May 13, 2013

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Ricotta | Fork Knife Swoon

Growing up, I was one of those bizarre children who actually liked eating vegetables. For a long time, spinach was my very favorite, and I would eat big bowls of it simply steamed, or sometimes with a little sprinkling of cheese. I loved those leafy greens. Before you envy my parents having a child content to munch on spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, tomatoes, or other fresh produce procured in our family vegetable garden, they also lived through my angst-filled adolescent years, and I’m sure they’ll remind you that it all evens out in the end.

Today we still eat a lot of spinach, and I like incorporating it into recipes for a healthy boost. In this dish, we combine quick sauteed spinach with creamy ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, all tucked in to extra-large pasta shells and baked to bubbly goodness. The result is a healthy and hearty baked pasta dish that makes for a crowd-pleasing vegetarian meal.

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Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Ricotta | Fork Knife Swoon

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 16 jumbo pasta shells (Cook a couple of extra shells to allow for a few breaking while the pasta cooks.)
  • 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves, roughly-chopped
  • 12 oz skim-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown, about a minute or two. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt but are still bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. The spinach should be reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, basil and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. Pour 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a shallow 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Stuff each pasta shell with a generous amount of the spinach and ricotta mixture, and place in the baking dish.
  4. Cover with the remaining sauce and bake covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top begins to brown and the sauce begins the bubble, another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with a dusting of Parmesan.

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252 Comments

  • Reply
    Sheila Boisson
    September 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Love the recipe, but in order for it to be vegetarian you need to leave out the Parmesan Cheese.

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 12, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Hi Sheila! Yes, it’s true that traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano is not vegetarian, but you can find parmesan cheese made without animal rennet if you’re making it for a vegetarian crowd 🙂

  • Reply
    Dave Schmid
    August 31, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Excellent, we added ground beef to the sauce and cut up a small onion finely .

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

      Thanks, Dave!! Sounds yummy 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen
    August 14, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was so good! I’ll definitely make it again.

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

      Thanks, Karen!!

  • Reply
    Estelle
    August 8, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    I’ve just made this recipie and it was delicious. I was a bit shy on the seasoning – but that’s my fault. Not much left to freeze! 😃

    • Reply
      Laura
      September 10, 2018 at 7:16 am

      Thank you, Estelle!! So glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Sue
    July 20, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I haven’t made stuffed spinach in 20 years! I use chopped frozen spinach in mine. It is just as good advice 20 years ago and very filling too! Freezing the rest of it for another meal.

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 1, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Thanks so much, Sue!! So happy to hear it 🙂

    • Reply
      Julie
      September 6, 2018 at 10:34 am

      How much frozen spinach did you use?

      • Reply
        Laura
        September 10, 2018 at 7:20 am

        Hi Julie! An 8-10oz package should replace the fresh spinach.

  • Reply
    Katie
    July 15, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    I am planning on freezing this to cook later – do I need to let it come to room temperature first? Or any recommendations for adjusting cooking time/temp?

    Can’t wait to make.

    • Reply
      Katie
      July 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Oops! I see all of the other responses – I’ll take a look through. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Amber Lyn
    July 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I make this at least once a week, because it’s so good. Highly recommend!!

    • Reply
      Laura
      July 7, 2018 at 7:26 am

      Thanks so much, Amber!! 🙂

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