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Partially eaten stuffed shells and cauliflower ricotta

Vegan Stuffed Shells With Cauliflower Ricotta

Protein packed Italian food filled with hidden veggies? Yes please! These vegan stuffed shells with cauliflower ricotta won't let you down.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 511kcal
Author Sophia DeSantis


  • 20 jumbo shells
  • 1 cup raw cauliflower (cut into small enough pieces to fill the cup)
  • ½ cup raw cashews (see note)
  • ½ cup raw almonds (see note)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk (or use low sugar Silk Protein Nutmilk for a higher protein meal)
  • ½ cup veggie broth , low sodium if needed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

Roasted Tomato Sauce:

  • 8 cloves garlic , chopped
  • 19 tablespoons veggie broth , low sodium if needed (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons, see note)
  • 56 ounces diced fire roasted tomatoes (two 28 ounce cans)
  • 1 cup fresh basil , chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (not needed if tomatoes have salt)

Almond Cashew Parmesan:


  • Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
  • Cook shells to al dente texture, according to package directions. I cooked mine for about 6 minutes.

Make the roasted tomato sauce:

  • Add the chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of veggie broth (or you can use a drizzle of oil) and sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Then add the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat down to medium-low. Allow to simmer while preparing the rest of the meal.

Make almond cashew Parmesan:

  • Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until you get a crumbled Parmesan like texture.

make ricotta filling

  • Blend cauliflower, cashews, almonds, nutmilk, broth, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Keep blending until you get a ricotta like texture.
  •  Add in spinach and pulse to incorporate.

Assemble shells:

  • When the shells are done, rinse with cold water so they aren’t too hot to handle. 
  • Put 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish. 
  • Stuff each shell with 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons of filling and place side by side in the baking dish. 
  • Drizzle the rest of the tomato sauce on top, then sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan.
  • Bake covered for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. 
  • Allow to set about 5-10 minutes after baking. Serve while still nice and warm!


  • Recipe makes 20 shells, servings size is 4 shells.
  • Because you are not looking for a perfectly smooth texture, and because you are baking this dish, you do not need to soak your nuts. I did not. However if you want a smoother ricotta you can.
  • You can also use a drizzle of oil instead of the 2 tablespoons of veggie broth to sauté the garlic.
  • If you want to use the ricotta as a topping for something, use less liquid to make it thicker and more stable. Start with only a few tablespoons of each liquid and add more to get the texture you like.
Tips to prep ahead:
  • Make ricotta, tomato sauce and parmesan.
Baby/kid food idea:
  • Serve ricotta filling with very cooked mushed pasta shells, make sure ricotta is pureed well. Simply cut into small pieces for older baby.


Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 521mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2117IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 222mg | Iron: 6mg