Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells are an easy Italian dish of pasta, creamy ricotta, and spinach baked together with a delicious marinara sauce . This family friendly dinner is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies to picky little eaters.
You’d be hard pressed to find a pasta we don’t like. That’s especially true of baked pastas like our chicken alfredo lasagna roll ups or the classic lasagna rolls with red sauce (we even have recipes for miniature versions that make awesome appetizers). Any pasta dish where the cheese gets gooey and the sauce starts to caramelize some it high on our list.
This tasty recipe for spinach and ricotta stuffed shells creates mouth watering baked stuffed pasta shells that your whole family will love. Even picky kids won’t mind that you snuck in a little spinach when it comes with sauce and cheese!
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Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need for these delicious stuffed shells:
- Jumbo pasta shells – You should cook a few extra shells just in case some break while cooking or stuffing the shells.
- Baby spinach – We use fresh bagged spinach instead of frozen or canned.
- Cheeses – You’ll need whole milk ricotta, shredded mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
- Seasonings – For the right flavor, you’ll need Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Egg – This helps hold the filling together.
- Marinara sauce – You can use your favorite recipe or jar.
Follow these instructions for best results.
Step 1 – Prep the pasta. Before getting started, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
As the oven heats, cook the jumbo shells according to the instructions on the back of the box.
Once cooked, drain the pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Let the pasta sit in the strainer to cool while you ready the rest of the ingredients.
Step 2 – Prepare the spinach. As the pasta cools, place the baby spinach in a microwave safe bowl with 3 tablespoons of water. Wet a paper towel and place the wet paper towel on top of the spinach. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes or until fully cooked.
Carefully, pour the cooked spinach into a strainer and let the water drain out until it has cooled completely. Once it is cooled, give it a few good squeezes to get as much excess water out as possible. This will help prevent the cheese filling from getting soupy.
Finally, finely chop the spinach up and set aside.
Step 3 – Make the stuffing. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 2 ounces of shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cooked spinach,and egg.
Stir together until the ingredients are well mixed.
Step 4 – Stuff and bake. Fill each of the shells with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling. Next, pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
When the layer of sauce is down, add the stuffed shells to the dish and then top with remaining sauce. Finally, sprinkle with the remaining 4 ounces of mozzarella and then bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until warmed through.
Serve immediately fresh from the oven.
Can I Use Frozen Spinach in Ricotta Stuffed Shells?
Yes, you can use frozen spinach if you want to. To use frozen, thaw it completely and then squeeze out as much water as possible. You want to make sure they are pretty dry to avoid making the stuffing too loose.
How to Make it Ahead of Time
If you want to make the recipe ahead of time, follow instructions through stuffing and assembling the shells. Place the assembled shells in an airtight container or cover them with plastic wrap. You can refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
To cook, bake them at 375 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes. Cover with foil for the first 25 minutes and then remove the foil and continue baking until warmed through.
Looking for More Easy Pasta Recipes?
- Pizza Casserole
- Chicken Florentine Pasta
- Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
- Slow Cooker Sausage and Ravioli
- Pasta Carbonara
- Creamy Sausage Pasta with Butternut Squash
- Spinach Baked Ziti
- More Pasta Recipes…
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- 16 jumbo pasta shells, Cook a couple of extra shells to allow for a few breaking while the pasta cooks.
- 8 ounces Baby spinach
- 12 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta
- 5 ounces Shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 large Egg
- 24 ounces Marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook jumbo shells according to the instructions on the back of the box. Once cooked drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Let the pasta sit in strainer to cool while you ready the rest of the ingredients.
- Place the baby spinach in a microwave safe bowl with 3 tablespoons of water. Wet a paper towel and place the wet paper towel on top of the spinach. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, until fully cooked.
- Pour the cooked spinach into a strainer and let the water drain out until it cool completely. Then give it a few good squeezes to get as much excess water out as possible.
- Finely chop the spinach up and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the ricotta, 2 ounces of shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cooked spinach,and egg. Stir together until well mixed.
- Fill shells with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling each.
- Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
- Add stuffed shells to the dish and then top with remaining sauce.
- Sprinkle with remaining 3 ounces of mozzarella on top. Feel free to add more if you like!
- Bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until warmed through.
- Serve immediately.