Vegan stuffed shells are the ultimate comfort food! What makes this recipe so special is the super-rich and creamy vegan spinach and artichoke dip filling! This meal is family-friendly, easy to make, and it's ready in one hour!
These vegan shells are everything you ever wanted in a comfort food + more! When I first went vegan, spin dip was one of the first recipes that I veganized. It's super creamy, cheesy, tangy, garlicky, and LOADED with spinach. It also makes the best filling for these stuffed shells and vegan lasagna! Who needs vegan ricotta when you have creamy spinach dip!?
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Onion - You can use red, yellow, or sweet onions.
- Artichokes - Use canned or frozen artichoke hearts.
- Spinach - You can use fresh or frozen spinach.
- Lemon Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Cashews - Use raw cashews to make the creamy sauce. You can substitute raw sunflower seeds if necessary.
- Coconut Milk - I used refrigerated unsweetened coconut milk from a carton, not canned. You can also use any unsweetened plant milk like almond or oat.
- Nutritional Yeast - This ingredient makes the dip taste cheesy!
- Dried Seasonings
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Shells
First, you need to soak or boil the cashews. Next, you're going to make the cashew cream sauce by blending the cashews with unsweetened coconut milk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and dried seasonings until it's smooth and creamy.
While you're making the cashew cream sauce in a blender, you can start sauteeing the onions, artichokes, and garlic in a large pan. Stir in the cashew cream sauce and frozen spinach. Mix it well to combine and let it cook until hot and bubbly.
While you're making the spinach dip filling, boil the vegan pasta shells in salted water in a separate pot. Cook the shells 2 minutes less than the package instructions so they'll be easier to fill without tearing.
Drain the pasta shells and rinse them with cool water to stop the cooking process. Lay the shells out on a parchment paper-lined sheet so they won't stick to each other.
In a large casserole dish, pour one cup of your favorite tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish and spread it around evenly. Wait until the shells have cooled and then stuff each shell with the spinach filling.
Arrange the vegan stuffed shells on top of the sauce and then top with the rest of the tomato sauce (and vegan shredded cheese if you like) and then bake it at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Store leftovers in the an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
How to freeze it - Fill the boiled shells and arrange them on a large baking tray so they're not touching each other. Freeze it for 3-4 hours or until all the shells are completely frozen solid. Then transfer the frozen stuffed shells to a large plastic or reusable silicone bag and put it back in the freezer for 2-3 months.
When you're ready to reheat it, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a casserole dish with one cup of tomato sauce. Arrange the frozen stuffed shells in the casserole dish and cover them with the remaining tomato sauce. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until they're hot and bubbly. If the edges start to brown, cover the dish with foil or parchment paper.
Frequently Asked Questions
My favorite side dishes to serve with the stuffed shells are avocado arugula salad, roasted garlic brussel sprouts, lemon garlic asparagus, pesto veggie bake, or lemon tahini zucchini salad.
The main difference is the shape of the noodle. Manicotti is a long tubular noodle and shells are smaller and rounder. You can use the filling to stuff either type of noodle.
You can prep these vegan stuffed shells 1-2 days before you want to bake them. Store it already assembled in an airtight container in the fridge. When you're ready to bake it, you may need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time because the shells are cold.
After you drain the hot water from the noodles, rinse them immediately with cold water. Drain them again. Then place each shell on a lined tray so they're not touching each other. If the shells aren't touching they won't stick to each other.
- Undercook the shells by 2 minutes when you boil them, so they'll be easier to handle and won't tear when you're filling them. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
- You can use a spoon to scoop the filling into the shells, or you can transfer it to a large ziplock bag and cut the tip off of one side and then pipe it into the shells.
- When you're topping the stuffed shells with the tomato sauce, make sure to cover it evenly so you don't get any crispy or burnt edges on the noodles.
- If you want to add extra cheese on top of the stuffed shells, I recommend that you use shredded vegan mozzarella cheese.
- Gluten-Free - The spin dip filling is gluten-free, but make sure that you use gluten-free jumbo shells.
Want More Vegan Stuffed Recipes?
- Tofu Taco Stuffed Tomatoes
- Vegan Salsa Stuffed Peppers
- Lentil Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup
Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Shells
- Large Pan
- 1 Large Casserole Dish
- 12 oz box jumbo shells (use gluten-free shells if necessary)
- 3 cups tomato sauce (I used a 25 oz jar)
- ¼ tsp dried parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Make the vegan spinach and artichoke dip.
- While you're making the dip, cook the pasta shells in a large pot of salted boiling water. Undercook the shells by 2 minutes so they're still slightly firm, this will make them less likely to tear when you fill them. Drain the shells and rinse them with cold water right away. Lay the cooked shells (not touching each other) open side up on a tray that's lined with parchment paper.
- Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a large casserole dish and spread it around evenly.
- When the shells are cool enough to handle, spoon 2 tbsp of the spinach dip into each shell. Place the shells open side up into the casserole dish. Repeat until you run out of filling or shells.
- Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the shells. Try to cover all the edges so they won't get hard in the oven. If you want to add shredded vegan cheese, add it now.
- Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Remove the shells from the oven and garnish with parsley.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- If you want to freeze it, follow the instructions to assemble the shells, but don't bake them before freezing.
Do you think this would be good if I substituted the tomato sauce with your pumpkin sauce? Trying to come up with something tasty for a Halloween dinner!
Yes, I think that would be delicious! Great idea!
Also if I use 2 boxes of pasta, do I need to double the spinach artichoke dip recipe?
What size are the boxes of pasta that you're using? How many ounces?
Do I have to use frozen spinach?
Hello! You can use fresh spinach, but give it a rough chop so it's easier to eat without big clumps of spinach.
Wish I could give this recipe ten stars! It was outstanding!!! Made a huge casserole dish full - took some to my neighbors in lockdown and took some to my friend in the nursing home. Everyone absolutely loved it! Thank you for this amazing recipe!
Thank you so much, Erin! I'm so glad that you and everyone you shared it with liked the dip =) Thank you for the 10 stars!!!
Beautiful and Amazing. This dish was superb. It was rich, creamy, delicious and best of all Vegan. Thank you so much for sharing. This is going to be my new go to. Love it!!!!!
Thank you so much! I'm happy that you enjoyed the recipe =) Thanks for the feedback!
Love this dish! It has become a family favorite!
I'm so happy you loved it! Thank you for the feedback! =)
Thanks for sharing! Can you prep the filling ahead of time?
You definitely can prepare it ahead of time! Enjoy =)
Love love love your dip and it's glorious in the shells. My daughter begs for this for dinner. We recently bought some raw cashews in bulk specifically so we can have this more often.
This makes me so happy! Thank you for leaving a comment, I'm so glad your family enjoys the recipe =)
Hi I need it to be gluten free and we don’t have gluten free shells in New Zealand. Would it work if I used it like a sauce and pasta bake instead?
I haven't tried it that way but I don't see why it wouldn't work! Please let me know how it turns out =)
Stacey, Thanks so much for this recipe. Made it tonight and my husband and I both were so impressed. It turned out wonderful. Many of my shells wouldn't stand up in the casserole dish and tended to fall over, but it didn't matter. The taste was wonderful. It's definitely a keeper recipe and going into the rotation.
I'm so glad you liked the recipe, Jean! Thank you for leaving a comment!
Hi Stacey, I’m vegan and this recipe looks amazing! Do you know by chance what brand the dairy free spinach dip is? Im nervous my grocery stores do not have it. I typically use Publix or Kroger. Thanks so much!
Hello! It's not a product that you can buy, you have to make it yourself. It's very easy to make though, I hope you try it!
How many does this make? I would like to make for our church potluck, but I need to know if I need to double the recipe.
Hello! It serves 4, I would double the recipe for a potluck! Enjoy!
Do you know I this recipe will serve 4 people?
Hi, Tara! Yes, it does. I'm sorry something is going on with my recipes that they're not all showing the serving amount. I will say that when I make this dish I always serve it with a salad to fill out the plate. Enjoy!
Yes, it does!