• 1 15 ox. Can Cannelini beans (white kidney or great northern beans)-drained and rinsed
  • 2 14-15 oz. packages of organic firm tofu, pressed
  • 4 cloves garlic (1 heaping tablespoon) minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, split
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • Fresh ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoons
  • 3 (23-25 oz) jars favorite pasta sauce, preferably oil-free and low sodium
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, lightly chopped (optional—It is good both with and without)
  • 2 (8 oz) boxes of jumbo brown rice shells** --Tinkyada brand is whole grain and GF

These dairy and nut-free stuffed shells have become a favorite for family meals as well as for dinner parties. The recipe was offered by Plantstrong, and created by Ami Mackey. The uncooked shells are filled, then submerged in pasta sauce, where they bake to perfection. The tasty ‘Rinotta’ (in other words-NOT ricotta) is made with a high fiber, high protein mixture of tofu and beans, and can be used for many dishes as a ricotta or soft cheese.

For a holiday brunch I accompanied this beautiful dish it with my Winter Kale & Quinoa Salad (, a colorful fruit platter, and a vegan lemon cake. YUMMY!

Serves 8.  Approximately 40-45 shells

• In a food processor (or a potato masher and bowl–not best), blend until smooth: beans, tofu, garlic, nutritional yeast, and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Taste your ‘rinotta cheese’ and adjust seasonings to your taste. 

• Cover the bottom of a 13” x 9” pan (or a bit bigger) with the pasta sauce and water, stirred to combine.

• Add the roughly chopped spinach if using, and partially mix into the sauce.

• Fill the uncooked pasta shells with the ‘rinotta’ mixture using a small spoon. Allow the outward curved edge of the shell to scrape mixture off of the spoon and into the shell. Fill just to the upper edge of the shell. Place the shells in the pan, gently pushing them into the sauce layer so that they are a bit over 75% covered with sauce. While baking the shells absorb the sauce and soften, and the sauce thickens nicely.

• Top the shells with the additional tablespoon of Italian seasoning.

• Cover the pan well with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, until the liquid is boiling and the shells are cooked al dente. Let rest about 10 min and enjoy!

**Whole wheat lasagna noodles can substitute for the shells: Boil the noodles according to the package, then spread them with the filling, roll them up, and bake.