Sunday, January 2, 2011

Vegan Stuffed Shells

I have been making this recipe since college.  It is my absolute most favorite thing I make and whenever I bring it to a potluck, no one even knows it's vegan!

I got the original recipe from my mom, but over the years I've tried several variations in order to modify it and make it my own.  Today, I think I mastered it.  I swear this is the best Vegan Stuffed Shells dish I've made so far.  As I stuffed my face with shells and proclaimed how amazing they were (a bit proudly if I do say so myself), I looked at W.  He was just casually taking little bites here and there and not really looking like he was eating the most delicious thing in the world!

"Aren't these the best stuffed shells I've made?"  I asked him.
"Mmm-hmm... but I think they all taste good!"  He answered.  Not exactly the whole-hearted agreement I was looking for, but he did go back for seconds.  That counts for something.

This is what I did.  Try it this way or make your own variation.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

1 box of jumbo stuffed shells
1 can of tomato sauce
1/2 can of diced stewed tomatoes
1 package of medium-firm tofu, finely crumbled
1 package of Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes in oil
Half an onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups of frozen spinach

Add seasonings to the tofu mixture -- like salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and any other spices you might like.  Today I added a little bit of garlic powder and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes.

How to put it all together:
Cook the spinach in boiling water for only 3 minutes, just so it's thawed.  Let it drain while you make the tofu mixture
Cook the jumbo shells al dente.
Meanwhile, combine the stewed diced tomatoes, tofu, 3/4 package Daiya cheese, sundried tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil leaves.  Mix together well, adding seasonings and spices to taste.  Add spinach and mix all together.
Drain shells and run cold water over them so they aren't hot to touch.
Spread a generous layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Safe 1/4 can.
Take a shell, one at a time, and stuff a spoonful of tofu mixture into each one.  Line them up in the layer of tomato sauce in the casserole dish until the dish is full!  Carefully spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle the last of the cheese on top of the whole thing.
Put it in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Take it out, let it cool for about five minutes and then pig out.  It is THAT good.  I just ate some leftovers while I was writing this because my mouth was watering again.

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