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!
I make these stuffed shells so often that I think it’s time to post this recipe on my blog. It might become one of your go-to impressive but easy dinner meals.
First of all, if you like pasta, these stuffed shells are a must. I love how untraditional they are in terms of serving.
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 stuffed shells.
Five ingredients, 30 minutes, no chopping, no slicing, no cutting. They are also freezable that makes them even better!
You can’t go wrong with a stuffed shells dinner. It is an absolute winner, so everybody will like it. Can’t wait for my son to start appreciate adult food! I bet these stuffed shells become his favorite meal.
If you want to cook healthier dinners that are also family-friendly, quick and easy to make, you will be impressed by these stuffed shells.
Health Benefits of Stuffed Shells
Did you know that pasta is actually good for you? You shouldn’t avoid it in your diet and here is why.
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.
However, you should use the right type of pasta for it to be beneficial for your health. Whole wheat pasta complex carbohydrates that release the energy slowly, making you feel full longer.
Whole wheat pasta provides dietary fiber that improves digestion and keeps your heart and blood system healthy. It is also less caloric than white pasta. If you switch to whole grain pasta, you’ll save quite a few calories per serving, so you will love weight in the long run.
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 used 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).
Mediterranean diet is recognized as one of the world’s healthiest diets. It emphasized whole grains, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats. 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.
To sum it all up, stuffed shells make for a great nutrient-rich healthy meal that you whole family will enjoy.
How to Make Stuffed Shells
There is literally nothing easier than making these stuffed shells. All you need is 5 basic ingredients:
- ricotta cheese;
- large pasta shells;
- marinara sauce.
I assume that 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.
I offer you two serving options: a big rectangular baking pan or individual oval-shaped ramekins. Whatever you choose, the recipe stays the same.
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 it heat through for about 10 minutes.
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, salt and pepper to taste 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. Sprinkle with your favorite grated hard cheese to garnish. Enjoy!
Here is the full recipe. Hope you’ll love it as much as I did!
5 Ingredient Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Ricotta
- 25 fl oz or 700 ml marinara sauce
- 12 large pasta 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
- 9 oz or 250 g ricotta cheese
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- grated hard cheese to serve
- 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!