Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells. Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheese. Topped with marinara and baked until tender and gooey. Served with fresh basil! This dinner is ready in 45 minutes or less and is vegetarian!
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Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Stuffed shells are one of my favorite meals to make. Tender pasta shells stuffed with cheese and baked with pasta sauce until warm and gooey. To me they are comfort food at it’s finest.
The jumbo shells are stuffed with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, spinach, onions and garlic. They are full of flavor!
- Jumbo Pasta Shells: Are cooked in salted water until al dente before baking. Make sure not to overcook the pasta.
- Onions & Garlic: Are added to give the ricotta stuffed shells lots of flavor.
- Spinach: I prefer to use fresh spinach however frozen spinach can be substituted. You can also substitute the spinach for kale in this recipe if you have it on hand.
- Cheese: I use a blend of ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. I recommend buying the blocks of parmesan and mozzarella and shredding them yourself. They will add so much more flavor and won’t add as much water to the cheese stuffed shells.
- Tomato Sauce: Use your favorite jar of marinara or use homemade tomato sauce.
- Seasonings: I add in salt and pepper to taste.
How to make stuffed shells
- Boil Pasta: Until al dente according to package directions.
- Saute Veggies: Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until tender about 3-4 minutes. Next add in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Make Filling: Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl and add in ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Assemble: Spread about 1/2 of the sauce in the bottom of a 8 x8 or 9 x 9 baking dish. Stuff shells with the spinach cheese mixture and place in the baking dish. Top with the remaining sauce.
- Bake: In a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.
- Serve: The Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese.
- Store: Leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheat: In a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Stuffed shells with meat: I kept this vegetarian however you can add in spicy sausage for a kick or shredded chicken for added protein.
- Sauce: Instead of the jared marinara use your favorite homemade tomato sauce recipe. Vodka sauce or Alfredo sauce would also be delicious in this!
- Extra Veggies: This is a great recipe to sneak in extra vegetables. I like to finely chop up carrots and celery and add it to my tomato sauce.
Can I use frozen spinach?
Fresh or frozen spinach can be used in this recipe. Just make sure if you are using frozen spinach to defrost it and drain all of the extra moisture from the spinach. If you don’t the ziti will get soggy and watery.
Can I freeze stuffed shells?
Yes! These stuffed pasta shells freeze beautifully! Whenever I make this recipe I always double it and freeze the extra pan. This stuffed shells recipe will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed the next day!
Can this be made ahead?
Yes! These easy stuffed shells can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking.
What to serve with Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Dinner Rolls
- Easy Homemade Focaccia
- Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Honey Roasted Carrots
Here are more Easy Pasta Recipes to try!
- Easy Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Crockpot Chicken Alfredo Recipe
- Pasta with Garlic and Oil
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Spaghetti Pea Carbonara
- One Pan Mexican Pasta
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 12-14 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- basil for serving, if desired
- extra parmesan cheese for serving, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta until al dente according to package directions.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until tender about 3-4 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl and add in ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Spread about 1/2 of the sauce in the bottom of a 8 x8 or 9 x 9 baking dish.
- Stuff shells with the spinach cheese mixture and place in the baking dish.
- Top with the remaining sauce and bake for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.
- Serve immediately with basil and parmesan cheese, if desired.