Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Shells
What IS it about Italian food? I really think I could eat pasta every single day and not get tired of it. It’s my go-to meal for a casual weeknight or a fancy dinner party. These vegetable stuffed shells could work for either: elegant enough to be served as a main course but easy enough to put together after a long day of work. Make the ricotta mixture ahead of time and this meal could come together in minutes. Place it in the oven, unwind and relax and dinner is ready!
PS: This tofu ricotta is a great substitute if you are trying to cut down on dairy and/or calories. Try it; I promise you and your dinner guests won’t even know it’s tofu!
1 tbsp. Earth Balance butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 package baby bella mushrooms
16 oz. package firm tofu, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. white miso
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
Package of large shells
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the shells according to package directions, under-cooking them by 3 minutes. They will finish cooking in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large skillet, heat the EB butter and olive oil. When it starts to melt and glisten, add the shallots and quickly cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and let cook 3 minutes. You want a nice crust to form under the mushrooms. Flip them over, and cook on the other side. Same thing, you want them to be crispy. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
In a food processor, combine the ingredients for the tofu ricotta. Pulse a few times until the mixture comes together. You want it to be combined but not pureed.Add the mushroom and spinach mixture and pulse a few more times until just combined. You still want chunks of mushroom and spinach to be visible.
In a 9X13 glass dish, spread 1 cup of sauce on the bottom. Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture, about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling depending on the size of your shells. Don’t get skimpy! You want them to be stuffed fully.
Place the shells, filled side up, in the glass dish. Cover with marinara sauce, about 2-3 cups depending how saucy you like your shells. In my house, there is no such thing as too much sauce…
Cook uncovered for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Yes, It’s a long title, but what else was I supposed to call it? Swiss chard and couscous on their own don’t exactly leave you drooling.
Puttanesca, a quick, briny sauce is perfect with bitter chard. I originally wanted to serve this over quinoa but realized I was all out halfway through preparing the dinner. Oh well, whole wheat couscous is a great stand-in.
If you’re familiar with the traditional version, puttanesca sauce gets a lot of flavor from anchovies. Spanish olives, kalamata olives, and capers help give this sauce a fish-less, salty bite.
Swiss Chard Puttanesca
1 box (I use Pomi brand) or 1 large can crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp. chopped Kalamata olives
3 tbsp. chopped Spanish olives
2 tbsp. capers
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into thin 1/2 moons
1 large bunch swiss chard
1 tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
1 cup couscous, uncooked
Stack the cleaned leaves of Swiss chard together. Starting at one end, gently roll up to form a loose roll. Starting from the top, slice the chard into ribbons. You can either keep them long or slice them again in 1/2 lengthwise.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a sauce pot. Add the onion, 1 pinch of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 minutes. If the onions start to stick to the bottom, add a splash of water. Add the swiss chard leaves and stems and cook for an additional minute, combing the onion mixture with the leaves. Add the can/box of tomatoes, rinse the container with water, and add to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, except couscous, and reduce to medium heat. Let cook until the leaves are wilted and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 20 minutes.
Prepare the couscous: Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the couscous and 1 pinch of salt. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
To serve: place couscous in bottom of bowl, spoon the Puttanesca sauce on top.
Per serving(4): 224 calories, 5g fat, 38g CHO, 3.3g fiber, 6g protein
I spent most of last week at a conference in New Orleans. I love exploring new cities but I was excited to get back to cooking in my kitchen. Of course the food was amazing but after a week of eating out, I was ready for some greener & cleaner eating. If you’ve ever left home for a few days or more, you understand coming home to an empty kitchen. Tired from traveling, I wanted a quick, nutritious meal without having to go to the store. I seem to always have frozen artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes around. Adding a few other ingredients, this light & easy pasta was born.
Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Linguine
Ingredients: Serves 6-8
1 lb linguine or noodles, whole wheat if you’ve got it!
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed or 1 can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (Use the dehydrated ones if you can, not packed in oil)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced into 1/2 moons
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper
handful parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. capers
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a separate bowl, add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup hot water. Let sit for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes rehydrate and plump up. Drain and slice into thin strips.
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the 2 cloves sliced garlic, sliced onion and a small pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions have reduced. If the garlic or onion sticks too much, add a little more broth.
Add the sliced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, wine and remaining broth. Continue to stir, and cook for 10 minutes allowing the sauce reduce and thicken slightly. Add the pasta at this time and cook until al-dente.
Add the cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of cooking water to the skillet. Toss the hot pasta with the chopped parsley and serve!
Per serving: 292 calories, 2g fat, 10g fiber, 11g protein
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