Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

9 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine January/February 1997

Our stuffed shells are filled with spinach, sautéed onions and part-skim ricotta and topped with prepared marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese. The shells hold and reheat well, which makes them great for entertaining.

Ingredients 6 servings

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  • 24 jumbo pasta shells, (8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, trimmed and washed, or two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably low-sodium


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F. Cook shells in a large pot of boiling water, stirring often, until just tender, about 15 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. If using fresh spinach, add it in batches and toss with tongs until wilted. Drain in a colander, pressing out excess moisture with the back of a spoon. Let cool. If using thawed frozen, add it to the onions and toss to mix well. Set aside.
  3. Combine ricotta, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan and nutmeg in a bowl; mix well. Add the reserved spinach and season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg white.
  4. Stuff each of the reserved shells with a generous 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in a single layer. Top with the remaining 2 cups of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is golden and the shells are heated through, about 30 minutes. (If the top browns too quickly, tent loosely with foil.) Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 439 calories; 13 g fat(6 g sat); 7 g fiber; 58 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 441 mcg folate; 31 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 3 g added sugars; 14761 IU vitamin A; 50 mg vitamin C; 489 mg calcium; 8 mg iron; 569 mg sodium; 1087 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 4
  • Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 4 vegetable, 2 medium-fat meat

Reviews 9

September 19, 2016
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By: Jenn Peterson
I just made these delicious shells for my hubby. So creamy and good. This recipe is going in my recipe box. I would definitely make these again. Super Good!!
February 28, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Wow... We've truly moved so far away from healthy foods and home cooking that we need a magazine to tell us how to make something as simple as stuffed shells healthier? I've been making stuffed shells like this for years (seriously years)! And it's a family recipe. Making sauce from scratch (for anything) is so simple and takes so few ingredients, and the cook has complete control over what goes into it. I've never understood buying sauce from the store. For those who don't care for ricotta, or want an even lower fat dish, low fat cottage cheese can be used. Use it in place of, or mixed with ricotta. Flavor will be retained, though the texture will change slightly.
October 29, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
These were easy to make and very good! With the addition of the spinach, they were lighter than typical shells but filling enough that you didn't overeat them. I would definitely make them again and for company too!
February 25, 2011
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By: Marilyn
Really Great We really enjoyed this recipe. I will love making this for company because I can have it all prepared and pop it in the oven. The only thing, I will add a bit more nutmeg, not too much, but think it could use just a tad more. Pros: Can fix ahead Cons: takes a little time
January 01, 2011
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By: gigglychika425
Loved these! I am not usually a big fan of stuffed shells but these are amazing. I made them for dinner last night and everyone loved them including the kids. I used frozen spinach but I think I am going to use fresh next time because it tastes better. For the sauce I used traditional by Ragu and sauteed up some fresh garlic and simmered it with the sauce. Came out superb. This is a keeper and super easy to make!
July 27, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
Very good! I used rolled oats instead of bread crumbs and couldn't tell the difference. The nutmeg really adds flavor!
May 25, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
We have made this twice now, both times it was really good! This time I used half ricotta and half cottage cheese, added green peppers (wish I had red), garlic, and substituted Manicotti for shells. Everyone loved it! I even tossed some of the leftover mix in the food processor for the baby (11 months) and served over rice cereal (homemade). Delicious!!
November 20, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
Made my own marinara. Chopped up the spinach more and used more ricotta in the shells.
November 14, 2009
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By: EatingWell User
This is great tasting and has a very elegant look for presentation. Putzy but worth it because it is not the lamo pan style. Did this for another couple who are 'foodies' and loved it.