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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Make this recipe? Let us know what you think!

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232 Comments

  • Reply
    Marina
    May 21, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Excellent recipe! easy and tasty! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 22, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Thank you, Marina!!

  • Reply
    Funny Lady
    May 13, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Tasty and very easy recipient to cook and is a really good meal for a weekday dinner

  • Reply
    Louise W.
    May 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Made recipe as directed, except I added a little more mozzarella on top rather than Parmesan. Three of us had for dinner and it was all eaten. I would have made a double batch but wanted to try the recipe first.

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Nothing wrong with extra cheese! So happy to hear you enjoyed my stuffed shells!!

  • Reply
    Emily Nicholas
    May 8, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Wow, this recipe is a definite home run! I usually can never find recipes with enough flavor but this was delicious and even better the next day. I added 1 more tsp of garlic because we are crazy about garlic. Thank you for this recipe, a new family favorite!

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm

      We are garlic lovers too, can never really add too much 🙂 Thanks, Emily!! So happy to hear your family loved this one!

  • Reply
    loretta mahoney
    May 7, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    One of the few meatless meals my bf loves!! (Me too…) Tonight I made it again and as I turned to put the finished pan into the oven I spied my skillet with sauteed spinach and garlic sitting on top of the stove. OH NO!! I had forgotten to mix it in with the ricotta cheese mixture before I stuffed the shells. I squished the spinached into the sauce between the shells and baked it according to the directions. It had a more intense flavor first bite, but quickly followed by the creamy ricotta. Half the family liked it better, half did not. Love this rceipe either way

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 7, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Oh no! So happy to hear that things still worked out! This recipe is pretty easy going, and one of our favorites, too 🙂 Thanks for following along, Loretta!!

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    May 7, 2018 at 11:12 am

    This was a total win! Already getting asked for a redo with the extra pasta I made. I used Greek basil from my garden instead, which add a warm, spicy kick to the basil flavor that’s similar to nutmeg or cloves. Used Emeril’s Vodka Sauce as the tomato sauce, which married so perfectly with the Greek basil. Side note that you’d never know from the taste that it’s skim everything – so nice & creamy! Excellent ratio of spinach to cheese.

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 7, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      So happy to hear that, Charlotte!! I am a big fan of vodka sauce, and it would be great with these stuffed shells! Also, very intrigued to try the Greek basil, usually I go for sweet Italian basil, but that sounds delish!

  • Reply
    Carola
    April 28, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Hey there from Germany! We love your recipe and cooked it a few times. My husband wished for it for tonight’s dinner – he loves it and doesn’t even miss meat in this dish! Thank you so much sharing this genious recipe!

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you so much, Carola!! I’m so happy to hear that! My meat-loving husband also loves these stuffed shells 😉

  • Reply
    Jillian
    April 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    I realized I’ve made this soooo many times but never commented on it!!! My family absolutely LOVES this recipe. It’s super simple to make, and always turns out amazing, and it works perfect for lunches the next day! Using marinara sauce was a tad too sweet for me, so we just use regular pasta sauce instead and it’s perfect! Thank you for this awesome recipe!

    • Reply
      Laura
      April 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Jillian! That makes me so happy to hear!! It’s always a crowd pleaser around here too 🙂

  • Reply
    Jess
    April 12, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    I left out the parmesan, used kale instead of spinach, and dried basil insteas of fresh. Came out very good

    • Reply
      Laura
      April 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you, Jess!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Savino
    April 11, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Me and my husband loved this recipe. I used an Italian blend bag of cheese and it worked out perfect. I will absolutely keep this on hand as a go to recipe. It really didn’t take long to make so it is good for a week day meal and we will eat leftovers tomorrow night for dinner.

    • Reply
      Laura
      April 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      I’m so happy to hear it, thanks, Jennifer!!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 8, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    These were amazing!! My bf said he never had shells like these in his entire life and he’s Italian! Definitely will be making again!

    • Reply
      Laura
      April 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      That is such a sweet compliment! Thank you, Amanda! (and thank your boyfriend too!) 🙂

  • Reply
    Carla
    March 18, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Easy, light, and delicious!

    • Reply
      Laura
      March 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you, Carla!

  • Reply
    Lana
    February 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Hey there- I was just wondering if it would be okay to remove the egg from this recipe, and if you knew any possible substitutes for the egg in this recipe

  • Reply
    April
    February 10, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    These were full of flavor and so delicious, and also easy to make. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  • Reply
    Tomeka Pitts
    January 17, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    I want to add Italian sausage to the Marinara. Can I make it the day before?

  • Reply
    Cynthia Taylor
    January 10, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Amazing! Made these for Christmas Eve dinner. We usually do lasagna made the same way with spinach in the ricotta however never thought to sautee the spinach in garlic first. That was a nice Plus! Instead of marinara I made my regular lasagna sauce which includes ground beef and some ground mild Italian sausage. And of course homegrown tomatoes and some very good red wine! We are lucky enough to have an Italian store that makes their own pasta noodles so having homemade shells just took this off the charts! They were definitely a hit and easier than lasagna! Will be making this time and time again so thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • Reply
    Ariane
    January 6, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Delicious!! Followed the recipe exactly except I also cooked ~1/2 lb of lean ground beef and added it to the cheese/spinach mixture. Will be making this again and again!

  • Reply
    Nicolette Dinolfo Trobaugh
    December 22, 2017 at 5:05 am

    Do you think I could make these ahead and freeze? I wonder how it would effect cooking time?

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