Simply thaw and squeeze out any excess liquid before mixing with the roasted onions and garlic – no need to cook the spinach!
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Flavorful Tomato Sauce
The sauce is very important when making a pasta bake because it gives the pasta moisture so it doesn’t dry out. My absolute favorite sauce is a simple classic tomato sauce. Not only because this sauce is so delicious but tomatoes are also healthy and rich in antioxidants. I usually prefer making my own tomato sauce, but feel free to use a store-bought tomato sauce. My homemade tomato sauce recipe is super simple, low-fat, and a perfect addition to the spinach cream filling. It’s one of my most popular basic recipes and ready in just 5 minutes!
Perfect for Meal-Prep
These Vegan Stuffed Shells are ideal for meal prepping! To keep this recipe easier, I prefer cooking the pasta shells in advance (for example in the morning or the night before). Then you only need to combine all ingredients for the filling and fill your shells. If you’re short on time, you could also make the filling in advance, so the entire dish will be ready to bake, when lunch or dinner comes around. I mean nothing’s better than coming home after a long day at work and there’s no need to worry about making dinner anymore, right?
If you’ll have any leftovers, you can store them covered in the fridge and reheat them in the microwave the next day. Spooning some extra tomato sauce on top helps to keep your vegan stuffed pasta shells fresh.
These Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells are:
- Dairy-free (Lactose-free)
- Plant-based ’cause they’re vegan!
- Ideal for meal-prep to make ahead
- The perfect vegan lunch or dinner!
Vegan Stuffed Shells with different Fillings
A creamy spinach filling is definitely my favorite stuffing of all existing fillings. That’s why I love to add this combination to different recipes, such as my Dumplings, Empanadas, Croquettes, Spinach Wraps, and more. However, if you prefer to add other vegetables, cheese, cream or sauces, and different flavors, feel free to get creative here! You can vary the filling and sauce to your preferences, for example by using a squash filling or mushroom stuffing. That’s why I love recipes that are so versatile! Are you with me?
More Vegan Casserole Recipes to try:
- Lentil and Zucchini Lasagna
- Broccoli Mac and Cheese Pasta Bake
- Vegan Enchiladas with Beans
- Mexican Tortilla Casserole
- Vegan Potato Bake (Creamy Potatoes au Gratin)
- Vegan Moussaka with Cashew Bechamel
- Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils
If you try this vegan stuffed pasta shells recipe, please leave a comment and rating on how you liked this casserole dish! And if you take a photo of your pasta bake and share it on Instagram, please tag me with @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love to see your remakes! Enjoy!
Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells with Spinach CreamAuthor:
- 7 oz (200 g) jumbo pasta shells gluten-free, as needed
Tomato Sauce* (or sub store-bought marinara sauce):
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1x14 oz can (400 ml) tomato passata or chopped tomatoes or a mixture of both
- 1 tsp dried oregano optional
- salt, pepper to taste
Spinach Cream Filling:
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 14 oz (400 g) fresh spinach
- ⅔ cup (150 g) dairy-free cream cheese or homemade cashew-ricotta*
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 splash of lemon juice optional
- 3-4 tbsp (3 tbsp) vegan parmesan cheese optional
*Note: Please watch the recipe video for visual instruction!
- Cook the pasta shells according to the packaging instructions until 'al dente'. Then drain and set aside. (Toss with a little olive oil as needed to prevent the pasta from sticking together).
- Sauté the onions in a skillet with a bit of hot oil for approx. 3 minutes until translucent and lightly browned. Then add the garlic and sauté for a further minute. (You can also sauté the onions + garlic, both for the filling and sauce at the same time as shown in the recipe video, then remove half of the mixture and set aside to use for the spinach cream later).
- Next, stir in the tomato paste and tomato passata. Add oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Then fill the tomato sauce in a casserole dish, so the bottom is covered. (Meal prep: or fill the sauce into a sealed jar and keep in the fridge until ready to use).
Spinach Cream Filling:
- Rinse the spinach and add to a large pan while it's still a bit wet. Sauté for 2 minutes or until wilted. Then transfer to a fine-meshed sieve and squeeze out any excess water. (You should end up with about 1 ½ cups of sautéed spinach.)
- In the meantime, sauté onions and garlic until translucent and lightly browned (or use the reserved onion-garlic mixture if you've sautéed it before).
- Chop the spinach roughly using a sharp knife. Then add to a bowl along with dairy-free cream cheese (or cashew ricotta) and sautéed onions-garlic mixture. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice as desired to taste.
- Spoon the spinach cream mixture into the cooked pasta shells.
- Place the stuffed shells on top of the tomato sauce in the casserole dish. Optionally, sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese or shredded dairy-free cheese.
- Bake for approx. 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 355°F (180°C).
- Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe was first published on 09/09/18.
- Store leftovers covered in the fridge or freeze for longer storage. Spooning some extra tomato sauce on top helps to keep the pasta fresh.
- If you’re short on time, you can simply use store-bought tomato sauce instead.
- To make your own vegan cream cheese check out this recipe -> "Cashew-Ricotta".
- For more information and tips read the article above!
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