Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells! Summery, comforting basil pasta fun is all we can think about right now. You won’t want to miss this delicious dish!
Healthy, rich, and herbaceous, this oil-free Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells dish is total pasta heaven. Unstuffed jumbo pasta shells, spicy tomatoey goodness, meaty mushrooms, nutty lentils, and fresh basil shine in this wholesome dish. Little kids and big kids alike love scooping up those jumbo shells in each delectable bite!
Whole Food Plant Based, Vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients and gluten free.
Hi there, Ameera here!
This Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells dish is so tasty and full of Italian flavors. Fresh basil really boosts the flavor profile into the next level of deliciousness and perfectly compliments the dish.
This dish is designed to be low in fat but can be easily ramped up to add some indulgency by adding Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
Tips for Success:
- Amount of Pasta: While it is very tempting to use a full pound of pasta, we strongly recommend using the ingredient amount listed, no more than 12 oz. If you use more than the listed amount, you could end up with a drier pasta dish as the pasta really drinks up the sauce. Note: If you use a different pasta, adjust the amount accordingly.
- Low-Fat Dish: This dish was designed to be low in fat. Because it is low in fat, you are not going to experience that endorphin rush associated with eating high-fat foods when eating this dish. It is very tasty for what it is, and that is a low-fat dish. We just want to make sure that our Readers recognize this when contemplating making this recipe. If you wish to make it more indulgent, add the Vegan Parmesan Cheese on individual servings. The vegan parm totally takes it over the top.
- Lentils Substitutions: You can substitute the lentils for a complimentary bean, like a navy bean.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes. We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity (from the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and petite diced tomatoes) without losing the tomatoey flavor. When you add it, the mixture will bubble up, then settle down as it neutralizes the acidity.
- Red Pepper Flakes: The spiciness comes from the red pepper flakes. Our family was totally divided over how much red pepper flakes should be used in this dish. Our suggestion is to wait to put it in the sauce until the very end, then start low and build from there.
Leftovers and Freezing:
Leftovers will generally keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Store in a covered container. Reheating can be done on the stovetop, or in the microwave.
This dish can be frozen but is best served immediately after making. The pasta does tend to get mushy when frozen. If frozen, for best results, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Pantry Products Used:
- Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
- Lentils: We used Delallo Imported Italian Lentils. They come in a 14 oz. can. Most grocery stores carry them in the specialty aisles. If using dry lentils, select lentils that hold their shape after cooking. Cook dry lentils separately, adjust time accordingly. If cooking dry lentils, use 1 2/3 cups of cooked
- Tamari: We used San J Tamari Soy Sauce, Gluten Free, Reduced Sodium. You can substitute the tamari with reduced sodium soy sauce, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or Braggs Coconut Liquid Aminos.
- Dried Thyme Crushed Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. It has amazing flavor. If you can’t find dried crushed thyme leaves, you can use ground thyme, but use half the amount.
Kitchen Products Used:
- Large non-stick skillet or similarly large skillet with a tight-fitting lid
- Stockpot (for boiling pasta)
We certainly hope you give this deliciousness a try.Print
Healthy, rich, and herbaceous, this oil-free Unstuffed Spicy Tomato Basil Shells dish is total pasta heaven.
- 1 medium yellow onion, fine dice
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms (optional) *
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 – [ 8 oz. can ] tomato sauce
- 1 – [ 14 oz. can ] petite diced tomatoes
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium tamari *
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon sea salt *
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 – [ 14 oz. can ] brown lentils, drained and rinsed *
- 8 to 12 oz. jumbo pasta shells (or pasta of choice) *
- ¼ cup (2/3 oz.) fresh basil, chopped
- Freshly chopped basil
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Fill a large stock pot full of water. Add some sea salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil then add the pasta. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check package directions on cooking times and/or boil the pasta until al dente, drain, rinse with cold water to remove any excess starch, shake well, set aside.
- Place the Spice/Herb Ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, set aside.
- In a large ceramic/enamel lined skillet (or similarly large nonstick skillet) add the finely diced onions, sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 10 minutes until tender. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to prevent overbrowning or burning.
- If adding mushrooms, add now with a splash of water, sauté for several minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and tomato paste, sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Then add all the remaining Skillet Ingredients except the baking soda, stir well to combine.
- Add the Spice/Herb Mix, stir well. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Add the baking soda, stir to combine. Continue to simmer for 7 minutes.
- After 7 minutes, add the lentils, cooked pasta and freshly chopped basil. Stir to combine. Simmer for several minutes, then remove from the stove and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve topped with freshly chopped parsley and/or Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
*Please reference the blog post for Tips for Success, Pantry Items Used, Storage and Freezing, and Kitchen Products Used.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Serving: 4 to 5
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