Learn how to make the best vegan stuffed shells with a delicious, dairy-free almond “ricotta”. No tofu included. See how easy it is in the recipe video.
Vegan stuffed shells, also called conchiglioni, is an easy comfort food recipe that takes only 10 ingredients to make.
These jumbo pasta shells are filled with almond ricotta which gives this dish the satisfying cheesy taste it needs, without dairy. The vegan ricotta is made without tofu. It’s perfect for meal prep as it’s freezer-friendly.
Key Ingredient Notes
- Jumbo Pasta Shells – I used 16 jumbo pasta shells from Barilla, which is about half the 12oz package. They fit my 10-inch casserole dish perfectly. You may be able to fit up to 18 pasta shells in a 9 by 13-inch dish but you’ll need to make a bit more filling.
- Pasta Sauce – You can use your favorite store-bought or homemade marinara sauce for this recipe. One of my favorites is Bertolli Rustic Cut. They have a homemade taste and are convenient.
- Almond Flour – This is the base of the filling. You can use any type of almond flour that you can find or make your own. Simply add the same amount of almonds by weight to a food processor and blend until it becomes fine crumbs.
- Nutritional Yeast – Adds a cheesy flavor to the almonds which would be difficult to achieve without them.
- Lemon Juice – Adds acidity and sharpness to enhance the cheesy flavor.
- Fresh Basil – Best for flavoring the ricotta in this recipe. You can also use fresh parsley.
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells
1. Cook the pasta shells
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Cook until slightly underdone.
2. Make the vegan ricotta
In a bowl combine the almond flour, nutritional yeast and salt. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside for topping.
Gradually add the water, garlic, lemon juice, salt and black pepper to the remaining mixture. Stir until combined.
The ricotta should be well-moistened but not runny. Add more or less liquid as needed. Stir in the fresh basil.
3. Fill the shells
Preheat your oven to 400℉/204℃.
Grab a 10-inch or 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and lightly oil. Pour in the marinara sauce and spread to cover the bottom.
Start filling each cooked pasta shell with about 1 tbsp of almond ricotta filling. Place in the casserole dish. Top with the dry almond-nutritional yeast mixture.
4. Bake in the oven
Cover the casserole dish with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove and serve.
Variations and Substitutions
1. If you don’t have almonds or almond flour, you can try using cashews or macadamia nuts to make ricotta. For a nut-free, soy-free alternative, try sunflower or hemp seeds.
2. If you don’t have jumbo pasta shells, try making lasagna roll-ups. Cook lasagna noodles as directed, lay them flat then spread with some of the marinara pasta sauce. Add the almond ricotta then roll them up. Complete the recipe as instructed.
You can also use no-boil lasagne noodles and try making my vegan cannelloni recipe. This version also includes a recipe for tofu ricotta but you can always use the almond version.
3. There is also a variety of pasta shapes that can be stuffed besides conchiglioni. Among them include cannelloni and manicotti tube.
I even tried vegan stuffed rigatoni. It takes a bit more time but it was worth it! Stuffing these with a piping bag would make the process much easier.
4. You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta shells. They may be a little difficult to find in stores but Tinkyada makes one from brown rice and it’s available on Amazon.
5. Besides basil, you can also add spinach, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, shredded carrots, onion and many other vegetables.
6. Other vegan cheeses you can try for topping the pasta shells before baking include vegan mozzarella or vegan cheddar.
Daiya makes both of these vegan cheeses but one of my personal favorites is Violife’s vegan mozzarella.
Helpful recipe tips
Be delicate with jumbo shells.
This may be obvious, but it’s worth reminding you that jumbo pasta shells can break or tear easily before, during or even after cooking.
This makes them harder to stuff. To be safe, you can add a few extra shells to the boiling water to ensure you have enough ones intact.
Cook the shells in a large pot
Clearly from the recipe video I didn’t do that but have learned my lesson. Jumbo shells should be cooked in a lot of water to avoid them sticking together. Occasionally stirring the pot while they are cooking also helps to avoid sticking but be gentle.
Rinse the shells
Immediately after the jumbo shells have been cooked, drain and rinse them under cool running water. This helps to reduce the starchiness, which can also lead to sticking.
Cook the pasta “al dente”
This means slightly undercooking the jumbo shells as they will finish cooking in the oven. This is especially important if you will be freezing this meal for later.
Pipe the almond ricotta filling into the shells
Again, I didn’t do this but I will next time around. Although you can fill the shells with a spoon, it may be a bit messier and take longer.
Instead, fill a piping bag (or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped) with the vegan ricotta and squeeze it into the shells. Much easier and quicker, especially when stuffing smaller pasta shapes such as rigatoni.
Make-Ahead and Freezing Tips
If you want to make this stuffed shells recipe ahead of time, cook the shells as directed then fill them with the almond ricotta. Place each shell spaced apart on a large pan or baking tray.
Next, cover them tightly with plastic wrap and foil and freeze them completely. When the shells are frozen, place them in a freezer bag or airtight container
To reheat, spread the marinara sauce in a casserole dish and add the frozen jumbo shells. Cover and place in the oven preheated to 350℉/176℃. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.
More Comforting Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Spinach Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta (Gluten-free)
- Oil and Nut-free Vegan Pesto Pasta
- Coconut Cream Pasta (Vegan + Gluten-free)
- Vegan One Pot Pasta with Spinach, Tomatoes and Broccoli
- Easy Vegan Mushroom Alfredo Pasta
Easy Vegan Stuffed Shells (No Tofu)
Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, use Metric measurements and measuring spoons.
- 16 jumbo pasta shells
- 23 oz jar of marinara pasta sauce, 652g or 3 cups homemade marinara
- 2 cups almond flour, 192g
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 4g
- 1 cup water, 236ml
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, 30ml
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, 5ml
Cook the Pasta Shells
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Cook until slightly underdone. Drain and rinse under cool running water.16 jumbo pasta shells
Make the Almond Ricotta
- In a bowl, combine the almond flour, nutritional yeast and salt. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside for topping.2 cups almond flour ,1 tbsp nutritional yeast ,½ teaspoon salt
- Gradually add the water, garlic, lemon juice, salt and black pepper to the remaining mixture. Stir until combined. The almond ricotta should be well moistened but not runny. Add more or less liquid as needed. Stir in the fresh basil.1 cup water ,2 teaspoon minced garlic ,2 tbsp lemon juice ,½ teaspoon salt ,black pepper ,Handful of fresh basil
Fill and Bake the Pasta shells
- Preheat your oven to 400℉/200℃.
- Grab a 10-inch or 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and lightly oil. Pour in the sauce and spread to cover the bottom.1 teaspoon olive oil ,23 oz jar of marinara pasta sauce
- Start filling each cooked pasta shell with about 1 tbsp of almond ricotta filling. Place in the casserole dish. Top with the dry almond-nutritional yeast mixture.
- Cover the casserole dish with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Remove and serve.