I don’t know why but there’s something about foods that are “wrapped” that are just so satisfying and irresistible: all dumplings, from the Asian variety to pierogis to samosas, and wraps like spring rolls, summer rolls, burritos, tacos, falafel pitas. To that I would add Italian inventions like tortellini, ravioli, calzone, and even stuffed shells (Conchiglie), which are so homey and comforting. These baked shells are veganized with a filling of savory cashew-tofu ricotta and sauteed Swiss chard. You could also substitute the chard with kale or spinach, which would give a milder flavor.
Vegan Baked Shells with Cashew Tofu Ricotta and Swiss Chard
About 12 large shells, boiled for 9 minutes and drained
1/2 bottle organic marinara sauce (I used Newman’s organic mushroom marinara)
1/2 block firm tofu
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours and up to a day
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
about 4-5 medium leaves of Swiss chard, rainbow chard, or Tuscan kale (or equivalent amount of spinach), chopped fine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 basil leaves for garnish
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, mix the tofu, nutritional yeast and garlic powder, using a fork or a wooden spoon to mash the tofu.
3. Drain the cashews, and blend them in a food processor or a blender until it turns into the consistency of a tapenade.
4. Add the cashew to the tofu mixture and stir well. Salt and pepper generously.
5. Heat oil in a saute pan and add the minced garlic. Cook for about thirty seconds or until fragrant. Add the chard, some salt, and cook for another four minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat and add the greens to the tofu mixture, and stir well.
6. Line a baking dish with about 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Stuff each shell carefully with the tofu-cashew-chard mixture, and place in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Garnish with slivers of basil leaves, and serve warm. Eat and feel happy.