My family is crazy about stuffed shells. I don’t know if it’s the cute little individual portions or the cheesy goodness in the filling but they ask for these on a weekly basis. I have quite an affinity for them myself, and make Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells regularly.
Making stuffed pasta shells is a great, hands on recipe that kids can help with. My daughter loves stuffing the shells with the cheesy filling. In fact it’s so simple she could easily make this whole meal on her own.
You can make lasagna stuffed shells year round, but I think they’re especially pretty around the holidays.
How to Make Lasagna Stuffed Shells
Boil pasta shells – You’ll need about 20-25 large pasta shells. I usually cook extra because some can break as you work or even as they cook. How many you actually use depends on how full you fill each one. I usually cook 25 and then my kids eat any that didn’t get stuffed! Because they’ll cook a little more in the oven, you want to boil them about a minute or 2 less than the direction on the package. This will keep them from getting mushy as they bake.
Make the spinach lasagna filling. Mix ricotta cheese and an egg together. The egg helps to bind the whole mixture together. Add some Italian seasonings, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped spinach.
Assemble the stuffed shells. Scoop the filling into the shells, about 2 tablespoons in each one. Spread some pasta sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish and arrange the stuffed shells in the dish. Spoon the rest of the sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with more shredded cheese.
Bake and serve. Lasagna stuffed shells bake in less than 30 minutes! Bake uncovered and they will get nice and golden brown with little bits of crispy cheese. Garnish with some fresh basil leaves or minced parsley.
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezer Instructions
Freezing: Spinach Lasagna Stuffed Shells are the perfect freezer meal. Make them in advance and always have dinner on hand. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then foil to ward off freezer burn and store in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. Thaw for 24 hours in the fridge, uncover and bake as directed.
Make Ahead: You can stuff your shells up to 24 hours in advance. Do not bake until ready to serve; cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge while your oven is heating up, uncover and bake as directed.
Leftovers: Store leftover lasagna stuffed shells in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave.
Lasagna Stuffed Shells Recipe Tips and Notes
The recipe calls for 2 cups of fresh spinach, which is about 3-4 ounces. Feel free to add more if you like.
Frozen spinach can be used if you don’t have fresh. Just make sure to thaw it completely and squeeze as much water out of it as possible. Use about ⅓ of a 10 ounce package.
Pro tip: Use a cookie scoop to evenly portion out the filling. You could also pipe the filling in.
20-25large pasta shells cooked to package instructions
1teaspoondried basil1 tablespoon fresh
1teaspoondried parsley1 tablespoon fresh
1 1/2cupsfreshly grated Mozzarella cheesedivided
1/2cupfreshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper
1 24-ouncejar marinara or spaghetti sauce
fresh parsley or basil for garnish if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine Ricotta, egg, basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese and ½ of the Mozzarella cheese. Stir in spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Spoon about ⅓ of the spaghetti sauce into the prepared baking dish, spreading around to coat the bottom of the dish.
Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, fill pasta shells with the cheese mixture. Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish on top of the sauce.
Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the remaining grated Mozzarella cheese.
Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Garnish with fresh minced parsley or basil, if desired.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven for best results, but you can also reheat in the microwave. Make ahead up to a day in advance and cover with foil until ready to bake. Or freeze before baking, tightly covered, for up to 3 months.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.