Stuffed Pasta Shells with Summer Squash & Herbs from Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen

Stuffed pasta shells with summer squash and herbs

Since I have been on a primarily plant-based eating routine of late, when Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen posted another plant-based meal, I was on a mission to find the ingredients. I love pasta in any form although I have never made stuffed pasta shells. I have eaten them any number of times in restaurants. This version of stuffed pasta shells was delicious, nutritious and full of the good stuff with none of the bad stuff–you know, that stuff that clogs up our arteries and increases the bad cholesterol. I will be having leftovers for lunch today!

Visit Dorothy’s kitchen to get the full ingredient list and the simple, easy-to-follow recipe. She includes a link to her slow-simmered homemade pasta sauce and a link to her quicker roasted homemade pasta sauce, but I followed her suggestion to use Rao’s marinara sauce. I love Rao’s and it is my favorite jarred sauce. She suggested serving with a glass of cabernet sauvignon, but I chose Pinot Noir from La Crema.

Stuffed pasta shells with braised chicken thigh. Le Crema Pinot Noir.

What makes the stuffed shells so good for you? Instead of ricotta cheese, the filling is silken tofu. I literally could not tell I was not eating cheese. And my best guess is neither could Rand or J, since neither one of them asked what was in it, and I did not tell. The pasta is nestled in a layer of marinara topped by chopped squash–I used one yellow and one zucchini. After it bakes, a sprinkle of parmesan is added to the top, returned to the oven and broiled until the cheese (or vegan substitute cheese) has melted. I used real shredded parmesan with a very light hand. My 3 shells had less than a teaspoon of added parmesan. I also had a small braised chicken thigh since the guys prefer meat and sometimes, I am eating a small serving.

Comparison of using silken tofu instead of ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheeseSilken tofu
125 g = 218 calories120 g = 73.2 calories
Total fat = 16 gTotal fat = 4.43 g
Saturated fat = 10 gSaturated fat = .64 g
Cholesterol = 64 mgCholesterol = 0
Sodium = 105 mgSodium = 9.6 mg
Potassium = 131 mgPotassium = 144 mg
Protein = 14 gProtein = 8.6 g
Source: USDA. Comparison based on 125 g of ricotta as it was the closest number to the amount of silken tofu listed. The numbers for ricotta would be slightly lower with the 5 g difference, but still coming in nutrition-wise as more calories, fat and saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, sodium. There is less potassium in ricotta than in tofu, although a little more than twice as much protein.

Any way you slice it, a tablespoon per shell of tofu filling is better nutrition than a tablespoon of ricotta with no difference in taste or texture. The number of shells in the box defined a serving as 5 shells, and I took only 3 in my serving since I was also eating the piece of chicken.

I second Dorothy’s pronouncement that the dish met “the flavor and satisfaction test…is a guilt-free keeper recipe I’d serve to anyone, vegan or not.” Now, I am going to go eat leftovers for lunch, with a bow and tip of the hat to the “Vermont innkeeper’s collection of seasonal vintage recipes, reimagined for today’s cooks.”

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12 Responses to Stuffed Pasta Shells with Summer Squash & Herbs from Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen

  1. I am so delighted you made my recipe my friend! It’s one of my new favorites, and I suspect my meat-eating husband’s as well.
    The leftovers are better in that wonderful day-after pasta sauce dishes always are.
    Thank you so much for the nutritional comparison! I’m going to link here!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Betty says:

    Looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Katie says:

    This looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks divine and healthy…especially with wine. I may have to try this one. Cheers! Plated beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Day After… | Suzassippi's Lottabusha County Chronicles

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