Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta

Stuffed shells?! You might be thinking this seems hard to veganize, but with products like vegan cream cheese, artichokes, hearts of palm, or even white beans (not used this time around but a great substitution for any of the fauxcotta ingredients), this recipe is a super customizable, pantry-friendly comfort food. The filling is delicious in these stuffed shells, but also tastes great in vegan bruschetta and probably in any other ricotta-dependent recipe.

I used both hearts of palm and artichokes because I had them laying around, but this recipe would be delicious in a number of ways: cream cheese + artichokes (no hearts of palm), cream cheese + hearts of palm (no artichokes), white beans + artichokes (no cream cheese), white beans + hearts of palm… so on and so forth 😊 Play around with whatever you have on hand and see what you come up with!


Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta Recipe

Ingredients (2–3 Servings)

  • Jumbo shells, I used 18 shells to fill a 9×9″ square baking dish
  • Vegan mozzarella, I used Good Planet brand (optional)
  • Salt & pepper


  • A quarter or a third (2+ oz) of an 8 oz package of vegan cream cheese, I used Kite Hill brand
  • 1 heaping cup canned or jarred artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • ~1–2 canned or jarred whole hearts of palm, equivalent to ~2.8–5.6 oz canned or jarred hearts of palm in pieces, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • Generous handful of fresh basil, I used a 1.25 oz package
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 14 oz can whole steam peeled tomatoes (don’t drain!)
  • A quarter of an onion, finely diced
  • Half of a small carrot, finely diced (optional)
  • Half of a stalk of celery, trimmed and finely diced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dried (or fresh) basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Yondu vegetable umami seasoning (optional)
  • Salt & pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 375º.

2. Start the homemade tomato sauce by adding the oil and mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot) to a small pot. Cook for ~5–10 min on medium heat or until everything is soft and cooked through.

3. Add the garlic, and tomato paste and mix well, cooking for a minute.

4. Roughly purée the canned tomatoes in a food processor and add to the pot, along with all of the seasonings (bay leaf, basil, oregano, Yondu, salt & pepper). Mix well and reduce heat to med-low. Cover and let simmer for 15–20 minutes. Cover & set aside.

5. Add all fauxcotta ingredients to a food processor and adjust lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, and cream cheese quantities to taste.

6. Cook jumbo pasta shells according to package instructions, but stopping them when they are al dente and still holding their shape. Rinse with cold water.

7. Use a piping bag, sandwich bag with a corner cut off, or a spoon to scoop fauxcotta into each shell.

8. Spread half of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish, then add all of the shells, seam-side up. Drizzle the remainder of the sauce over the shells and top with a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella (optional).

9. Place into hot oven and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until the shells seem fully cooked and tender, and the sauce is bubbling.

10. Serve with some fresh basil and vegan parmesan (optional), I like the Go Veggie brand’s. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks

Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks
Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks

Tonight’s meal came together in a funny way… In my recent Misfits Market delivery, I was convinced I received a rutabaga. I looked up a mashed rutabaga and carrot recipe and was very excited to try a root vegetable I had never tried before. As I peeled it, I thought, “wow, it’s beautifully bright red inside, but that makes sense because rutabagas are root vegetables just like beets.” And that’s when I smelled it.. and realized, this was actually a beet! I was able to easily pivot and make this recipe with sweet potato, and it turned out fantastic! But now, what to do with these beets?!


Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks Recipe

Ingredients (2 Servings)

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ~2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance brand)
  • ~3 tbsp full fat coconut milk (optional, you could also use any plant-based milk)
  • Handful of green beans, trimmed
  • .5 package of extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced thickly
  • Corn starch
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive or neutral oil
  • ~1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • Splash of lemon juice


1. Add the sweet potato, carrot, and garlic cloves into a pot of boiling, salted water.

2. Press, pat dry, and slice the tofu into thick “steaks”. Toss each slice in corn starch, wiping off excess starch so that it’s a light coating. The tofu should feel dry and smooth from the starch but not thickly coated.

3. When the sweet potato and carrot are both very tender, drain and return them to the pot. Turn off the heat. Add the vegan butter, coconut milk, salt, and pepper to the pot and mash it all together with a potato masher. I ended up immersion blending mine too since the carrot didn’t mash as well as the sweet potato. Cover to keep warm.

4. Heat sesame oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add tofu steaks. Season with salt and pepper and let both sides fry for about 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

5. In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp olive or neutral oil over high heat. Once hot, add the green beans, salt, and pepper, and stir frequently. They only need a couple minutes if you like them crunchy, like I do. Turn off the heat and finish with a small splash of lemon juice.

6. To serve, plate everything up and drizzle a little soy sauce on the tofu steaks. Enjoy!

More From Zest