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5 Ingredient Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

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These 5-ingredient spinach and ricotta stuffed shells is a quick and simple vegetarian pasta dinner that is perfect for a busy weeknight or a special occasion. These easy stuffed shells provide a comforting, wholesome, flavorful treat and make the perfect 30 minute meal the whole family will enjoy.

Jumbo Shells Stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach in a Large Rectangular Casserole Dish

These vegetarian stuffed shells with spinach are frequent fliers in our home and they’re likely to become the same in yours. The rich, creamy ricotta, spicy marinara, and comforting pasta make this meal a hit every single time…especially with the cook, because of how easy and quick they are to make.

Easy Stuffed Shells With Spinach And Ricotta

Five ingredients, 30 minutes, no chopping, no slicing, no cutting. You can even freeze them and have them ready for your next surprise guest or busy evening.

You can make this up in a large casserole dish or darling little single serve ramekins for each person. Whatever you choose, the recipe stays the same.

Stuffed Shells in a Rectangular Dish and in Individual Ramekins

Chewy large pasta shells with crunchy baked rims stuffed with a creamy mixture of spinach and ricotta cheese floating in rich marinara sauce and sprinkled with your favorite hard cheese… Sounds like the best comfort food you can imagine.

Taking into account their impressive looks it’s amazing how easy it is to make these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells.

Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Spinach in a Ramekin

Is Pasta Actually Healthy?

Yes! Yes, it is. Commence the happy dancing. Pasta is actually good for you!

There’s no need at all to avoid it in your diet, contrary to popular diet fads. 

In fact, the Mediterranean diet is recognized as one of the world’s healthiest diets and pasta is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, making it a staple food that pairs perfectly with other healthy foods in this diet like vegetables and healthy fats.

Being a part of a well-balanced diet, pasta is a great source of carbohydrates that give your body energy. Carbohydrates are good but eating too much of them can lead to gaining weight. Dieticians recommend carbohydrates to make up to 65% of your daily calorie intake.

Dry Shells Next to Stuffed Shells in a Baking Dish Collage

However, you should use the right type of pasta for it to be beneficial for your health. Whole wheat pasta is made of complex carbohydrates that release the energy slowly, making you feel full longer. It also provides dietary fiber that improves digestion and keeps your heart and blood system healthy.

Pasta is the best for you when you pair it with protein-rich cheese, lots of vegetables packed with dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals and tomato-based sauces packed with antioxidants.

This is exactly the way this recipe is. It uses ricotta cheese for protein, making the meal hearty, spinach for vegetables that has an extraordinary nutritious profile, and sugar-free marinara sauce (I recommend Cucina Antica organic marinara sauce or make your own if you have time).

Closeup of Stuffed Shells in Rows

Ingredients for Spinach Stuffed Shells

There is literally nothing easier than making these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells. All you need is 5 basic ingredients:

  • garlic;
  • spinach;
  • ricotta cheese;
  • large pasta shells;
  • marinara sauce.

I assume  you have olive oil, salt and pepper at home, so I don’t include them in the list. Additionally, you can garnish the finished dish with your favorite grated hard cheese.

Ingredients for Ricotta Stuffed Shells Spinach, Ricotta, Marinara Sauce, Garlic and Jumbo Shells

 

How to Make Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Ricotta

Here’s the trick to not having your pasta stick to the pan: put your layer of marinara in the pan first. Don’t top the stuffed shells with sauce like a lot of people do.

To start with, preheat the oven to 180C or 350F and fill the pan (ramekins) with marinara sauce. Put it in the oven and let the sauce heat through for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente, per package directions. Cook your spinach with a little garlic and drain well to remove excess liquid before adding ricotta, salt and pepper to taste.

Ricotta and Spinach Filling in a Large Mixing Bowl with a Rubber Spatula

Once your pasta is cooked, you’ll gently fill it with the creamy spinach ricotta filling you made up while the pasta was cooking.

Top the heated sauce with stuffed shells and bake until edges are golden brown, from 15 to 20 minutes.

When the shells are done baking you can sprinkle on your favorite hard cheese like vegetarian parmesan or Romano (or a mix of both!) and enjoy.

Told you these stuffed shells were super easy!

A Serving of Stuffed Shells on a Plate Next to a Casserole Dish

Other Healthy Vegetarian Pasta Dinners

Are you sold on the delicious, nutritious pasta as part of your dinner now?

After you enjoy these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells, you’ll be eager to enjoy more veggies, cheese, and pasta meals.

Pumpkin pasta with spinach and mushrooms is a super popular option! And healthy vegan fettuccine Alfredo is a vegan twist on a classic dinner.

And let’s not leave out vegan mac and cheese and vegan pesto pasta for more family favorite comfort foods turned vegetarian delights.

A Baking Pan with Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce Next to Two Ramekins

Cook’s Tips

  • These stuffed shells with spinach can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days. To reheat them, microwave them or warm in the oven. Don’t preheat, especially if you are using a glass casserole dish.
  • Freeze the shells for up to 3 months. If freezing, better use an aluminum foil baking pan.

Recipe Variations

  • Use regular parmesan for a non-vegetarian version. Just FYI, Parmesan cheese is NOT vegetarian.
  • You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Make sure to thaw it before cooking.
  • Use gluten-free pasta or whole grain pasta for this recipe.

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Be sure to buy gluten-free jumbo shells.

MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the regular ricotta with vegan ricotta and skip the hard cheese or use vegan substitutes.

MAKE IT QUICK: Make the ricotta spinach filling in advance, so the shells come together more quickly.

Hands holding an Individual Ramekin with Two Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce

I created a video recipe to make things even easier for you. If you can’t see the video, disable your AdBlock for this page by clicking on the AdBlock button and selecting Don’t run on this page. Hope it helps!

What is your favorite pasta dinner? Leave a comment below! Don’t forget to give a star rating to this recipe if you like it!

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4.72 from 49 votes

5 Ingredient Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Ricotta

Super Easy 5 ingredient Stuffed Shells recipe with spinach and ricotta will take you no more than 30 minutes to make. Delicious, healthy, comforting and wholesome vegetarian pasta dinner your whole family will enjoy!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword ricotta stuffed shells, spinach stuffed shells, stuffed shells
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 223kcal

Ingredients

  • 25 fl oz or 700 ml marinara sauce
  • 16 jumbo shells plus 2-3 extra ones in case some of the shells break during cooking
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 17 oz or 500 g fresh spinach See notes
  • 9 oz or 250 g ricotta cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • grated hard cheese to serve

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C. Take a big rectangular baking pan (I used a 13 x 9 inch pan (33 x 22 cm) or individual oval-shaped ramekins. Fill the pan (ramekins) with marinara sauce. Bake for about 10 minutes to heat through.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells until al dente, as per instructions on the package. Drain well. Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and sautée minced garlic until fragrant. Add spinach and cook for about 7 minutes or until all the leaves turn dark green. Drain it well, removing all the excess moisture (you can keep the spinach water for soups or sauces).
  • Combine the spinach with ricotta cheese and stuff shells with the mixture, using about 1 tablespoon of stuffing for each shell. Place the stuffed shells on top of the marinara sauce. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

Notes

Cook’s Tips

  • These stuffed shells can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days. To reheat them, microwave them or warm in the oven. Don’t preheat, especially if you are using a glass casserole dish.
  • Freeze the shells for up to 3 months. If freezing, better use an aluminum foil baking pan.

Recipe Variations

  • Use regular parmesan for a non-vegetarian version. Just FYI, Parmesan cheese is NOT vegetarian.
  • You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Make sure to thaw it before cooking.
  • Use gluten-free pasta or whole grain pasta for this recipe.
 
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Be sure to buy gluten-free jumbo shells.
MAKE IT VEGAN: Replace the regular ricotta with vegan ricotta and skip the hard cheese or use vegan substitutes.
MAKE IT QUICK: Make the ricotta spinach filling in advance, so the shells come together more quickly.

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 746mg | Potassium: 948mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 8255IU | Vitamin C: 31.5mg | Calcium: 190mg | Iron: 3.9mg
Tried this recipe?Follow @happykitchen.rocks on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #happykitchenrocks!

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Recipe Rating




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Bonnie Martin

Thursday 29th of October 2020

I don't have the large shells. Wondering if I could do it "unstuffed" meaning spread spinach mixture over shells instead of stuffing them? Looks good!

Elena Szeliga

Friday 30th of October 2020

Absolutely! The filling works beautifully over any type of pasta. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Jennifer T Tammy

Friday 24th of May 2019

OM Gosh this is one of my favorites - I love when I see stuffed pasta shells at potlucks!

Elena Szeliga

Friday 24th of May 2019

It's always a hit with my family :) Thank you Jennifer!

Neeraj Soni

Thursday 23rd of May 2019

Hii...!! Elena,

This is Neeraj from F and B Stories, First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing such a amazing recepies with us. The Stuffed Shells are delicious and looks yummy too...!! And the combination of ingrediants like , Spinach and Ricotta in it was superb....

Keep sharing cheers :-)

Elena Szeliga

Thursday 23rd of May 2019

SO glad you like the recipe Neeraj! Thank you for stopping by ;)

Helena

Tuesday 21st of May 2019

Such a quick and simple recipe that is super healthy, too! I really like the shape of the shells - so cute!

Elena Szeliga

Tuesday 21st of May 2019

Yes, they look so cute! Hope you enjoy the recipe ;)

Sara

Monday 2nd of July 2018

i had a bit of a difficult time stuffing the shells so i pureed the spinach and ricotta. it came out a light green colour but was easier for me to stuff and tasted great

Elena Szeliga

Monday 2nd of July 2018

That's a good idea! Thank you for sharing your feedback Sara!

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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