These stuffed pasta shells are about as near and dear to my heart as it gets. I could eat pasta every day–and, trust me, I used to. But after age 40, we do have to eat a little less of the starchy stuff to keep our svelte figures.
My solution to eating less pasta? Eat more filling! Enter Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles. It’s what I use to stuff these shells to the brim with veggie protein and goodness. I also add spinach because iron is a beautiful thing. The end result is a little taste of pasta to satisfy your carb addiction and a boat load of healthy veggies.
I’m giving you the option of using homemade sauce (see my recipe for marinara here) or the quick and easy sauce in a jar. For this recipe, I did use sauce from a jar because the filling takes a little time to put together and it was a busy day for me. Take it from this Italian – there is no shame in using a quality marinara sauce from a jar! Try Classico Tomato and Basil or anything that suits you – just check the label because even though marinara is not supposed to contain dairy some companies are pretty sneaky and add it for no apparent reason. This is my go-to recipe when I’m cooking for guests because everyone loves it. I hope you will too.
Total Time: 65 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 2 c. Beyond Meat® Beefy Crumbles (you can find them at Target)
- 10 oz. package frozen spinach
- ¾ c. onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 t. ground cloves
- ¾ t. salt
- 5-6 grinds fresh black peppercorns
- 1 (12 oz.) box jumbo pasta shells
- 1 (22 oz). jar quality marinara sauce (recommended brand Classico Tomato & Basil)
- Go Veggie! Brand Vegan Parmesan cheese (make sure you get the dairy-free product, not the lactose-free version. You want the one with the purple and red label)
- Fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Boil 26 of the pasta shells – there will be some left over. You will only end up filling about 22 but some will break in the process of cooking. Cook according to package directions – do not overcook – it’s better to have them a little “al dente” (firm to the bite) because you will be baking them in the oven later.
- Run water over the spinach to thaw and squeeze out excess water with hands. Measure one cup of spinach. Use the remainder in another recipe such as soup.
- Heat olive oil in skillet on medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring constantly until onion is translucent, about four minutes. Add minced garlic and continue to stir just until garlic is heated through – do not burn garlic or it will taste bitter.
- Add beefy crumbles and spinach and continue to sauté until entire mixture is heated throughout. Add spices and mix until fully incorporated.
- When shells are done cooking, carefully drain them by pouring into a colander or removing them with a slotted spoon. Place them individually on a plate, to ensure they do not stick together.
- Let the shells cool enough for you to handle them. Fill each shell with beefy mixture. The easiest way to do this is to scoop the mixture with an ice cream scoop. I stuff the shell with about ¼ cup of the mixture so it’s nice and plump. This will make approximately 22 stuffed shells.
- Pour half the sauce into a baking pan until the bottom is covered. Place stuffed shells in the pan side by side, until all shells are in the pan. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the shells.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately. Top with fresh basil and Vegan Parmesan, then devour.
Let us know what you think of these shells and send in photos if you make them yourself – we’d love to post them on our Facebook page.