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Embrace your inner Italian nanna with these surprisingly creamy stuffed shells using a flavorful, cashew-based ricotta.

Cashew Ricotta Stuffed Shells

serving time6


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for boiling water

  • 1 medium golden onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 10 basil leaves

  • 8 ounces dried pasta shells

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 4 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper

  • Oregano

  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan or mozzarella, for topping


  1. In a low, wide saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil for about a minute. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the crushed garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute.

  2. Add the tomato paste and cook until it dissolves a bit, about 3 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, until thickened. Give it a good stir, then adjust salt accordingly. Remove from heat. Stir in the basil leaves.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drizzle olive oil in, and add the shells. Cook until just before al dente. Using a straining spider, carefully transfer shells to a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

  4. In a food processor, add the cashews, lemon juice and salt. Pulse, scraping the sides occasionally, until the cashews have smoothed out and are mostly creamy. Add water 1 tablespoons at a time, until ricotta texture is achieved.

  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drain shells. Drizzle with olive oil.

  6. Add 1/2 cup of water to the tomato sauce. Place 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce in the lasagna pan, spreading it out evenly with a rubber spatula.

  7. Line the pasta shells on top of the tomato sauce, covering most of the pan’s surface. Place about a tablespoon of the ricotta into each shell. Ladle the remaining tomato sauce onto the shells. Sprinkle with red pepper, oregano and vegan cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cheese has browned.

  8. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cashew Ricotta Stuffed Shells




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox


- Ciao Bella, I have some cashew ricotta stuffed shells. So let me show you how to make these and embrace your inner Italian nana. So to get started on these stuffed shells I'm gonna make a marinara. I'm gonna saute some onions in olive oil. And I'm using golden onions. You want to cook them until the onions look nice and translucent. So these are looking perfect, nice and golden. Now I'm gonna add in my chopped garlic. Just gonna let the garlic cook for about a minute so it sweats nicely into the onion. So now I'm gonna add the tomato paste. So it's starting to look nice and blended into the onions and garlic. So now I have my canned diced tomato. Give this a nice stir. Okay. And while this is simmering I'm gonna make the cashew ricotta. I start by adding these cashews that have been soaking overnight in water. And then I'm gonna add in the lemon juice. And then some salt. And the lemon juice does a really nice job of making the ricotta nice and tangy. Now I'm gonna pulse the cashews until it looks like a ricotta. Let's check on this cashew ricotta. Okay so this looks perfect. So I'm gonna transfer it into this pastry bag. So I'm gonna add some ricotta. Alright. Nice. So I'm gonna set this aside and I'm gonna add about 10 basil leaves to the marinara. And this is fresh basil all the way from my garden in Italy. And I'm so happy that it arrived so perfectly. Now I'm gonna add a half cup of water to this marinara, that way it'll be easily spreadable in the bottom of the pan and then on top of the pasta shells. Perfect. This looks beautiful. So I'm gonna start by adding some marinara to the bottom of this pan. And this is about half of the marinara mixture. So I'm gonna lay out my shells on top of the marinara. So now I'm gonna pipe all of these shells. And I'm using a pastry bag, it's a lot less messy when you use one. These are, what do you call it? Ciao bella. So now I'm gonna do one more coating of the marinara. And just evenly spread it all over the shells. Okay. So now to top these off I have some vegan mozzarella. And then some dried oregano. And then last but not least so dry red pepper flakes. Alright. So these shells are assembled, now I'm gonna pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the mozzarella is golden brown. So my shells are baked and golden brown, I'm ready to get into pasta town. So I'm gonna scoop some shells on this plate. Oh, three look so elegant, think I'm gonna stick with three. Some fresh basil. And viola, some cashew ricotta stuffed shells. Grazie for watching, ciao.