Monday, August 8, 2011

Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells...shhhh (they're healthy)

Don't be scared. 
It's okay, just trust me on this. I wouldn't steer you wrong. 

You should make these stuffed Manicotti's for someone you love. 
But don't tell them the secret. That they're made with...tofu. Gasp! I know! Whaaat?!?! Seriously, just make them and wait to tell them after they sing your praises because these babies are good! Hopefully by then they will be so impressed that you made the tofu taste creamy and delicious like real cheese, they'll forget you just served them tofu.

*Please disregard the poor lighting in my kitchen. 

Spinach and Tofu Stuffed Shells
Adapted from: Fresh Tastes
Serves 2-3
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
16 ounces extra firm tofu
2 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast*
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
3 cups chopped fresh spinach
Your favorite shells to stuff (8 Manicotti is what I used)
1 jar marinara sauce

Drain tofu and pat dry with paper towels. Crumble into the bowl with olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic, nutritional yeast and parmesan cheese. Transfer to food processor or blender.   If you chose to use your blender you should do this in batches so you don't throw the blender through the window. Process on high until smooth. 
If you used your blender transfer mixture to bowl and add spinach. If you used the food processor just throw the spinach in and mix together. 
Cook shells in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and let cool slightly. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup pasta sauce into bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan. 
I put the tofu mixture into a large plastic bag and cut the tip off one of the corners. However you choose to stuff the shells just roll with it. 
Fill the shells with tofu mixture and place in pan seam side down. 
Repeat until all shells have been stuffed. 
Pour remaining pasta sauce over shells, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 

*Nutritional yeast is a complete protein packed with B vitamins. It has a cheese like flavor and can be used as a topping on all sorts of stuff. I found mine in the bulk section of my local grocery store. If you don't want to use it, you can just substitute Parmesan or another dried cheese. 


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