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Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

Serves 4 / Ready in 1 hour

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    For many, nothing is more comforting than the smell of garlicky baked pasta. In this version, cheese is replaced with high-protein tofu and fiber-rich white beans, working to keep those energy levels stable without skimping out on that trademark “cheesy” taste

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    Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

    Ingredients

    • 16 jumbo pasta shells or gluten-free jumbo brown rice pasta shells
    • 12 oz package extra-firm tofu, drained
    • 1 cup cooked white beans
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1 tsp dried garlic powder
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 9 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and pressed dry
    • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
    • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
    • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil

    Nutrition

    Per serving:

    • calories423
    • protein28g
    • fat12g
    • carbs62g
      • sugar6g
      • fiber13g
    • sodium208mg

    Directions

    01

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
    3. In food processor, puree tofu, white beans, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt, and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Add spinach and pulse until roughly incorporated, not completely blended. Set aside.
    4. In bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and chili flakes.
    5. Add 1 cup sauce to bottom of 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Spoon prepared tofu filling into shells and arrange in dish. Cover shells with remaining tomato sauce.
    6. Cover with parchment and bake for 40 minutes, until bubbling. Garnish with fresh basil before serving.
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    You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.