Lactose-Free Veggie-Stuffed Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 35 min.
The secret to creamy vegan stuffed shells? Crumbled tofu!

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

The comfort factor of creamy baked pastas is unbeatable. But there’s no reason why comfort food can’t be packed with veggies and protein too! These vegan stuffed shells are quite literally packed with vegetables! Traditional stuffed shells have ricotta—and often other cheeses—in the filling. For this plant-based version, we turn to the creamy, crumbly texture of tofu as a tasty substitute.

Ingredients for Vegan Stuffed Shells

How To Make Vegan Stuffed ShellsTMB Studio

  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Silken extra-firm tofu
  • Lemon juice
  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Jarred meatless pasta sauce


Step 1: Boil the shells

How To Make Vegan Stuffed ShellsTMB Studio

To start, preheat the oven to 375°F, so that it’s hot once the pasta is stuffed and ready to bake. Next, cook the shells according to package directions until al dente. Be sure to salt the cooking water, as this is your only chance to season the pasta itself.

Step 2: Cook the vegetables

How To Make Vegan Stuffed ShellsTMB Studio

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Step 3: Finish the filling

How To Make Vegan Stuffed ShellsTMB Studio
In a large bowl, mash the tofu with the lemon juice. Then stir in the spinach, basil, salt and pepper. Add the tofu mixture to the skillet and cook for a few minutes, just until heated through.
Editor’s Tip: To get as much moisture out of the thawed spinach as possible, wring it in a clean kitchen towel.

Step 4: Stuff the shells

How To Make Vegan Stuffed ShellsTMB Studio
Spread 1 cup of pasta sauce across the bottom of a greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish. Stuff each shell with some of the filling and arrange the shells in the baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the shells. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes longer. If desired, top with more basil before serving.

How do you store leftover vegan stuffed shells?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a preheated 375° oven for about 20 minutes. For longer term storage, freeze like lasagna: store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months; thaw completely before reheating.

Vegan Stuffed Shells Tips

How long should I cook the shells?

Be sure to cook your pasta just until al dente. Since the pasta shells will be stuffed, you want them to retain some texture so they don’t fall apart when you add the filling.

Prevent the pasta from sticking together

Once your pasta shells are cooked and drained, transfer them to a greased baking sheet so they don’t stick together.

Lactose-Free Veggie-Stuffed Shells

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 35 min
Yield 12 servings.


  • 1 package (12 ounces) jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package (12.3 ounces) silken extra-firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) meatless pasta sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cook pasta shells according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. In a large bowl, mash tofu with lemon juice. Stir in spinach, basil, salt and pepper. Add to mushroom mixture; heat through. Spoon into shells.
  3. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until bubbly, 5-10 minutes longer. If desired, top with additional fresh basil.

Nutrition Facts

3 stuffed shells: 169 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 386mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 9g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Low-fat and dairy-free, these jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with vegetables like mushrooms, spinach and onions and packed with protein-rich tofu. It's a great-tasting dish that everyone will enjoy. —Kimberly Hammond, Kingwood, Texas