Dinner, Healthy, Pasta, Vegan

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Sunflower Pesto

These vegan pesto stuffed shells are definitely my go to if I’m in the mood for a big cozy meal, especially in the winter months. The pasta is filled with a creamy tofu ricotta, a fresh basil pesto made with sunflower seeds and a layer of marinara sauce that really brings it all together. Made with simple ingredients, these shells can be on the table in under an hour!

Vegan stuffed shells with sunflower pesto recipe

A few notes—

  • If using a cast iron skillet make sure it’s very well seasoned or the acidity of the tomatoes will cause iron to leach, giving it a slightly metallic taste. If you’re worried about it, place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom and pour over the sauce.
  • Since there aren’t many ingredients in this recipe, using high quality tomato sauce goes a long way. I like Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce. You can also make your own!
Vegan skillet stuffed shells and easy basil pesto photography

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Sunflower Pesto

Course: Dinner, VeganDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



These easy, vegan pesto stuffed shells are made with a creamy tofu ricotta, easy sunflower seed pesto and make for the perfect healthier comfort meal for any night of the week!


  • For the shells
  • 1/2 lb jumbo pasta shells

  • 1 recipe Easy Vegan Ricotta

  • 3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)

  • For the sunflower pesto
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • Juice from 1 lemon

  • 2 cups basil

  • 1 cup arugula

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Cook pasta shells al dente according to the package instructions. When done, place the shells in a bowl of ice water so they don’t stick together.
  • While the pasta cooks, make the pesto. In the bowl of a food processor of high speed blender, pulse together sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, lemon, basil, arugula and salt. If it seems too thick, add another tbsp of olive oil. Taste and add more salt if desired.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F. To assemble the shells, spread the marinara sauce across the bottom of a large baking dish or skillet. Working with one shell at a time, spoon about 2 tbsp of ricotta and 1 tbsp of pesto in each. Place the filled shells in the baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the ricotta is golden brown.
  • Serve warm with fresh basil.