Okay there is a lot of controversy in tofu and if it is safe to consume because of the soy, particularly when it comes to breast cancer. I will reference here because there is lots of information out there and good research out there that shows soy is beneficial to you. Tofu is a good source of protein, iron and calcium and contains no cholesterol. It also contains isoflavones that have been shown to help protect against some cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Alright, I am going to be honest with you here……In the past I was not a tofu lover …..and I am still not 100% lover of tofu…..I think it might be a texture thing or something with me….. but ….I can eat it if it is creamed in something, made crispy or chopped very good….but big hunks of tofu with sauce on it does not appeal to me….So having said that I have seen so many recipes out there about using tofu for ricotta cheese substitute and I thought that was so gross!…….now before my daughter was diagnosed by an allergy test that she is actually allergic to milk and all casein products….I say all that because a lot of people are quick to say Oh she is lactose intolerant….no she is actually allergic….breaks out in hives, body swells amongst other things…and I will one day share a post on how I came to find that out because her milk allergy did not start out that way….. it was a slow manifestation of an allergy…
Okay back to the tofu stuff! So before she was allergic to milk, she loved stuffed shells….. and to be honest I never really made them, but she would have them at school and would come home asking for them and I was not a fan of using all that cheese, so I would not make it….but fast forward now a couple of years later…I am no longer consuming dairy and she is no longer “allowed” to have dairy and I have been eyeing this tofu ricotta cheese thing…..but I could not get past the thought of….. does tofu really taste like ricotta cheese??…..SO, one day I was like okay!…. I am going to try it and I searched for different recipes and if you need to know something about me…I don’t follow recipes unless it a baking recipe of some sort…I kinda look at a bunch of recipes and then take some things from one, some things from another and then substitute things with what I do or don’t have in the house….So that is how my tofu “ricotta cheese” recipe came about…..Here is a pic of the ingredients of what you need for your tofu ricotta!
You will blend this all up in a food processor and to your delight….or to my delight…when I tasted it the first time I made it…I was like “wow” it actually does taste like ricotta cheese except without all of the harmful fat and calories and……. do not be scared off by all the basil….it is actually necessary and just think of the added nutrients you are getting! This dish instantly became a family favorite and my little one absolutely loves it! You can also use this recipe for baked manicotti and for lasagna or anything else in that realm of ricotta cheese things! Bon appetite!
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1 small onion roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 7 oz extra firm tofu 1/2 of 15oz pack or if you can find 1/2 packs that are 7 oz
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice start with 1 tbsp and add more if need to after tasting
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 20 dry pasta shells approx 1/2 12oz box
- Favorite tomato sauce
Start making the pasta shells according to box. Then take all the rest of the ingredients and put them into a food processor and blend until creamy. Then taste if you feel it needs more lemon juice and/or salt or pepper then add more and give a quick blend.
After the shells are done, drain them and let them cool a bit until you can handle them.
Next take the baking dish and spread some sauce at the bottom of the pan. Then take the "tofu ricotta cheese" out a of the food processor and start stuffing your shells. When you are done spread some tomato sauce over the top of the shells and cover with foil and bake just until everything if warmed back up in a 350 F oven for approx 10-15mins.
Please note: For the main picture shot I just made a single serving of shells and added some slice raw tomatoes on top and baked off until everything was nice and bubbly warm! Enjoy! Hopefully this will become a family favorite in your home as it did mine!