Everyone loves stuffed pasta shells smothered in marinara sauce. Though traditionally a vessel for cheese, our shells are stuffed with a creamy blend of white beans, sautéed kale and garlic for a healthier, lighter take on the traditional dish. Any white bean will work here, but we like cannellini beans for their ease of smashing. These shells also freeze quite nicely, making them ideal for a quick weeknight dinner.

Kale Stuffed Shells With Chunky Marinara Sauce [Vegan]





Cooking Time




For the Stuffed Shells:

  • 12 ounces jumbo shells
  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the Chunky Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)


To Make the Stuffed Shells:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drizzle the shells with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the white beans to a large mixing bowl and smash them with the back of a fork or the bottom of a glass. Once you’ve reached a smooth consistency, set the bowl aside.
  3. On the stove, bring a pan to medium-low heat. Rinse the kale under cold water and without drying it, add it to the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the kale is bright green and tender. Remove from heat and add the kale to the mashed white beans. Then stir in the lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Mix to fully incorporate.

To Make the Chunky Marinara Sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with basil, oregano, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper. Stir well and reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together, stirring periodically. 

To Assemble and Bake the Stuffed Shells:

  1. Pour 1 cup of chunky marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13–inch glass baking dish.
  2. Fill each of the jumbo shells with the bean mixture and place in the baking dish. You should be able to fill about 24 shells.
  3. Pour 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce over the tops of the shells and sprinkle with vegan Parmesan, if desired.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly bubbly. 


Book design by Page Street Publishing Co. Photography by Allie Lehman Cover design by Mette Hornung Rankin https://www.amazon.com/Frugal-Vegan-Affordable-Delicious-Cooking/dp/1624143776/?tag=onegrepla-20


Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 567 | Carbs: 96 g | Fat: 9 g | Protein: 22 g | Sodium: 1000 mg | Sugar: 18 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.