Vegan Stuffed Jumbo Shells are flavorful and satisfying. Stuffed with sauce, plant-based ‘sausage’ crumbled into small pieces and little florets of broccoli. A great Italian style comfort food for tonight's dinner!
When it comes to comfort food, nothing tops the list like homemade Pasta dishes. In our house we love pasta, and we eat a lot of it!
I'm always trying to come up with different ways of making Italian-inspired dishes, and luckily a lot of this country’s classic recipes can easily be made Vegan.
This layered baked dish is perfect for weeknight dinners or it is equally impressive when entertaining. It's one of those family meals you know everyone will love.
There is a little bit of work ahead of time before you bake the casserole but that can all be done as meal prep a day or two ahead. It can also be done right before the baking too. The little bit of chopping is well worth it!
These stuffed shells are freezer-friendly too and it really can become handy to have a prepared dish all ready for defrosting on those days that you know you have little time to spend in the kitchen!
- Pasta first then ...
- Spaghetti sauce
- Non-GMO faux sausage with wonderful spicy flavors
- The vegetables - onions, mushrooms, broccoli
- plant-based mozzarella
Here is a visual of the first steps for the stuffed jumbo shells. Browning the faux 'sausage' and sauteing the onions and mushrooms.
This recipe is reminiscent of lasagna where it's pre-cooked pasta and layered with the ingredients before the whole dish goes into the oven for baking.
But here the pasta is stuffed with wonderful ingredients instead of layering. Jumbo shells are classic but you can stuff other large pasta shells too.
Often the chosen shape of the pasta is a personal preference, so let me give you a couple of options:
- Jumbo shells as in these photos are beautiful when served and also very popular with kids.
- Then there is Cannelloni, the large-shaped pasta tubes.
- Manicotti, the wide ridge pasta tubes. They are not that different from the Cannelloni in shape, but they are also very pretty-looking at the dinner table.
When it comes to stuffing the pasta, large shells are of course easier to handle.
You can open them up and spoon in the filling. That’s it!
Below are the are steps for steaming broccoli, chopping up the sausage and making the sauce.
When I talk about spaghetti sauce, I am referring to a basic roasted tomato sauce seasoned with Italian herbs.
- Make your homemade version. I have a great recipe that you can make in the crockpot. Natural, delicious and entirely plant-based and you can use leftovers for other meals too.
- Or use a good canned Marinara sauce. I always use Paul Newman's organic Marinara and it comes in the glass jar.
Non-GMO Faux Sausage
The vegetable and grain-based sausages from Field Roast are really really good. I recommend the Italian style with wonderful spicy flavors that work well in a spaghetti sauce filling.
I recommend breaking up or crumbling the sausages in a food processor. They don't have to be super fine just crumbled a bit.
The delicate pieces will better absorb the flavors of the spaghetti sauce and create a beautiful thick texture that makes this dish so hearty.
Below are three more photos showing the preparation of the casserole. Really simple.
These beautiful Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells are filled with onions, meaty mushrooms, and fresh broccoli florets.
The key to making this dish rich, with a stuffing that has a beautiful range of textures is in the way you prepare it.
Briefly cooking the vegetables separate allows for their individual flavors to be released before combining them and adding any liquid.
It adds that complexity that makes this the perfect homemade stuffed pasta shells casserole.
Below is the baked casserole dish of the stuffed jumbo shells that I photographed when this recipe was first put on the blog 5 years ago.
It's a classic and is always a hit. I am glad to say Ed is happy and, ahem, very lucky.
Now it is your turn to serve a taste of Italy that warms the stomach as well as your heart!!!
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Vegan Stuffed Jumbo Shells
- 8 ounces pasta - jumbo pasta shells package
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 onion - white onion, chopped
- 24 ounces spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 12 ounces plant based sausage Italian Field Roast Sausage, pack of four, not sponsored, I just love this sausage
- 8 ounces mushrooms
- 1 cup broccoli - cut into small florets
- 8 ounces dairy-free mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- You will need a 8" x 8" or 8" x 10" casserole dish.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions and set aside.
- Put the 'cheese' in a food processor and pulse into smaller pieces (if you have a shredded type). I like to do this do be able to spread the cheese even thinner and get a better melted effect.
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet.
- Field Roast Sausage is a large 'sausage'. Put the 'sausages' in the skillet and brown on all sides. Take out of the pan and set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon oil in the skillet.
- Add the onion and saute until transparent, about 10 minutes. Set the cooked onion aside.
- Heat the last tablespoon of oil in the large skillet.
- Saute the mushrooms until the liquid is released and almost gone. About 15 minutes.
- Cut the sausage into large chunks and the put in a food processor and pulse until the sausage is processed into very small pieces. It will be delicious in the pasta shells.
- Steam or boil the broccoli for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Put the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, onions, 'sausage' and broccoli back into the skillet. Add the 1/2 cup water and stir.
- Do not add the pasta or cheese.
- Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Put 1/4 cup of the skillet's sauce in the bottom of the casserole.
- Add about half of the cheese into the sauce and mix well.
- Stuff the shells with the sauce mixture and lay in the prepared casserole There will be about 2 layers. Depending on the size of the casserole.
- Pour the rest of the sauce over all of the shells. Sprinkle the remaining cheese all over the top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and serve.
Please follow any of the directions defined in my article How to Prepare Food for the Freezer. TO PREPARE AFTER FREEZING: Take out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator at least 6 to 8 hours before baking (or the day before). Make sure ot is completely defrosted. Bake, covered at 350° for 30 minutes and then uncover and bake for 10 minutes.