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February 23, 2016

by Alyssa

Vegan Ricotta + Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

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These quinoa stuffed mushrooms will remind you of Italian stuffed shells, but in a much more nutritious way. They're vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free!

VEGAN RICOTTA + QUINOA STUFFED MUSHROOMS -- this takes the place of stuffed shells and taste better too!

Can food as comforting as stuffed shells actually be turned into something nutritious?

The old me would have said no way. Not a chance. The new me? I jump at the opportunity to prove the old me wrong.

So that's what we have today. Healthy stuffed shells without ANY of the usual suspects…including the shells. Instead, it's quinoa stuffed mushrooms filled with a dreamy cashew + spinach ricotta, covered in a thick red sauce. Reminiscent of a childhood favorite, reimagined with the health benefits in mind.

These VEGAN stuffed mushrooms are a healthier version of stuffed shells without the dairy OR gluten!

Now I'm not going to sugar-coat anything and tell you that these stuffed mushrooms aren't high in calories, because they kind of are. Anything with a nut-base is going to be on the higher end when it comes to calories (and fat for that matter).

But from the way I look at it, your body is going to feel so much better if you eat a mushroom filled with cashew ricotta and quinoa than it would with a meal made up of a refined-carbohydrate based pasta (the shell) and ultra-pasteurized cow's milk (the cheese). Even if there is a glimpse of something green in there (the spinach), all that other junk is negating any benefits you would see from it.

Rather than something filling and nourishing, it's basically a big plate of sugar with a teeny tiny side of greens.

Easy VEGAN cashew ricotta made with nutritional yeast and italian herbs -- the perfect filling for stuffed shells!

Okay, okay. I might be acting a little dramatic, but I really want to emphasize that eating a meal with lots of nuts is NOT going to make you fat. The healthy fats in nuts are actually really good for you – your body needs fat to properly function, and more specifically your brain needs fat to properly function.

So nuts = good.

Cashews turned into ricotta = even better.

The makings of an AMAZING cashew ricotta filling for quinoa stuffed shells!

The makings of an AMAZING cashew ricotta filling for quinoa stuffed shells!

Can we all just take a moment and agree that the picture above really does look like a ricotta-spinach filling? It's amazing how after all this time of cooking with clean ingredients, my mind still plays tricks on me.

This recipe really couldn't be easier to make. As we've established, the “cheese” is a base of cashews with some nutritional yeast, lemon juice and a few other ingredients to give it a cheese-like flavor. Then mix that all up with some fresh, sautéed spinach, cooked quinoa and a few spices, and you've got the dreamiest vegan cheesy filling on your hands

Once I had my filling made, I was contemplating regular old shells, but decided on mushrooms because a) I thought they would provide a flavor base, b) I knew they would soak up the flavors of the cheese way more and c) we just didn't need all those extra calories from the pasta. This meal was already going to be satisfying, we mind as well get the most bang for our buck and add as many veggies in there as possible!

The most AMAZING vegan quinoa stuffed mushrooms with cashew ricotta and spinach -- a perfect weeknight meal for those who love Italian food but want something simple and healthy

So if you have an Italian comfort food lover in your house, but you want something nutritious and delicious to serve, these quinoa stuffed shells need to go on the menu. I served mine with some pesto zucchini noodles and as a meal that I figured Matt would most certainly despise, his plate was cleared without any complaint. He gobbled it up and said he loved it. If we can convince him, I know you and your family will love it too.

Your turn…

What's your go-to comfort food that you would like to see be remade in a healthy way? This is the kind of recipe that I have the most fun with and so I'm always looking for new ideas! And if you end up making this recipe (or any of the others on this site), don't forget to use #simplyquinoa when you upload a picture. I love to see your creations!

xo Alyssa

Vegan Ricotta + Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms with spinach, garlic and tomato sauce -- the perfect meatless meal!

More Delicious Vegan Comfort Food Recipes to try:

Vegan Ricotta + Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe really couldn't be easier to make. The "cheese" is a base of cashews with some nutritional yeast, lemon juice and a few other ingredients to give it a cheese-like flavor. Then mix that all up with some fresh, sautéed spinach, cooked quinoa and a few spices, and you've got the dreamiest vegan cheesy filling on your hands
Prep Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 346kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
Print Pin
3.58 from 7 votes



  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • In a high powered blender (or food processor), blend the ricotta ingredients until smooth and creamy. It should resemble a soft ricotta. Transfer ricotta to a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and cook until just wilted (either use a little water or oil to help it along if needed). Remove from heat and press any liquid out of the spinach that might have collected in the pan.
  • Add spinach and quinoa to the bowl with the ricotta and stir together until combined.
  • Remove the stems and scrape the gills out of the mushroom caps. Line a baking pan with half of the sauce then arrange mushrooms in the pan. Evenly divide the ricotta spinach mixture between the mushroom caps. Top each with sauce and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until mushrooms are tender.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes then transfer to serving plates and garnish with nutritional yeast and basil (if using).


loosely adapted from Making Thyme for Health


Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 498mg | Potassium: 1229mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2665IU | Vitamin C: 22.2mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 5.7mg



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VEGAN RICOTTA + QUINOA STUFFED MUSHROOMS -- this takes the place of stuffed shells and taste better too!

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. Is it weird that I can’t stop eating the ricotta as I make everything? I think I have an addiction!

  2. […] dinner isn’t complete without stuffed mushrooms, and I love how this recipe for Ricotta and Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms at Simply Quinoa transforms them from appetizer to a hearty side […]

  3. Hey there Alissa – I am prepping for making vegan ricotta, and I am wondering about a few things things:

    — What kind of miso do you use? (white/yellow/red)

    — Is it OK to make the ricotta ahead of time, and to keep it for a day in the fridge, before preparing the stuffed mushrooms?

    — Will leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days?

    • Hi there! Excited to hear how they turn out for you 🙂 You can use any type of miso you’d like – I used white because that’s what I had. You can definitely make the ricotta the day before, you’ll just want to bring it to room temperature before you mix in the other ingredients. And YES! Leftovers will certainly keep – so yum!

  4. Wow. I didn’t know cashews could be made into ricotta. And stuffed mushrooms are right up my alley. Just looking at the pictures is making me hungry.

  5. Hi Alyssa, I always enjoy your recipes and this looks rather lovely…. BUT…. I don’t get the “jar of tomato sauce” ingredient. If I am to go in such lengths to ensure that my meal is healthy, nutritious and clean and even make my own “cashew ricotta”, making a simple tomato marinara sauce is the least I can do. Most jarred tomato sauces are either chockablock full of sugar or sodium or both. It is the easiest thing to make a good thick home made marinara sauce and keep in the freezer portioned out if needed. Just a thought

    • Hi Anna – if you want to go homemade, by all means! However I don’t think that everyone will have that same luxury. I also should have made it a point to mention that I only buy jarred sauces with very clean ingredient lists – no sugars added, no broths, low in sodium, etc. Luckily there are lots of great options out there! But if you have a tomato sauce recipe you love, then these would be delicious with it 🙂 Enjoy!

  6. This looks A-ma-ZING! You have to say it like my 3 yr old son does, sounds more impressing that way. Now I only need to get some miso and I can make it.

  7. Everything about these is just perfect!! I agree that we shouldn’t be afraid of fats – I’d much rather have one of these than a box of processed sugar and cheese. It’s all about healthier swaps! I can’t wait to try these; I bet the mushrooms give it such a good flavor.


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