This is a healthier, you-can-also-make-it-vegan version of classic Italian stuffed shells. Swiss chard is actually a member of the beet family and, despite its name, is native to the regions of the Mediterranean. It is especially high in vitamins A and C, and is rich in iron, calcium, and potassium. If chard is unavailable, spinach may be substituted.
Chard-Stuffed Shells are sure to both nourish and please your family. You can also double the recipe for a group.
12 large pasta shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
1 pound firm tofu, crumbled
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or soy Parmesan cheese
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups tomato-based pasta sauce, bottled or homemade
1. Cook the shells in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until they are al dente, about 10 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and set it aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chard and mushrooms, and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
3. Add the tofu, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a teaspoon, stuff the filling into the shells until well packed. Spread a layer of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a shallow 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the shells on top of the sauce, and pour the remaining sauce over and around the shells.
5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until hot.