Stuffed Shells just the way everyone likes them…filled with Italian Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta, topped with a homemade Tomato Sauce, Parmesan, and melting Mozzarella…but here, they are heart healthy and vegan! Please don’t stop reading if vegan is not your cup-of-tea, simply make this exact recipe and use the authentic ingredients instead of the substitutes that I am suggesting. Either way, this is one satisfying dish.
Heart Healthy Vegan Substitutes
Italian Sausage – Smoked Style Veggie Protein Sausage
Ricotta – Tofu put through a potato ricer, with Olive Oil, Yeast Flakes, Lemon and Sea Salt
Parmesan – Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Mozzarella – Shredded Pasteurized Process Cheese Alternative, Mozzarella Flavor
Stuffed Shells Recipe
Cut sausage into cubes, brown in a small amount of canola oil. Drain on paper towels, set aside.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce: In a pot, sauté finely chopped onion and red pepper flakes in a good amount of olive oil. Add some minced garlic, dried oregano and basil. Then add a can of diced tomatoes with juice.
Simmer tomato sauce over low heat while preparing the shells. Finish with sea salt to taste.
At the same time, cook jumbo shells (whole grain if possible) in boiling water until al dente.
Drain the shells.
In a sauté pan, cook finely chopped onion and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add defrosted and drained “frozen cut leaf spinach” to the pan. Cook until all the moisture has evaporated. Season with fresh grated nutmeg. Let cool.
To make the ricotta substitute, pass a block of firm tofu through a potato ricer.
Add 1 T. Nutritional Yeast Flakes, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, 1 T. olive oil and sea salt to taste.
Mix to combine.
The flakes make a great vegan substitute for Parmesan with an intense nutty roasted flavor.
Combine sausage, tofu ricotta, and spinach mixtures.
Ladle some of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the empty shells over the sauce. Spoon filling into the shells. Top shells with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F until the shells are heated through.
Remove foil, top with a sprinkling of yeast flakes and shredded mozzarella.
Cook uncovered until the cheese starts to melt.
To Our Healthy Hearts: No cholesterol, very low in saturated fat.
Garnish with fresh basil.
One Recipe – Three Options:
1. Make stuffed shells completely heart healthy and vegan.
2. Go half-way and use some of the substitutes to lighten up on the saturated fat
and lower the cholesterol.
3 . Make the traditional version.