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This recipe for spinach stuffed shells features tender, jumbo pasta shells filled to the brim with a tasty mixture of garlic, parmesan, ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, and Italian seasonings. Covered with a layer of bubbly marinara sauce, this is the most delicious way to load up on carbs!
Don’t get me wrong, I love all pasta, but there’s something about stuffed pasta that makes it so irresistible! Here are a few more of my favorite recipes that you should try next: creamy Tuscan ravioli, manicotti, and three cheese stuffed shells!
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good stuffed shell? They’re the perfect comfort food – cheesy, saucy, and packed with flavor. But let’s also be honest, sometimes they can feel like a project. Between boiling the pasta, sautéing the filling, and layering everything just right, it’s enough to make you want to order takeout. Enter this spinach stuffed shells recipe – it’s like a hug on a plate, but without the fuss.
This recipe is seriously easy. Everything comes together in a flash! The filling is a dreamy combo of ricotta, parmesan, and garlic, and the Italian seasoning adds a touch of magic. Plus, who can resist melty mozzarella on top? This dish is guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters in your family (ahem, my youngest who claims she doesn’t like spinach… but magically devours these shells every time). So ditch the Italian takeout menus and whip up this easy, cheesy masterpiece. You can even whip up a batch of these copycat Olive Garden breadsticks to complete the meal. Your taste buds (and your family) will thank you!
This recipe is Picky Eater Approved!
A lineup of Italian essentials! Each ingredient gives this dish amazing flavor that makes it so irresistible. Even your picky eaters will be begging for seconds.
- Jumbo Shells: These are your edible vessels, ready to be stuffed with cheesy goodness.
- Spinach: Leafy greens for the win! Frozen or fresh, both work. Just remember, frozen needs a quick squeeze to wring out any excess water. (You don’t want your dish to end up too watery.)
- Ricotta Cheese: Creamy, dreamy base for the filling. Full-fat is best, but part-skim works in a pinch. Just add a pinch of extra salt if you go light.
- Parmesan Cheese: Salty, nutty punch of flavor. Sprinkle some in the filling, then pile on more for that irresistible cheesy crust.
- Garlic: So your spinach stuffed shells have the best savory flavor. Don’t skimp! Freshly minced is best, but jarred works too if you’re in a pinch.
- Italian Seasoning: Tasty herbs in a bottle, like oregano, basil, and thyme.
- Salt & Pepper: Trusty flavor boosters. Add to taste so the flavor is to your liking!
- Marinara Sauce: Some sauciness to cover the shells with- chunky or smooth, classic or spicy, whatever you want! You can also try making your own.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Stretchy, gooey, melty heaven. Pile it on top of your spinach stuffed shells for that golden brown, bubbly finish. No pasta bake is complete without it!
- Extra Parmesan for Garnish: Because, well, more cheese is always a good idea. Plus, it makes your dish look fancy (even if it took thirty minutes to whip up).
How to Make Spinach Stuffed Shells
Spinach stuffed shells are one of my new favorite dinners to make for my family. They cook up in 30 minutes and are so delicious every time!
- Preheat Oven, Prepare Baking Dish: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions and then set aside.
- Cook Spinach: In a skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water and the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and the water has evaporated.
- Filling Mixture: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Once everything is well combined, stir in the spinach.
- Add Sauce to Pan, Stuff Shells: Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the baking dish. Stuff each shell with the ricotta filling, about a tablespoon, and arrange them in a single layer, filling side up, in the pan.
- Bake and Enjoy: Pour the remaining marinara sauce around and on the spinach stuffed shells. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the shells and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browning.
These spinach stuffed shells store beautifully. Just let them cool, then cover the pan tight with plastic wrap or pop them in an airtight container. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can Spinach Stuffed Shells Be Frozen?
Yes, they sure can! Wrap the pan well and they’ll last up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then bake covered at 375°F until bubbly and hot. The microwave also works for individual portions – just add a splash of water or sauce to keep everything moist.
Preparing Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells Ahead of Time
Assemble and fill the shells the night before, cover, and refrigerate. When dinnertime rolls around, just pop your baking dish in the oven and cook as usual. Voila! Instant comfort food with zero last-minute stress.
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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions and set aside.
In a skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water and the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and the water has evaporated.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Once everything is well combined, stir in the spinach.
Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the baking dish. Stuff each shell with the ricotta filling, about a tablespoon, and arrange them in a single layer, filling side up, in the pan.
Pour the remaining marinara sauce around and on the shells. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the shells and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browning.
Calories: 544kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 30gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 1451mgPotassium: 851mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 4782IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 517mgIron: 4mg
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.