Aug 14, 2009

Stuffed Shells with Spinach Basil Pesto

Roasted baby white eggplant and homemade seitan are stuffed into large pasta shells and topped with a spinach basil pesto.

What is it about pasta dishes? I've always craved them since I was a kid, eating instant ramen and tuna casserole (before vegan). Spaghetti and marinara was my cheap staple in college. And I could never turn down a ravioli or lasagna.

One thing that's different since I became a vegan, is the lack of cheese in these dishes. True, there are some great subs out there, but I find myself without them sometimes, because they tend to be expensive and I've been trying to cut down on processed foods.

To make up for the lack of creaminess, I used pureed roasted eggplant in the filling, and "cheesy" cashews in the pesto. It was so rich and full of flavor, I didn't miss a thing!

These beauties came from my garden. They're little white eggplant- something I've never seen in the supermarkets.

This is what they look like after roasting - too bad they don't stay white!

Spinach Basil Pesto

1/2 C. cashews
1 C. fresh basil
2 C. fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic (I used roasted, but you may want to cut back if using raw)
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt to taste


Process the cashews until you get a crumble. Put everything else in and puree until it becomes a smooth sauce.

Stuffed Shells


1 12-oz. package of jumbo pasta shells
2 C. roasted eggplant
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 C. chopped seitan
1/2 C. roasted onion
1 C. roasted summer squash
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried rosmary
salt & pepper to taste


Cook the shells as directed. Puree the eggplant, garlic, and summer squash. Add the seitan and pulse until small, but still a little chunky. Mix in the spices to taste. Drain shells, and let cool enough to handle. Use a spoon to fill with the mixture. I did have some shells left over.

I also ate mine with more cooked veggies and some good marinara sauce.


  1. this recipe looks soooo good. i'm on the hunt for baby white eggplant. maybe i'll head down to the city market today and see what i can find. thanks!

  2. I love pesto of any kind and with pasta, it can only be a winning combination! Your white eggplant are so cute, too!

  3. Absolutely drooling over here! I'm a big believer in "the greener, the better", so these look like the best stuffed shells I've ever come across!

  4. Yum! This looks delicious. Pesto is my favorite

  5. Made this for a big party. Got lots of compliments and several requests for the recipe. I sent the URL to some friends. I have some friends who are interested in vegan meals, partly because of my being vegan, partly for health, and partly because some of us are lactose intolerant. I'll follow your blog. Thanks!