Friday, November 12, 2010

Spinach-Broccoli "Ricotta" Stuffed Shells

This is one of those "impress 'um" meals that you could serve to non-suspecting meat-eaters, and they would never know the difference!  Packed with flavor and amazing textures, this is one of those comfort food meals that you'll want to make over and over again!  I like to make this meal to use up extra spaghetti sauce, but you could certainly use a jar of sauce and have it any night of the week!

Boil around 12-16 shells for the amount of time directed on the package.  (I use the Tikyada's gluten free)

The "Ricotta" Cheese:

2/3 of a block of organic tofu, drained and patted dry with some paper towel (You can use the whole block of tofu, but 2/3 of one was all I had!)

-Crumble with a fork in a bowl, so the consistency is that of ricotta cheese. 

-To that add:

1 t. garlic powder
1 t. oregano (dried)
1 t. basil (dried)
1/2 t. sea salt
pepper to taste
1/2-1 c. frozen organic spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and chopped
1 c. frozen organic broccoli, thawed, drained, and chopped into small pieces (but still leaving a few small chunks for texture)

-Mix everything together, and when noodles have cooked, drain and rinse, and stuff until full.

-Place in an 8x8 pan (I spray the pan so that the noodles don't stick to the bottom...that's so annoying!

The Sauce:

-I took the leftover Veggie Spaghetti Sauce, put it in the blender with 1/2 jar of Organicville Marinara and blended it to make it smooth.

-Note:  you can definitely just use sauce from a jar, or not blend the sauce and leave it chunky.  I like the smoother, thicker sauce, because it doesn't take away from the texture of the noodles and filling...but do whatever you prefer!

-Cover with aluminum foil and bake until sauce is heated through, about 20 minutes.

The "Parmesan Cheese" Topping:

-I personally, think this is the perfect way to finish off this dish!  It's everything that cheese should be (without being it) and more!  You're going to LOVE this!

1 c. of the Panko bread crumbs
1 T. each:
garlic powder
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
1/8 c. nutritional yeast (optional)'ll find this in a health food store, usually with the supplements or protein's super high in B vitamins and minerals, and gives things a "cheesy" taste. I also use it in smoothies, vegan french toast, and the mac n "cheese" I make for the there are other applications for it if you choose to get it :)

-Put that all into a bowl, and drizzle with enough olive oil to get the spices to stick to the crumbs...taste them, if you like the flavor, leave them, if you think it needs more flavor, add more :)

-Uncover shells, and sprinkle "Parmesan Cheese" over top.  Return to oven and bake another 5-7 minutes to brown the top.

-Serve with homemade garlic toast:

If you can find the Arnie's brand Multigrain French Loaf, that's be your best bet...otherwise, any type of good multigrain french loaf will do!

Cut lengthwise, and spread generously with coconut oil.
Sprinkle 1 T. of the following on EACH half:
garlic powder
italian seasonings (if you have it, if not, that's fine too)
And then 1 t of salt on each half

Bake for about 5 mins on 350, until the bottom is crispy, then finish under the low broiler until top is golden :)

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