Herbed Stuffed Shells with Peas and Fennel

Spring makes me think of green.  Lots and lots of green.  When developing the recipes for this week, I found myself attracted to green vegetables.  It's a week of peas, greens, asparagus and more.  One of my friends told me that I should call it "Green Week", and that seems about right!

Today's recipe puts a new twist on an old favorite.  Stuffed shells.  While I am used to having them swimming in sauce, I thought about how to maximize the flavor of the filling without relying on the sauce to carry it.  We end up with dill, scallions, parsley, fennel and peas mixed into a lemony tofu base.  It's fresh.  It's vibrant.  It's light and flavorful.  It's spring!

Vegan Herbed Stuffed Shells with Peas and Fennel.jpg

Herbed Stuffed Shells with Peas and Fennel

1 package giant pasta shells

1 cup fennel, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 scallions (divide white parts from green parts), chopped

1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, smashed until there are no lumps

½ cup frozen peas

¼ cup vegan sour cream

⅓ cup nutritional yeast

½-1 tsp garlic powder

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

¾ cup shredded vegan cheese, divided (¼ cup + ½ cup)

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

1. Line a 7 X 11 pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Fill a large, deep pot with water, and bring to a boil.  Cook giant pasta shells according to the package.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

2. Add olive oil, white parts of the scallion, and fennel to a skillet.  Sauté over med-low until fennel are soft.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Mix everything else listed in the recipe--adding in a ¼ cup of vegan cheese and reserving the rest for later--in a mixing bowl.  Add fennel mixture and frozen peas.  Stir.  Taste and adjust seasoning (more salt, more lemon juice, etc)

4. Stuff shells and arrange in a single layer in the parchment lined pan.  Once all the shells are stuffed and the pan is full, sprinkle the ½ cup of vegan cheese over the top.  Pour ¼ cup of water in the bottom of the pan, and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Herbed Stuffed Shells with Peas and Fennel.jpg