December 19


Vegan Skillet Stuffed Shells

By Laura Nunemaker

December 19, 2021

I love stuffed shells but would pass them by as a dinner option because it seemed like too much fuss. But did you know that you could skip the oven part and just make them on the stove top? These Vegan Skillet Stuffed Shells come together with minimal fuss because you can reuse the pasta pan for the shells. Less dishes? Sign me up!

vegan skillet stuffed shells on a stovetop in a red pan.

What kind of pasta works in this dish?

cooked jumbo pasta shells on a blue plate sitting on a counter in a kitchen.

Vegan Skillet Stuffed Shells was made for standard jumbo pasta shells and that's what I used. I think they're probably the easiest to stuff. But don't feel limited to that!

How about manicotti? Or, you could spread the ricotta mixture onto a lasagna noodle and roll it up.

If you're gluten-free, jumbo shells and manicotti are both available. If you can't find them at your local market, you can always order them online. In store, expect to pay $2.50-$4.

Do I have to make my own Tofu Ricotta?

Not at all! But it is very easy to do. And since ricotta is very mild, tofu subs in for it wonderfully.

ingredients for tofu ricotta in a black bowl sitting on a wooden cutting board.

I also like giving you the option to make your own ricotta because it will be cheaper and you can control the ingredients easier. I choose to make my own to avoid added oils. 

a gloved hand mixing tofu ricotta ingredients in a black bowl.

If you'd like a short-cut, you can buy vegan ricotta. Look for it at places like Sprouts, Whole Foods, and your local co-op. Some well-stocked grocery chains carry it as well. It just depends on your area.

The two most popular brands are Tofutti and Kite Hill

a container of tofutti ricotta.
a container of kite hill ricotta.

How can I meal prep Vegan Skillet Stuffed Shells?

This recipe is wonderful heated up later in the microwave so it's perfect for meal prep. And depending on your needs, you can prep some or all of it ahead of time.

One option is to cook the pasta and make the tofu ricotta ahead of time and refrigerate them. Then when you're ready to cook, start with sautéing the mushrooms and go from there.

Another option is to complete the recipe through stuffing the shells, refrigerate them, and then you just need to heat them up in the sauce for a quick meal.

Or, make the whole thing ahead of time, package it up, and take it for lunch. Tailor the prep to what works with your lifestyle.

vegan skillet stuffed shells on a stovetop in a red pan.

Vegan Skillet Stuffed Shells

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Stuffed shells can be a bit of a production, but with a couple of shortcuts like storebought sauce and cooking them on the stovetop you can save a little time and reduce the dirty dishes.


  • 6 ounces  jumbo pasta shells (about 18 shells)
  • 1⁄2 lb. mushrooms chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup red wine
  • 5 oz. frozen spinach
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu or firm, pressed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley minced (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp black pepper


  1. Cook the shells in a large pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Place a large non-stick skillet over high heat, add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their juices and browned for about 5–6 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add wine, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Add spinach, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Transfer mushroom mixture to a plate and set aside.
  4. Again heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add garlic, stirring occasionally, until garlic just begins to brown, 2–3 minutes. Add marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer over low heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. While sauce cooks, make the tofu ricotta. Add the tofu to a bowl large enough to hold it and the mushroom mixture. Mash it with a fork or squeeze it through your hands until it resembles ricotta. Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper and thoroughly combine. Fold the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Spoon about 2 Tbsp. ricotta mixture into each shell. The shell should be full but not overflowing.
  6. Place the stuffed shells into hot sauce in the skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until shells are warmed through, 4–6 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with vegan parmesan, optional, to sprinkle on top.


To make gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and make sure that your marinara is gluten-free.

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Nutritional information will vary due to specific ingredients used. While these values are as accurate as possible, they should only be considered a guide.

Honestly, this recipe is pure comfort food with healthful ingredients. It's a good one to make for the family or for open-minded skeptics.

Do you have a pasta dish that's a step above the standards like spaghetti in a red sauce or mac & cheese that you make all the time? What's your "company" pasta dish? Or, do you have one you need help making plant-base? I'll see how I can help!

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About the author

Meat-free since 1996. Cow petter. Former vegan bakery owner. Full-time traveler for 5 years, usually in an RV, but not always. Half of VeganRV. Instant Pot lover. Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, Completed January 2022, eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

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