This Creamy Vegan Beef & Shells dish is an easy one pot dinner made entirely in a pressure cooker. It’s like homemade hamburger helper, with beefless crumbles and pasta in a tomato cream sauce and very kid-friendly!
Comfort food. It can be defined differently for everyone, but I don’t think I’ve ever really met anyone that doesn’t have at least one food or dish that brings them feel good memories.
A lot of mine have to do with special occasions or staple meals my mom would make me as a kid, but recently I thought about a comfort food that takes me back to some of the best summer’s of my life at summer camp!
Granted, not ALL of the food at my sleep-away camp was great. But at the end of each session when the parents would come to pick everyone up, the cook’s would make this pasta dish, sort of like a goulash, that always had me going back for seconds!
The perfectly cooked pasta was covered in a rich red sauce, yet was creamy and beefy at the same time. And there was always enough to feed an army, since the whole camp plus parents and families had to eat.
Since we’re nearing the end of summer, I started to reminisce about those end of camp days. Carefree days of capture the flag and old camp songs passed down from older to younger campers. I also thought of that special ‘end of camp’ meal again and thought it would be fun (and a challenge since I don’t eat red meat!) to try and recreate it at home.
From what I remember the pasta, was always always shells! I went to that camp 3 years in row for multiple sessions and at the end of every session on the last day for parents and campers, the pasta feast was always made with shell pasta. No complaints here, since that’s my favorite pasta shape!
Creamy Vegan Beef and Shells
So I headed to my local grocery store and picked up a bag of shells. From there, I decided I was going to make the whole dish VEGAN, so I needed to find plant-based alternatives to ground beef, cheese, and half and half.
With my ingredients in hand, I whipped out my mom’s Instant Pot® and got to work.
I am happy to report, the result was 1000x better than the original!?
Creamy Vegan Instant Pot® Beef & Shells
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main Meals
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ large sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 12 oz meatless gluten-free beefless crumbles
- 2 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 1-pound bag of gluten-free shell pasta
- 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce (make sure it’s vegan!)
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vegan creamer (I used Califia Farms)
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Parmela Creamery)
- Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting, and wait for the display to turn to hot.
- Add olive oil, tomatoes, and onions, and cook until slightly soft.
- Add meatless crumbles, break up with spatula, and cook until heated through, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to pot.
- Season with sea salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, and garlic powder, and hit cancel on the Instant Pot.
- Add shells over meatless crumbles, then add the marinara sauce and water. Do not stir, but press the pasta down lightly with spoon to ensure it is completely covered with sauce and water.
- Place lid on Instant Pot, close, and make sure vent is set to the sealing position.
- Hit pressure cook for 8 minutes.
- When pressure cooking is done, do a quick release, then remove lid and hit cancel to turn cooker off.
- Stir in creamer and cheese. Keep stirring until cheese is melted and fully incorporated.
- Serve hot!
Comfort Food in the Instant Pot
This Creamy Vegan Beef & Shells dish is so easy to put together and takes less than 10 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot®. Gotta love healthy pressure cooker meals!
The gluten-free pasta, combined with the meatless crumbles, marinara sauce, and tomatoes, makes for a perfectly balanced meal with carbs, protein, and vegetables that the WHOLE family will love. I’ve never had Hamburger Helper myself, but one person who tried this recipe said that this is like the “grown-up, sophisticated VEGAN version” of that! I’ll take it.
Try it for yourself and you may just find your new favorite comfort food!
What is one of your comfort foods?
What’s your favorite kind of pasta dish?
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