In need of a stress-free recipe? How about this delightful pasta recipe with ricotta? This gluten-free, dairy-free dish is perfect for families with dietary restrictions, featuring nut-free vegan ricotta that adds a creamy, satisfying touch. Prepped in just 20 minutes, this ricotta pasta recipe is a lifesaver when time is short, and the whole family will love the flavors.
Hey there, fellow gluten-free friend! Remember when finding tasty gluten-free pasta felt like searching for a needle in a haystack? When you did come across a 10-dollar package it would either clump together or be hard and chewy!
Well, let me tell you, times have changed, and our weeknight dinners are about to get a whole lot better. Over the years (I've been gluten-free for almost a decade now), I've seen a pasta revolution unfold.
These new pasta varieties are total game-changers, cooking up just like regular pasta, holding sauces like a champ, and staying firm for baked recipes. And since then we have been pasta lovers once again! This cheap and easy spaghetti bolognese is one of our favorites.
So, buckle up and get ready to dive into a world of delicious, easy pasta recipes that are gluten-free and simply amazing!
👪Why your family will love this pasta recipe
- Quick and easy: This simple recipe is perfect for busy moms, taking the stress out of weeknight meals. It's an easy pasta recipe that comes together in no time, giving you more precious moments with your family.
- Healthy and satisfying: Made with fresh ingredients, this vegan ricotta recipe offers a creamy sauce that's both healthy and delicious. No more compromising on taste to meet dietary needs!
- Meal prep-friendly: This dish can easily be incorporated into your meal prep routine, making your life even easier.
- Leftovers for days: Not only is it scrumptious, but it's also filling, leaving you with leftovers for an effortless lunch the next day.
- Versatile: Double the batch of vegan ricotta and tomato sauce and make lasagna for your next meal!
This pasta recipe with ricotta ticks all the boxes for busy families, providing a tasty, healthy, and hassle-free meal that everyone will adore. Savor the convenience and deliciousness of this creamy, satisfying dish that solves your mealtime challenges.
🥒For picky eaters
- Customizable: This recipe is versatile and can be adjusted to suit even the most selective taste buds. It's a winner for moms struggling to please picky eaters.
- Kid-friendly: The familiar pasta shape and creamy sauce make it a hit with kids. No more mealtime battles!
- Veggie dipping: Speaking from experience, as a mom of a picky eater myself, I've found that serving the pasta separate from the ricotta works wonders. My little one loves dipping his veggies in the ricotta, making it a fun and interactive meal.
- Flavorful, but not overwhelming: The dish boasts a delicious taste without being overpowering, ensuring it appeals to both adventurous and cautious eaters alike.
Moms, rejoice! This pasta recipe with ricotta offers a solution for picky eaters, with its customizable, kid-friendly, and flavorful qualities. Transform mealtime from a struggle into an enjoyable experience with this adaptable and delectable dish.
✔️AtMtTable kid-approved rating: ⅔
With three boys at home, I've learned to adapt recipes to different preferences. It seems there's always kiddo wanting a dish presented differently! In our case, usually, the concern is over a new texture, a new look, or just feeling intimidated over having to eat it all! I share a few tips over in this post if you want to know more.
One trick I've discovered is deconstructing meals, like with this pasta recipe with ricotta.
For example, two of my boys love this dish as-is, but my third isn't a pasta fan, especially with tomato sauce. So, I serve him the pasta shells and tofu ricotta separately, and he loves dipping his veggies into the ricotta. By making these small adjustments, I ensure that everyone enjoys their meal and feels comfortable with the textures and flavors.
🧠Nourish your family's Brain
- Gluten-free pasta shells: This recipe is ideal for kids with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. We learned the hard way that maintaining a gluten-free diet can really help reduce symptoms and support overall health. And considering the brain-gut connection this can have an indirect effect on better cognitive function and mental well-being (1,2).
- Tofu: As a plant-based protein, tofu provides amino acids that help build neurotransmitters essential for communication between brain cells (3).
- Nutritional yeast: Rich in B vitamins, including B12, which is crucial in maintaining nerve cell health and cognitive function (4). This is an excellent addition to vegan diets because of its B12 content.
- Dill, garlic, and lemon: These ingredients contain bioactive compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation (5,6).
Serve this easy pasta dish, backed by research, to support your family's brain health.
⏲️ Time-saving tip
Pressed for time? Aren't we always? Try these time-saving tips to enjoy your stuffed pasta dish even faster!
Make ahead: Prepare the tofu ricotta in advance and store it in the fridge for a stress-free cooking experience. OR prepare the entire recipe until step 4 (baking) and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready follow step 4.
Use store-bought sauce: Opt for a high-quality store-bought sauce to cut down on prep time.
Cook shells first: Get the pasta shells boiling while prepping other ingredients to speed up the process.
Skip pre-boiling (optional): If you're in a real hurry, you can skip pre-boiling the shells, but note that the texture may be different (more al dente).
This easy recipe uses simple ingredients. Making the fresh ricotta ahead of time is a great option and can be used in other dishes like lasagna, dips, or cream sauces. You can check out the full recipe here but I have also included the ingredients in this post (to enusre you have all the ingredients before you start).
Here is what you will need:
- Gluten-free pasta shells: The base of this scrumptious dish, provides a tasty alternative for those with gluten sensitivities.
- Extra-firm tofu: Creates a creamy vegan ricotta that's satisfying and versatile and add some extra protein to this dish.
- Marinara sauce: Adds rich, flavorful depth to the dish. Check the sauce ingredients to ensure it is GF and vegan.
- Dill: Fresh herbs always bring a touch of freshness and brighten the flavors.
- Garlic: Enhances the overall taste of the ricotta with its savory aroma.
- Lemon: A splash of citrus to balance and elevate the flavors of the tofu ricotta. Add in some lemon zest for a creamy lemon ricotta pasta recipe.
- Nutritional yeast: Offers a cheesy, nutty flavor boost while providing essential nutrients to the tofu ricotta.
- Salt and black pepper: Just a pinch to season and bring out the best in all the ingredients.
- Extra virgin olive oil
💭Recipe tips & tricks
To ensure your gluten-free pasta cooks perfectly:
- Avoid overcooking: Keep an eye on the cooking time to prevent your vegan gluten-free pasta from turning mushy.
- Rinse after draining: This step helps avoid stickiness and improves the overall texture.
- Pick the ideal pasta: Explore various gluten-free pasta shells, and look for brands with minimize additives. Rice or a blend of rice and corn works best for this recipe.
- Pre-boil before baking: Check the package instructions, however, I found that for optimal results, it is best to boil the shells until al dente. Even if the package suggests they're oven-ready.
Keep these suggestions in mind to master your gluten-free pasta dishes and delight your family!
With only a handful of ingredients even beginner chefs can master this easy vegan gluten-free pasta recipe:
Step 1: Prepare the ricotta:
Prepare your tofu ricotta using this recipe. Simply place all the ingredients for fresh ricotta in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Step 2: Boil the shells
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Boil a large pot of salted water, and add the pasta shells. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly soft and pliable. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent overcooking.
Step 3: Assemble!
This is a great time to rally the kiddos and get them involved! To an oven-safe pan, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom. No need to cook sauce if you are using a store bought version.
Arrange the pasta shells on top, open side up. Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of tofu ricotta. Drizzle the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce over the shells.
Step 4: Get cooking
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the shells are fully cooked and golden on top.
Enjoy this delightful dish filled with fresh ingredients and a creamy sauce that's perfect for meal prep or a satisfying weeknight dinner.
🥬Substitutions & Variations
Here are some substitutionsuggestions for this ricotta recipe:
- Tofu ricotta substitute: If you're not a fan of tofu, you can use store-bought vegan ricotta or try making your own with cashews or almonds (be mindful of nut allergies).
- Pasta shell substitute: If you're unable to find gluten-free pasta shells or prefer a different shape, try using gluten-free penne, fusilli, or even lasagna noodles as an alternative. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Now for some variations to this recipe:
- Spinach ricotta mixture: Add thawed frozen or fresh spinach to the tofu ricotta mixture for an extra boost of nutrients and flavor. This variation works great for both pasta shells and lasagna. You can also add in some fresh basil or fresh arugula if you don't have spinach on hand.
- Lasagna: Use the tofu ricotta and sauce as a base for a delicious gluten-free and vegan lasagna. Layer gluten-free lasagna noodles, tofu ricotta mixture, and marinara sauce, and bake until bubbly and golden.
- Creamy ricotta pasta alternative: Transform the tofu ricotta into a creamy lemon ricotta sauce by adding more oat milk. Use this sauce in place of the marinara for a deliciously creamy pasta dish.
Experiment with these variations to create a dish that perfectly suits your taste buds and dietary preferences!
🥡Storage and reheating
Fridge: Cover the ricotta stuffed pasta shells with foil or place them in a sealed airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy them within this time frame for optimal taste and texture.
Reheating: When you are ready to reheat, simply place your pasta recipe into a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed.
Freezing: We don't recommend freezing this dish, as the texture of the tofu ricotta may become grainy upon thawing. This recipe is best enjoyed fresh or within a few days of refrigeration.
Remember, as with most recipes, these ricotta-stuffed pasta shells are best served fresh but can still be enjoyed as leftovers!
🥣Make this next…
If you are looking for more delcious weeknight dinner recipes be sure to check out these:
- 12 epic vegan recipes to make for non vegans
- 8 ingredient fluffy gluten free waffles recipe
- High protein vegan Sheppard pie recipe
- High protein meal prep meatballs recipe
Easy Baked Pasta Recipe, Stuffed Shells With Tofu Ricotta
- 1 Food processor
- 5 cups tomato sauce
- 1 package pasta shells gluten free
- 1 extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup oat milk or soy
- 1 bunch dill
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Make your tofu ricotta, the recipe can be found here.(Quick notes: add all the ingredients for the ricotta into a food processor and blend until smooth)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Boil a large pot of salted water, and add the pasta shells. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly soft and pliable. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent overcooking.* do not overcook the shells
- In an oven-safe pan, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange the pasta shells on top, open side up.
- Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of tofu ricotta. Drizzle the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce over the shells.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the shells are fully cooked and golden on top.
- Lebwohl, B., Sanders, D. S., & Green, P. H. R. (2018). Coeliac disease. Lancet, 391(10115), 70-81.
- Cryan, J. F., & Dinan, T. G. (2012). Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(10), 701-712.
- Institute of Medicine. (2005). Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids. National Academies Press.
- Allen, L. H. (2009). How common is vitamin B-12 deficiency? The American journal of clinical nutrition, 89(2), 693S-696S.
- Kumar, G. P., & Khanum, F. (2012). Neuroprotective potential of phytochemicals. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 6(12), 81-90.
- Serafini, M., Peluso, I., & Raguzzini, A. (2010). Flavonoids as anti-inflammatory agents. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 69(3), 273-278.