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!
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.