Friday, February 22, 2013

Vegan "Cheese" Stuffed Shells

Organic jumbo pasta shells were on sale. As the mother of seven precious little monsters, I rarely pass up a good sale, so I grabbed a couple boxes, and shoved them into my pantry, thinking I'd dream up something to stuff them with, later.

"Later," it turns out, is about two months after purchase. No matter... These were divine!

Vegan "Cheese" Stuffed Shells

1 - 12 oz. package jumbo pasta shells

1 lb. extra firm tofu
Few splashes non-dairy milk
8 oz. vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese)
1 - 8 oz. package Daiya or other vegan cheese shreds
1 c. cashews
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. chipotle chili powder or other red pepper
Handful fresh basil
A can or jar of prepared pasta sauce (or make your own)

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, blend tofu and enough non-dairy milk to make smooth.

Add cream cheese, and process until well-blended and creamy, using a little bit more non-dairy milk, if needed.

Remove from blender and pour into a large mixing bowl.

In blender or food processor, pulse the vegan cheese shreds a few times to chop finely. Add to cream cheese mixture and stir well.

In a coffee grinder, blender or food processor, whiz the cashews into a fine powder. Add to cream cheese mixture and thoroughly mix.

Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder, black and red pepper and stir well.

Finely chop basil and add, giving the entire mixture one final, thorough stir.

Pour enough pasta sauce into a large casserole dish to lightly cover the bottom.

Using a pastry bag without a decorator's tip, or a plastic bag with the corner cut off, squeeze enough of the cheese mixture into each pasta shell to fill the inside.

Arrange the filled shells in the casserole dish and pour remaining sauce over the shells, smothering and covering them so they don't dry out while baking.

Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes, then enjoy!

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