Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

This spinach and ricotta stuffed shells recipe is an easy and delicious weeknight dinner that I just can’t stop making! Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with creamy cheese and fresh spinach baked to perfection with spaghetti sauce on top is my definition of a satisfying dinner. Try it tonight!

A serving of stuffed shells is on a white plate, next to a helping of spinach leaves.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Everyone has them. Those trusty weeknight dinner recipes that you know you can whip up easily and the whole family loves? Spinach ricotta stuffed shells is definitely one of my go-to tried and true recipes! Once you make them, I’m sure they’ll become a staple in your kitchen, too.

This recipe is also great for more than just weeknight dinners, too! I love bringing these stuffed shells to potlucks, parties, and all other events involving food. It’s an easy dish to serve, since you can simply scoop up as many stuffed shells as you want. They’re perfect for entertaining!

I really love the secret serving of spinach inside the shells. Once it’s mixed and baked into the gooey, irresistible cheese, kids don’t even notice it! They end up gobbling up the whole serving without ever realizing they ate spinach. It’s so good, sometimes I toss a little extra spinach in there, too!

A large baking dish contains a fully baked dinner serving of stuffed shells.

How To Make It

Every go-to weeknight dinner has two very important things in common – they’re easy and delicious! The steps to making this insanely hearty Italian inspired dish are so easy to follow, you’ll be finished by the time you can say “grazie!”

Prepare the oven and baking dish. Start by preheating your oven to 375F. While that’s preheating, coat a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. I like using olive oil spray for a little added flavor!

Cook the pasta shells. Cook the pasta shells to al dente, which should take approximately 8 minutes. Be careful not to cook them too long! If they’re overcooked, they won’t hold their shape in the oven. Once cooked, drain them and set aside. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

The ingredients for the cheese filling are in a glass bowl, ready to be mixed.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, half the mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and nutmeg. (If you have a batch of this homemade ricotta cheese, your shells will be even more heavenly.)

If you like a lot of seasoning, feel free to personalize this step to your taste! Just remember, you can always add more seasoning, but you can’t take it out once it’s stirred in.

Shells are being stuffed with filling from a piping bag and placed into a prepared baking dish.
Stuffed shells are placed in rows of four on top of a bed of red sauce in a baking dish.

Cover the baking dish. Spread about 3/4 cup of spaghetti sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. If you really want to elevate this recipe, try making your own delicious homemade spaghetti sauce!

Stuff the shells. Fill a pastry bag or zip top bag with the cheese mixture, then pipe the cheese into the shells to stuff them. You could also just use a spoon, but it’ll get messy! I definitely recommend using a pastry bag for this step.

Arrange the shells. Once they’re all evenly stuffed, arrange the shells in a single layer in the baking dish.

Stuffed shells are covered in red sauce in a large baking dish.
Shredded cheese covers the red sauce and shells in the baking dish.

Cover the shells. Spoon the remaining spaghetti sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella.

Bake. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Then, uncover and bake for about 10 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and begins to brown.

A fully baked dish of stuffed shells is garnished with freshly cut parsley.
A cooked stuffed shell is lifted from the baking dish with a large spoon.

Variations

  • If you want to turn up the heat with this recipe, try sprinkling some crushed red pepper into the spaghetti sauce! It’s a surefire way to spice up the entire dish.
  • Garnishing this stuffed shells dinner with freshly cut parsley is SO good! It’s an easy way to present the whole dinner even more beautifully, and the flavor it adds is amazing.
  • Are you a garlic lover? Same here. Try tossing in a tablespoon of minced garlic to the cheese filling for some extra flavor or use chopped roasted garlic.
Two white plates contain servings of stuffed shells and spinach leaves.

How long will it stay fresh?

If you have any leftovers, they’ll stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. The best part? They reheat excellently in the microwave!

Can I freeze them?

Absolutely! This is a great dish to freeze if you’re planning ahead. In an airtight container in the freezer, these stuffed shells will stay fresh for up to 3 months. When you want to serve them, just let the dish thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake according to this recipe.

A fork is taking a small bite sized piece of stuffed shell off of a white plate.

If you love Italian food as much as I do, you’ll love these other recipes:

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A cooked stuffed shell is lifted from the baking dish with a large spoon.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Kellie
Hearty, comforting Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells are filled with a light ricotta filling with ribbons of chopped spinach before being baked in a tangy sauce and topped with cheese. The perfect family dinner!
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8
Calories 241 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups Spaghetti Sauce

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta shells to al dente, approximately 8 minutes, drain and set aside. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, half the mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and nutmeg.
Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce over bottom of baking dish.
  • Fill a pastry bag or zip top bag with the cheese mixture and pipe the cheese into the shells to stuff them.
  • Arrange the shells in a single layer in the baking dish.
  • Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake about 10 minutes longer, until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.

Notes

Stuffed Shells can be assembled up to 2 days in advance. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days covered tightly with plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 17gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 659mgPotassium: 331mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1169IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 368mgIron: 1mg
Keyword baked pasta, stuffed shells
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