Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce. Comforting pasta shells stuffed with nutritious spinach and yummy cashew cheese, all nestled in a delicious tomato sauce. Perfect for a family meal or to curl up with solo. Vegan and Gluten Free if using GF pasta.

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce. Comforting pasta shells stuffed with nutritious spinach and yummy cashew cheese, all nestled in a delicious tomato sauce. Perfect for a family meal or to curl up with solo.

Recipe Contributor – Herbivore’s Kitchen (Instagram) Herbivore’s Kitchen (Website)

Oh my goodness look at this dish! Some serious vegan pasta comfort food going on in that cast iron skillet. AND it has spinach so we can even get a healthy dose of green veggies.

This recipe uses jumbo pasta shells. If you can’t find them at your regular grocery store you can try Amazon. Here’s a direct link to the Jumbo Pasta Shells. And they are Prime so you know what that means! Delivery the next day. Yay! Gotta love Amazon Prime.

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce. Comforting pasta shells stuffed with nutritious spinach and yummy cashew cheese, all nestled in a delicious tomato sauce. Perfect for a family meal or to curl up with solo. Vegan and Gluten Free if using GF pasta.

I’ve had fresh basil since the early Spring. In fact this year, because of all our rain in Texas during the Spring, my basil plants are doing better now that it’s Fall than they did in the Spring. I’ve moved mine inside now and it is so nice to have fresh basil right in your kitchen!

When you first look at this recipe you think “holy cow that has a lot of steps and ingredients.”

But don’t be scared. I believe all the ingredients to be items a plant eater keeps on hand. You might need to run get the fresh ingredients, but there aren’t any of those “use this spice one time and maybe again in 4 years” kind of ingredients. Plus the steps are just breaking down the pasta from the stuffing and then again the tomato sauce.

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce is definitely one of those recipes that’s on your recipe bucket list. Don’t pass it up. It’s a plant eaters dream come true.

And if you’re searching for more pasta recipes, either click on the category “pasta” while on the recipes page, or simply click here.

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce. Comforting pasta shells stuffed with nutritious spinach and yummy cashew cheese, all nestled in a delicious tomato sauce. Perfect for a family meal or to curl up with solo. Vegan and Gluten Free if using GF pasta.
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5 from 1 vote

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce

Basil Pesto Stuffed Shells in Tomato Sauce. Comforting pasta shells stuffed with nutritious spinach and yummy cashew cheese, all nestled in a delicious tomato sauce. Perfect for a family meal or to curl up with solo. Vegan and Gluten Free if you use GF pasta.
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Basil Pesto, Cashew Cheese, Pasta, Tomato Sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 703kcal

Ingredients

Pasta Shells –

Basil Pesto Sauce –

Cashew Cream and Spinach Filling –

  • 1 cup cashews soaked for approximately 3 hours (see below for a shortcut if you're short on time)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 to 7 handfuls fresh baby spinach

Tomato Sauce –

Instructions

Getting Started –

  • Soak the cashews in 2 c. of hot water. Allow to sit for approximately 3 hours. If you weren’t able to plan ahead, soak the cashews in water that has been boiled for about an hour.  
  • Prepare the pasta shells in accordance with the package instructions. Stop the cooking process when the shells are al dente. Set aside.

Basil Pesto –

  • Combine all of the basil ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until well combined. Set aside.

Tomato Sauce –

  • Heat a large cast iron skillet (if you have it) and add the olive oil. Heat until shimmering. Add the onions and lower the heat. Sauté the onions until they are translucent and starting to caramelize.
  • Add the garlic. Sauté a few minutes more, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the basil, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper and the tomato paste. Stir to combine and allow the cook for 3-5 minutes on low heat to caramelize the tomato paste. It should turn from a bright red to a dark reddish brown. 
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and brown sugar. Raise the heat slightly and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Optional: Add a handful of chopped grape tomatoes.
  • Add the lemon juice and reduce the heat to keep warm. Season with salt & pepper. 

Cashew Cream and Spinach Filling –

  • In a large skillet, add 2-3 T. of water and steam the spinach until it is wilted. Drain off any remaining moisture. 
  • Combine all of the remaining ingredients (everything except the spinach) into a blender and blend until a creamy sauce is created. 
  • Pour the cashew cream into the skillet with the spinach.  Add the basil pesto and stir to combine. Heat on low heat just to warm the sauce. Stir frequently.

Putting it all Together –

  • Add a spoonful of the cashew cream spinach sauce to each pasta shell. Gently place each shell into the tomato sauce. Top with fresh basil. 

Nutrition

Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 1393mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 5130IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 8mg

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