The best vegan stuffed shells from scratch, filled with the creamiest cashew ricotta cheese and baked in a thick homemade marinara sauce. Easy and satisfying, this recipe checks all the boxes with the entire family.
Soak the cashews in hot water for 20 minutes then drain. (If you have a powerful blender like a Vitamix you can skip the soaking)
2 cups raw cashew pieces
Into a powerful blender add the cashew pieces together with 3/4 cups of water, juice from 1 lemon, grated garlic, onion powder and sea salt. Process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with a large pinch of coarse salt then cook the pasta according to the directions on the package until al dente in texture.
18 jumbo pasta shells
Prepare a bowl of ice cold water. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the cooked pasta shells to the bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a light drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Preheat your oven to 350”F.
Add half of the tomato sauce to the bottom of a 10 X13 inch baking dish. Spread it evenly.
4.5 cups tomato sauce
Using a regular teaspoon fill each pasta shell with the cashew ricotta. Place in the dish with the sauce. You can line them up straight or at an angle if desired. Repeat the process until all the shells are filled. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes at this point if desired.
18 jumbo pasta shells, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Spoon the remaining of the sauce over the top of the shells and spread as evenly as you can. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Serve sprinkled with the fresh basil and optionally a drizzle of cashew cream.
10 basil leaves
Cashew Cream - To make your own cashew cream process 1 cup of raw cashew pieces + 3/4 cups of water in the Vitamix blender until thick and creamy. Alternatively you can use a store bought brand or omit altogether as the shells are already stuffed with the creamiest filling).
Pasta Shells - Make sure to boil a few extra shells as insurance, just in case any of them might break in the process. Keep a close eye on them during boiling and stir often to prevent sticking.