Vegetarian Taco Stuffed Shells

These shells are so delicious. For some reason I adore taco flavored things and when I saw a taco stuffed shell idea on pinterest I knew I had to make it. Here, jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with a taco-flavored veggie mixture which are cooked over a bed of salsa and smothered in taco sauce and cheese. I decided to go vegetarian for these shells and “healthify” the recipe a bit by using lower fat dairy products. And to be quite honest, I was happy enough eating the filling without the salsa, taco sauce, and cheese- it’s that good. Even though the dish is veggie based, meat eaters probably won’t notice because the taco flavor (typically associated with meat) is prevalent and there are a multitude of textures from the corn, black beans, mushroom and squash. It’s a great family recipe and a great recipe to freeze- I’ll definitely be making this one again.

Vegetarian Taco Stuffed Shells
Serves about 6
Total Time: 1 hour

• 1 tablespoon oil
• 8 oz white mushrooms, cleaned and medium diced
• 1/2 medium yellow onion, medium diced
• 1 medium zucchini, medium diced
• 1 small yellow squash, medium diced
• 2 ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels removed
• 1 package low sodium taco seasoning
• 1 cup canned black beans, drained
• 2 oz. low fat cream cheese
• 26 jumbo pasta shells
• 1 1/2 cups salsa (medium)
• 1 cup taco sauce (mild or medium)
• 1- 1 1/2 cups 2% Mexican cheese
• Garnish: Sour cream, 3 green onions, black olives

Preheat oven to 350°F and set a pot of water on to boil. In a frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the mushrooms until golden brown, stirring rarely to allow browning, about 7 minutes. Add the onion, zucchini, and squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add corn, taco seasoning, beans, and cream cheese and simmer until cheese is melted.

Season the water generously with salt and cook the pasta shells until al dente; drain. Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with the vegetable mixture. Place shells in pan open side up.

Cover shells with taco sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 15 more minutes, with the foil removed. If desired, broil the shells for 3 minutes to crisp up the cheese even more (I love crispy cheese and crispy pasta pieces). Garnish with sour cream, green onions, black olives, extra salsa etc.

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