Stuffed Pasta with Spinach Ricotta

Who doesn’t like pasta? I love it, all ways, all day! I found this recipe on Vegan Yumminess, and reading about the plant-based ricotta made my mouth water. This isn’t a particularly difficult recipe, and don’t be discouraged by the many steps. I promise you it’s well worth the extra effort!

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • salt (for eggplant)
  • 1- 1/2 packages extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cups frozen spinach
  • 1-1/2 -2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 18-20 jumbo pasta shells or large manicotti tubes

Instructions

  1. Slice top off eggplant. Do not peel, but cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Score each half as if you’re going to cut it into cubes.
  2. Sprinkle each half of eggplant generously with salt, and rub gently into the scored cuts. Let the eggplant halves sit, cut side up, for about 30 minutes.
  3. Toward the end of the 30 minutes, you’ll notice the eggplant halves are covered with droplets of water! Squeeze each eggplant half gently over the sink, draining the salty water.
  4. Lightly spray oil each cut side of eggplant, then place on parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, cut side down.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft.
  6. While eggplant bakes, start on the ricotta filling.
  7. Cook your large pasta shells or manicotti tubes according to box directions.
  8. In medium fry pan, water saute 1 garlic clove, minced with the onion. After one minute, add the frozen spinach and cook until spinach is just thawed.
  9. In a medium sized bowl, mash the tofu with a fork until crumbly. Put 1/2 cup of the crumbled tofu into a blender with 1/4 cup soaked cashews and 1/4 cup water. Blend on high speed until it’s really smooth.
  10. Pour blender ingredients back into medium bowl; add garlic, onion, nutritional yeast, basil and the spinach mixture from pan. Mix it all together well.
  11. When eggplant is done, scrape out eggplant ‘meat’ from the skin using a spoon, and stir into the tofu mixture.
  12. Carefully stuff your shells or pasta tubes and lay them on a thin layer of your favorite pasta sauce (marinara is always a good choice).
  13. Pour more sauce on top of all your stuffed pasta and bake uncovered at 400 F. for about 10 minutes. The tofu fillings should start to turn a golden color.
  14. Serve hot with garlic bread and a simple salad of greens.