Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

These cheesy spinach stuffed shells are a family favorite! Rock your weeknight dinner routine by making the shells in advance. The leftovers are amazing and can be enjoyed all week long!

Spinach Stuffed Shells

This spinach stuffed shells recipe has been in our family for ages. It’s one of those comfort food classics that always makes me think of home. Love it so!

There’s a batch in my freezer at all times and it’s my go-to recipe  for when friends or family need a hearty vegetarian meal delivered to their doorstep. Hopefully you’ll love it as much as we do!

side dishes for stuffed shells

Looking for the perfect pasta pairing? I’ve got you covered!

Garlic bread is one of our go-to side dishes for stuffed shells and we’ll also pair it with a big green salad (topped with my go-to Italian Dressing or zesty Homemade Greek Dressing) to round out the meal.

During the Spring and Summer months, I love pairing these shells with a Healthy Tomato Cucumber Salad or a side of roasted or Blanched Asparagus.

Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

Depending on size/availability you can use 1 or 2 large baking/casserole dishes. I like to make mine in two different dishes so I can freeze one for later.

freezer instructions

For freezer-friendly stuffed shells, followed directions as written below, but after step 10, cover with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a tightly wrapped layer of aluminum of foil. This helps keep the shells fresh and freezer burn out. Some of my dishes have lids so I’ll pop the lid on after the foil.

When you’re ready to defrost and eat, simply thaw your shells overnight in the fridge and then set out on the counter for 30-60 minutes before baking. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Baking times will vary based on how cold your shells are and how hot your oven runs.

Feel free to add as much sauce and as much mozzarella as your heart desires. Sometimes we’ll go light and other times we go for gold with a hearty combo of each. These sassy spinach stuffed shells are hands-down our favorite pasta dish and we make it super often. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do!

Spinach Stuffed Shells
5 from 2 votes
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Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

These cheesy spinach stuffed shells are a family favorite! Rock your weeknight dinner routine by making the shells in advance. The leftovers are amazing and can be enjoyed all week long!

Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Spinach Stuffed Shells
Servings 6 servings
Calories 396 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons

Ingredients

  • 24 uncooked large pasta shells
  • pinch of salt and drizzle of oil to help prevent shells from sticking and season the water
  • 48 oz spaghetti sauce or as needed
  • 2 cups diced onion (white or yellow)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (smashed and minced)
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 heaping cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (approx. 2 oz)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend (I love using salt-free Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 large eggs (for a fluffier ricotta filling)
  • 1-2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Prepare 1-2 large glass baking dishes with a one-inch layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom. For saucy shells, feel free to add extra sauce. I usually add extra!

  3. Boil shells for approx 11 min or until tender/al dente. Drain and set aside.

  4. While the noodles boil, prep your veggies. Dice onion, mince garlic, and chop spinach. Measure out all remaining ingredients for easy cooking/assembly.

  5. Sauté onions and garlic together on medium-high heat in a small pan.

  6. Fold together ricotta, grated parmesan cheese, chopped spinach and all your herbs and spices.

  7. Add sautéed veggies and mix well. If a thicker filling is desired, add 1-2 gently whisked eggs to the filling and mix.

  8. Spoon filling into th shells, placing each shell atop your spaghetti sauced casserole dish.

  9. If desired, drizzle extra sauce on top or leave tops of shells bare to showcase the filling.

  10. Top with mozzarella cheese and an extra sprinkling of parmesan cheese if desired. For extra flavor, I also like to sprinkle some additional red pepper flakes and dried basil on top of the cheese.

  11. Cover lightly with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until filling is hot and sauce is bubbling. If cheese has not melted, remove foil at the end and bake an additional 5-10 minutes if needed.

Recipe Notes

Adding meat? It's totally okay if you do! Brown ground turkey, beef, or sausage and season to taste. Then fold it into your cheese + spinach mixture or into the sauce for a meat-sauce effect.

For the spaghetti sauce, choose your favorite! You can use a store-bought sauce or homemade sauce here. I alternate between the two depending on what I have handy. 

Love mushrooms? Add them in! I'll sometimes add 8 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms and sauté them alongside the onion to add to the filling. Delicious!

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS:

I like to make mine in two different dishes so I can freeze one for later. To freeze, after step 10, cover with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a tightly wrapped layer of aluminum of foil. This helps keep the shells fresh and freezer burn out. Some of my dishes have lids so I'll pop the lid on after the foil. When you're ready to defrost and eat, simply thaw your shells overnight in the fridge and then set out on the counter for 30-60 minutes before baking. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Baking times will vary based on how cold your shells are and how hot your oven runs. 

Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator for a serving of 3 stuffed shells with sauce. Values will vary based on swaps and toppings. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 1407mg61%
Potassium 1149mg33%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 3710IU74%
Vitamin C 26.9mg33%
Calcium 390mg39%
Iron 4.2mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you get a chance to try these easy cheesy spinach stuffed shells, let me know! Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation! I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

pasta night favorites

To make speedy one-pot pressure cooker pasta, try this Instant Pot Taco Pasta or my new Instant Pot Tortellini recipe.

Prefer to soup it up? Tuscan Tortellini Soup is always as hit and so is a big bowl of Creamy Tomato Soup.

Pair your pasta with a fresh Tomato Panzanella and get ready to faceplant!

 

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Comments

  • Kelly

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! My whole family absolutely loved it! I’ll definitely be making it again! 🙂

    • WOOT! Thank you Kelly – so happy to hear it!

  • Taylor

    5 stars
    Stuffed shells are one of my FAVORITE dinners! So cheesy and delicious!

  • These look magical.

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