It’s Meatless Monday up in here and we are celebrating by bringing out the big guns. AKA carbs! Monday’s my son and I do his homework, so I have little time to assemble anything fancy for dinner. We almost always have pasta at some point during the week, but Monday’s really require it (I usually do either a gluten free/lentil/Banza chickpea pasta variety which my husband hates and my son will still eat because he doesn’t know any better). My son has drum lessons 2 days a week and with homework and everything else, my dinner options are so limited these days. If you have any recipes that are quick and easy, please send them my way. I will be forever grateful!
Anyway, back to pasta. I love this dish because it still looks fancy but the sauce comes together super fast and you can even use store bought to save even more time. Although I must say, I love how my sauce is loaded with hidden veggies and is 4 ingredients. Just sayin’! I used a vegan ricotta but you can certainly use regular ricotta but I LOVE the taste of the Kite Hill brand almond milk version. The earthy taste of the kale mixed with the salty olives and creamy ricotta make such a delicious filling. This meal can be prepped and assembled days in advance and then baked right before you need it, making it the perfect meal for busy people! My son said “this is the best dinner ever mommy!” And you know if it’s kid approved, then this will most definitely end up in our weekly rotation as I hope it does with yours!
Shells are stuffed with a creamy filling of vegan ricotta, kale, olives and mozzarella
Spoonful o’ pasta!
1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 medium carrot
1 red pepper
1 handful basil
In a blender or food processor combine the above ingredients until smooth. Pour into a baking dish.
3 cups roughly chopped kale
1/4 cup green olives
1 clove garlic chopped
8 oz. ricotta cheese (I used a vegan one by Kite Hill Foods)
1 cup mozzarella (sub vegan mozzarella if need be)
1 egg (omit if vegan)
In a blender or food processor combine the kale, olives, and garlic until the mixture resembles course sand. Do not over process or you’ll end up with a pesto. In a small bowl combine the kale, olive and garlic mixture with the rest of the ingredients (ricotta, mozzarella and egg).
Directions & Assembly
Preheat oven to 350F.
30 large pasta shells cooked (you may sub gluten free if necessary)
Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente (I actually cooked mine two minutes less than the package directions since they are going to cook again in the oven). Set aside. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce and the cheese/kale stuffing recipes above.
Stuff the shells with 1 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish with the pasta sauce. Repeat until all the shells are used up. You may top the shells with a little more mozzarella, parmesan or even crushed up baked snap peas like I did here (I used Harvest Snaps baked snap peas) or panko breadcrumbs. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes covered. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy.
Oooey, gooey pasta cheesiness. FTW!