Make your next pasta night extra special with these Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells!  They’re packed with baby spinach, plenty of cheese and smothered in marinara sauce.  This meal is always a hit and may be made completely in advance!

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells in baking dish

I know it’s the new year and many of us are trying to eat healthier, but winter is also comfort food season, and I think we can all use a hefty dose of it. 🙂

When it comes to comfort food, it doesn’t get much better than a cheesy pasta dinner like my skillet lasagna, mac and cheese, or these spinach and ricotta stuffed shells!

This is a comforting meal that’s cheesy, delicious, and a great way to change up your next pasta dinner!

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • These stuffed shells have a creamy ricotta filling that’s packed with spinach. They’re smothered in marinara sauce and covered with cheese for a fun new take on pasta night.
  • It’s a satisfying vegetarian dinner that appeals to the entire family, and it’s also great for entertaining.
  • There are a few components to this recipe, but they may all be done in advance. The entire meal may be assembled ahead of time making it perfect for meal prep. It’s also freezer friendly!

Recipe ingredients

This stuffed shells recipe includes just a few simple ingredients.

ricotta stuffed shells ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Jumbo shells. I used 1/2 a package of jumbo shells for this recipe, or about 20 shells. Cook and drain them well just before assembling.
  • Marinara sauce. You’ll need exactly 24 ounces, or 2 1/2 cups of my homemade marinara sauce, or your favorite store bought variety. If you do make your own, it may be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  • Spinach. I used 5 ounces of fresh baby spinach for this recipe. You may use frozen chopped spinach, but just be sure to thaw it completely and squeeze out the excess liquid.

How to make this recipe

This spinach and ricotta stuffed shells recipe is extremely easy to make. There are a few components involved, but they may be done in advance, and the entire meal may be assembled ahead of time.

How to make spinach ricotta filling collage
How to assemble spinach ricotta stuffed shells collage
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes and remove from heat. Place the spinach mixture in a fine mesh sieve and squeeze to remove excess liquid with your hands or wrapped in a towel. Place on a cutting board and chop well.
  2. Place the ricotta cheese and egg in a medium bowl and mix well to combine.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add the spinach and mix well to combine.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray and pour 1/2 of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. 
  5. Open each shell and stuff well with the ricotta mixture, then place in the marinara sauce in the baking dish. Top with the remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  6. Coat a sheet of foil with cooking spray or oil and place over the top of the baking dish (this will keep the cheese from sticking to it). Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more or until golden brown.
Spinach ricotta stuffed shells covered with marinara sauce

FAQs

Do you drain ricotta cheese?

Some brands of ricotta cheese can become watery due to excess moisture, but I haven’t run into that problem. If you’d like to be on the safe side, place some cheesecloth over a mesh strainer and set over a medium bowl. Place the ricotta in the cheesecloth lined strainer and strain for 4 hours or overnight and it’s ready to use.

Is ricotta cheese healthy?

Ricotta cheese is a healthier choice compared to most cheeses as it’s lower in fat and sodium.

How many stuffed shells is a serving?

2-3 stuffed shells is a serving for smaller appetites, and 4-5 is a serving for larger appetites.

How long can you keep stuffed shells with cheese in the refrigerator?

Store leftover ricotta stuffed shells in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

What is a good side with stuffed shells?

The best side dish for stuffed shells is a fresh salad. I love serving them with my Greek, Italian chopped or butter lettuce salad.

Recipe notes

  • The filling and marinara sauce may be made in advance, or the entire dish may be assembled ahead of time, making this a great meal prep dinner. This recipe is also freezer friendly!
  • Store leftover stuffed shells in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • If pressed for time, store bought marinara sauce may be used. Rao’s marinara sauce is my favorite!
  • The fresh baby spinach may be substituted with frozen chopped spinach. Thaw frozen spinach well and be sure to squeeze out any excess liquid.
  • This recipe is easily doubled to feed a crowd!
Vegetarian stuffed shell cut in half on a white plate

More pasta recipes you’ll love:

If you tried this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or snap a photo and tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Spinach and ricotta stuffed shells in baking dish

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells are packed with spinach, plenty of cheese and are smothered in marinara sauce. This meal may be made entirely in advance!
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Ingredients

  • 6 ounces jumbo shells 20 shells, cooked according to package instructions and drained well
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 cups grated mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce 2.5 cups

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13" baking dish with cooking spray and pour 1/2 of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Place the spinach mixture in a fine mesh sieve and squeeze to remove excess liquid with your hands or wrapped in a towel. Place on a cutting board and chop well.
  • Place the ricotta cheese and egg in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add the spinach and mix well to combine.
  • Open each shell and stuff well with the ricotta mixture, then place in the marinara sauce in the baking dish. Top with the remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  • Coat a sheet of foil with cooking spray or oil and place over the top of the baking dish (this will keep the cheese from sticking to it). Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more or until golden brown.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • The filling and marinara sauce may be made in advance, or the entire dish may be assembled ahead of time, making this a great meal prep dinner. This recipe is also freezer friendly!
  • Store leftover stuffed shells in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • If pressed for time, store bought marinara sauce may be used. Rao’s marinara sauce is my favorite!
  • The fresh baby spinach may be substituted with frozen chopped spinach. Thaw frozen spinach well and be sure to squeeze out any excess liquid.
  • This recipe is easily doubled to feed a crowd!

Nutrition

Calories: 416kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 989mg, Potassium: 694mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 3328IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 432mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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