I will admit when I first read this recipe from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows I was skeptical. I didn’t think that stuffed shells could possibly be palatable without even a smidgen of cheese. I decided to bookmark the recipe anyways because I am always looking for something new to try. I also loved the idea of making the “cheese” out of tofu which would add a ton of belly filling protein.
The recipe stayed in my bookmarks for months. Then. . .
My sister has a lot of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which include food sensitivities to things such as dairy. Whenever she experiences an increase in her reaction to certain food items I try to be careful about eliminating them from our meals. I thought this recipe would be a great way for her to get some extra protein and nutrients without the addition of excessive dairy.
Still, the tofu filling might be healthy but would it taste good?
The answer is yes.
These stuffed shells taste like the real deal. They are cheesy and rich with a nice kick and body from the fresh herbs, onion and celery.
No one will ever be the wiser.
In fact, I didn’t even tell my dad (and he still doesn’t know) what they were made of and he scarfed them down and declare them “really good.” I decided what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him 🙂 .
Jumbo Stuffed Shells (from Oh She Glows)
Yield: approx. 30 shells or 6 servings
- 3.5 cups pasta sauce
- 340 grams jumbo pasta shells (I used 30 shells or 2/3 of the box – but make extra as some break)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, minced
- 1 (14oz) package extra-firm or firm tofu, pressed
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4-1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Rinse block of tofu and wrap with paper towels followed by 2-3 tea towels. Place it on a cutting board or plate and add several heavy cookbooks on top. Press tofu for about 20-25 minutes to drain out the water. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press.
2. Grease a very large casserole dish. I used about 30 shells, but you’ll need to cook more than that as some shells will break during the cooking process. Cook shells in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 8-11 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain shells and set aside to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. For the tofu ricotta: In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped celery, basil, and parsley and sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Feel free to throw in some spinach for extra greens.
4. For the tofu, you can either crumble it into the skillet with your hands or you can give it a whirl in the food processor and then stir it into the skillet. If you use the processor, the texture will be very creamy like ricotta cheese and if you crumble it with your hands it will be more chunky/crumbly. It’s up to you how you want to make it. I usually opt to crumble it by hand so I don’t dirty the processor. Stir in the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon, and cayenne all to taste. Over medium heat, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until most of the water cooks off.
5. Spoon about 1 cup of marinara sauce into the casserole dish and spread around. Add about 2 tbsp of tofu ricotta into each stuffed shell and place shells on top of marinara sauce. Cover shells with the remaining 2-2.5 cups marinara sauce and any leftover tofu ricotta. You can add vegan cheese on top, but I don’t bother. Cover dish with tin foil and poke several air holes. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until heated throughout. Serve with a basic green salad and garlic bread, if desired.
I love oatmeal for breakfast (an opinion I have expressed more than once: here, here (my favorite) and here). It is so filling and keeps me satiated much longer than any other breakfasts I have tried. Then, I threw together this breakfast on a whim yesterday morning.
It was one of those mornings that you feel like breaking out of your usual breakfast rut. The birds were singing the air was warm–too warm for a hot bowl of oatmeal. I was craving something a little more savory.
I opened the fridge.
I spied some tortillas and started to think of different breakfast options that utilized said tortillas. Eventually, I settled on a mix of a breakfast taco and a tostada and the Mexican Breakfast Pizza was born.
Quick High-Protein Mexican Breakfast Pizza (serves 1)
1 large whole-wheat tortilla (I used La Tortilla Factory’s low-carb tortillas)
1/4 cup of black beans
2 tbsp of Greek yogurt
1 egg (scrambled or fried)
4-5 cherry tomatoes (chopped)
1/4 of an avocado (chopped)
optional toppings: light sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro
Heat the tortilla in a large non-stick pan until firm and crispy. Meanwhile, in a separate non-stick pan cook egg as desired. Warm the black beans in a microwave for 15 seconds. Mash the black beans with the Greek yogurt (you can add a sprinkle of any seasoning you like here such as cumin, chili powder, garlic powder etc). Spread black bean mixture over tortilla “crust” and top with egg, chopped cherry tomatoes and avocado. Add a dash of hot sauce or any other toppings you desire. Cut into wedges and eat!
Delicious and filling! A new favorite for the 2 days a year I don’t wake up craving oatmeal for breakfast 😉
In a little less than a month I will be graduating from the Ohio State University with an undergraduate degree in Dietetics. This degree is required in order for me take the next step in my career goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). The next step involves completing a year-long internship that consists of rotations through a variety of healthy care settings that an R.D. might work in. These settings include community, clinical and food service management facilities. However, in order to participate in this internship there is a rigorous matching process that involves the potential intern ranking and applying to several different schools in hopes of “matching” to one of them. So, for the past 4 months I have been working on submitting applications and ranking my chosen schools and then I have had to wait until yesterday evening at 7 pm to find out if I potentially matched to one of my schools of choice.
Yesterday, was the slowest day in the history of the planet. At exactly 7 pm I excitedly logged on to the matching site–only to discover that the server was overloaded from everyone else being excited to see their potential matches as well! So an excruciating hour passed while I lay on the kitchen floor and tried not to hyperventilate.
Finally, my match came up and I had matched to Bowling Green State University’s distance dietetics program. I was so excited and relieved. Becoming an R.D. seems so much more tangible now that I am matched. I know that it is going to be a huge process by I am very ready to take this next step in my career.
(I know you can’t read it but it essentially says that you have been matched to Bowling Green State University)
In other news, every year my father and I go out to breakfast for my birthday. This year I decided to re-visit one of my favorite breakfast places in downtown Columbus called Tasi Cafe. I love this place! It has such a nice vibe and the food is always delicious.
I ordered the poached eggs over black bean cakes. So good that it made me want to recreate this combination at home! The black bean cakes had a delicious spice to them that was tempered by the silky neutral tasting egg yolks. I can’t wait to go back again. Maybe for lunch next time? Some of their sandwiches looked so good that I wanted to order them for breakfast!
Looks a little like summer doesn’t it (only minus the perfectly sweet tomato slices because mine was mealy. . . oh well)
This recipes comes from Mama Pea whose had her recipes being posted all over blogosphere today with the release of her new recipe book. I actually just finished reading her first book and really enjoyed her recipes. She has a talent for making the flavors of healthy food accessible to not just adults but children as well (she probably gets lots of practice considering she has two young daughters herself).
It’s funny because I was actually planning on making one of her recipes that I have made a variation of a number of times tonight for dinner. It is your basic quinoa dressed up with sunny mediterranean flavors. I love it because it is super simple, takes about 20 minutes and can be served with hummus (always a plus in my book).
I served ours warm because, even though it is suppose to be spring in Ohio, the weather is still clinging to the last cool gray days of winter.
The quinoa tasted sort of like the summer that lies ahead (only better 🙂 ).
Mama Pea’s Greek Spinach Quinoa (Makes 6 servings)
- 1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 c. vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 c. baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 c. crumbled feta
- 1/3 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 c. Kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 t. dried parsley
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- optional garnishes: baked pita chips, hummus, Greek yogurt, vegetable crudités
Place a medium pot over medium high heat. Add quinoa and dry toast for several minutes, until grains are starting to brown. Add stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy.
Add spinach, cheese, tomatoes, olives, oregano, parsley and vinegar and continue to heat until spinach starts to wilt and cheese has melted.
Serve hot or cold with desired garnishes or as part of a mezza platter.
Can you tell I like my food from my pictures? I don’t “style” my food per se like some bloggers do because I am always in a hurry to eat it! Yes, I eat everything I post :). Just sort of a disclaimer.
I served our quinoa with a dollop of greek yogurt, sliced onion roast beef from Whole Foods, spicy hummus, whole-wheat pita, kalamata olives and cucumber (not in season but it completed the theme somewhat). It was a nice combination but I think a piece of white fish or chicken might pair better with the quinoa.
I am definitely going to save this recipe for summer and serve it chilled with fresh veggies and hummus. I am looking forward to it already. 3 more weeks left of school for me (can you tell it is on my mind?)