So listen, I'm going to be honest. I had one bad experience with tofu, and since that day, I've hated it. Won't touch it, don't want it near me - let's just say we weren't friends. But as a "near" vegetarian, an anemic who needs to add more iron in her diet, and as someone who likes to get an appropriate amount of protein daily, I've always wondered if perhaps I was too hasty with my intense distate for it. Enter the current issue of Vegetarian Times. There was a recipe called "Cheese Free Stuffed Shells" that promised to go over well with Tofu-phobes. I modified the original recipe, knowing what might disguise the tofu for me just a tad more. And I have to admit - while I might not run out and eat a block of tofu out of the package, I will definitely try to find more ways to include it in my diet. This recipe alone has, per serving, 21 grams of protein. I will definitely make this recipe again and again.
Protein Packed Stuffed Shells
18 jumbo pasta shells, cooked, drained, and rinsed
1 jar marinara sauce
1 (15oz pkg) extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 medium sized onion, peeled
7 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 c fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (more or less)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (again, more or less)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
Salt (about 1/2 tsp)
1/2 c shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
Extra cheese for top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Put tofu in food processor, and process to desired texture. I then put it into a medium sized bowl, and added the rest of the filling ingredients and stirred it well by hand. You can opt to put all of the filling ingredients in the processor. When filling is ready, place into a plastic bag, snip off corner, and pipe filling into shells. Cover with remaining marinara sauce and cheese. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy.
And seriously, when it looks this good, how can you not enjoy it??