Spinach “Ricotta” Filling

As promised, here is one of the recipes from my week of veganism. I know that a lot of you may snub this recipe (I know I would) because tofu is subbing in for ricotta, but you really must try it! The cashew cream helps give the mixture a rich, creamy dairy-like flavor, and the nutritional yeast flakes provide a nutty, slightly cheesy flavor. Vegetarians are really into nutritional yeast flakes, but I never really got into them because I thought they were too weird and healthy. They are an excellent source of B12, and can be found in health food stores and in the bulk bins at Sun Harvest. I’m gonna try to use them more.

I took this recipe from The Conscious Cook, and tweaked it because I didn’t have white miso paste, granulated onion, or vegan won ton wraps. I was not keen on making my own pasta dough as the recipe calls for. The recipe that I tweaked was “free-form ravioli with tofu ricotta and arugula pesto.”

I boiled jumbo pasta shells and stuffed them with this mixture. I spread spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a baking pan, placed the stuffed shells on top, and topped them with more sauce. I covered the pan with foil and popped it an a 350° toaster oven for about 15 minutes. This mixture is completely versatile! Use it in lasagna, toss with your favorite pasta, stuff won ton wraps to make ravioli, etc.

Make sure that you have made the cashew cream the night before. The recipe can be found on Chef Tal’s site.

Spinach Tofu Ricotta Filling
Fills 10-12 jumbo shells

8 oz. extra firm silken tofu
1 ½ tsp. nutritional yeast flakes
½ tsp. granulated garlic
Juice of ½ a lemon
¼ c. thick Cashew Cream
½ tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
about 1 c.  frozen spinach, thawed
Your choice of seasonings (I used crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, rosemary, & basil)

Place the tofu in a medium sized bowl, and crumble with hands or a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until ingredients are incorporated.

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