Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Tofu

  • Serves: 6; 3 shells per person


Unless you tell, no one will ever guess that tofu provides the creaminess in this dish, a delicious blend of typical Italian flavors.


18 dried jumbo pasta shells
Vegetable oil spray
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions (green and white parts)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced, or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
14 ounces soft or silken reduced-fat tofu, drained if necessary
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, stems removed, leaves minced
Whites of 2 large eggs, egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg, or 1 large egg
2 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups fat-free tomato-based meatless pasta sauce
12 ounces no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions

Cook the shells using the package directions, omitting the salt and oil. Carefully rinse in cool water. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the skillet from the heat and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray (being careful not to spray near a gas flame). Cook the spinach, green onions, and garlic until any liquid has evaporated and the spinach is warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the spinach to a large bowl.

Crumble the tofu into the spinach mixture. Mash the tofu with a fork, breaking it into very small pieces, about the same size as the spinach pieces. Stir in the basil.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper; whisk together. Stir into the spinach mixture.

In a medium bowl, stir together the pasta sauce and tomato sauce. Pour half the sauce into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

Fill the shells with the spinach mixture. Arrange the shells in a single layer in the baking dish. Top with the remaining sauce and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.

Cook's Tip

Starting from scratch is the best way to have a low-sodium spaghetti or pasta sauce. When you want the convenience of a prepared sauce, however, be sure to read the nutrition label and choose the sauce with the least amount of sodium. You can dilute the sodium by mixing 2 parts sauce with 1 part no-salt-added tomato sauce.

Also: If you have leftover tofu, you can puree it and use it in place of sour cream, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, or mayonnaise. Since it has virtually no flavor, tofu is also good for adding creaminess to a variety of food from smoothies to scrambled eggs. You can freeze tofu, but the texture changes. Crumble thawed tofu and add it to sauces, casseroles, and stews for extra protein.

Nutritional Analysis
Per serving
Calories Per Serving
Total Fat
2.5 g
Saturated Fat
1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat
.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat
.5 g
2 mg
364 mg
33 g
4 g
8 g
14 g

Dietary Exchanges

1 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 very lean meat

This recipe is reprinted with permission from the American Heart Association Low-Calorie Cookbook, Copyright © 2004 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Available from booksellers everywhere.