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Spinach Stuffed Shells

This FAST EASY recipe will DEFINITELY have your family banging the table for more and it takes LESS than a 45 minutes start to finish! Plus, sneak in some vegetables in these Spinach Stuffed Shells

The cheesy edge of a spinach stuffed shells baking dish

Why This Recipe Works

  • Uses things you probably have on hand
  • Highly versatile
  • EASY but looks Hard! 

Here’s How You Do It

STEP 1. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish. Cook the spinach down in a pan, add garlic, salt and pepper. Then drain. 

spinach in a frying pan ready to be wilted

STEP 2. Cook the large shells while cooking the spinach. 

Jumbo Pasta Shells cooking in stockpot with wooden spoon

STEP 3. When spinach is done, remove to a bowl and use the same pan to cook the chopped mushrooms. When mushrooms are done, mix the cheeses in and add the spinach back. 

Chopped mushrooms on a cutting board with knife

STEP 4. Drain the shells, rinse with cool water. Make sure they are separated. Set aside.  Mix up your shell filling and spoon it into the shells. Place in the baking pan. Until you have used them up (or until filling runs out). 

mushrooms, spinach, cream cheese in frying pan

STEP 6. Cover with sauce. 

spinach, cream cheese, triple cheese, mushrooms mixed together for stuffing

STEP 7. Cover with cheese and bake for 35 minutes. 

white baking dish of spinach stuffed shells with melty cheese on top sitting on a checked napkin

 

What Goes With Spinach Stuffed Shells? 

These spinach stuffed shells SHINE as the main dish and are terrific with this fruit dip and fruit skewers, a basic salad, garlic bread and this summer feel lemonade

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQ’s) about Spinach Stuffed Shells

How Do I Get the Filling Into the Shell? 

  1. Wait till the shells are cool enough to handle (that’s why you rinse with cool water).
  2. Use a table sized dinner spoon and using your left hand hold the shell and pry its mouth open.
  3. Using your right hand spoon up a heaping teaspoon full and drop it into the shell.
  4. It doesn’t have to be perfect, these will be covered with tomato sauce. 

How Long Do I Cook the Large Shells?

The box says to cook them for 15 minutes. You will want to cook them slightly less than what the box says so that the noodle is softened throughout but still firm enough to stand up to the sauce. The shell will cook MORE in the sauce in the oven. 

How Much Shells Does This Recipe Use? 

To make one standard size 9×13 pan of spinach stuffed shells, this recipe uses about ½ lb of shells (½ of one standard sized box). 

What Kind of Sauce Should I Use? 

Feel free to use a store bought sauce. I have an easy homemade sauce recipe right here that is PERFECT for this recipe and is EASY!

Can I Use Jarred Minced Garlic?

Yes, absolutely! Use 2 heaping tablespoons rather than what is printed in the recipe. 

Can I Freeze Stuffed Shells? 

Yes, you can freeze these shells in a freezer safe container, covered well with as much air removed as possible for up to 3 months. 

How Do I Thaw These Stuffed Shells to Reheat Them? 

Place the stuffed shells into the refrigerator the day before you plan to use them OR bake at 350 for about an hour until heated through. 

Can I Use Frozen Spinach For This Recipe? 

Yes, just thaw it in the microwave and squeeze it out very well before using. It’s a time saver too! 

Can I Make This A Day Ahead? 

Yes, you can make spinach stuffed shells the day before. Either wait and bake it the day you want to use it OR go ahead and bake it and then just warm it up in a 350 oven for 35 minutes. (Cover with aluminum foil)

Tips and Tricks for Spinach Stuffed Shells.

  • This recipe for spinach stuffed shells is SUPER versatile! Want to use different veggies, no problem, just precook them and mix them in! Try: carrots, broccoli, squash, onions, etc. 
  • Try changing up the seasonings by using thyme, chipotle, etc. It doesn’t have to be Italian seasonings. 
  • Use different types of cheese and see how you like that. I would recommend cheese that melt very well like gouda and fontina. 
  • Give your dish a mexican twist and stuff with chopped pepperonis! 
  • Feel free to add ground beef or chopped chicken to this dish if you would like for it to have meat. 
  • Make sure to leave the shells a little firm (don’t cook for the entire cooking time stated on the box, leave a minute or two) so that they stand up to filling. 
  • Rinse the shells well with cool water to make them easier to handle. 
  • Use less dishes by mixing all of the stuffing ingredients together in the frying pan. 
  • Shortcuts for this recipe:  Use jarred minced garlic, use frozen spinach, if you can find the “no cook” or precooked shells or fresh shells, use those. Use a commercial sauce.
  • Here’s a fun article about how they MAKE seashell shaped pasta!

Try MORE Italian Type Recipes by Checking These Out: 

Will YOU Help Me Out? 

Leave a 5 STAR review in the comment section below. That helps others find Loaves and Dishes on the Internet. 

Cheeseburger Shellys @loavesanddishes.net

Spinach Stuffed Shells

Easy, Terrific Spinach Stuffed Shells are so simple and ready in less than 45 minutes!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spinach musrhoom stuffed shells, Spinach stuffed shells
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 155kcal
Author: Loaves and Dishes

Ingredients

  • ½ Box Jumbo Pasta Shells 6 oz - prepared per box instructions
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced.
  • ½ onion - chopped small
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 block of cream cheese - softened and cut into 1 inch blocks
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 8 oz Triple Cheddar shredded mix
  • 1 23 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 1-2 Cups Mozzarella Shredded Cheese

Instructions

Cook the Shells

  • In a large stock pot (4-6 quart) add water and heat over high heat until boiling. Add the shells and cook until nearly done (within a couple of minutes of the "done" time listed on the box). Pour through a colander and rinse with cool water. Separate the shells so they don't stick together and toss with 2 tbs of vegetable oil. You can do this while you prepare the shell stuffing.

Prepare the Shell Stuffing

  • Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium frying pan over medium heat on the stove top add 2 Tbs Olive Oil. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion so that all of them can cook together. Add the fresh spinach. Add the salt and pepper.
  • When the spinach is completely wilted. Remove to a bowl leaving the water behind. Using the same frying pan, add the mushrooms to the water and cook for 3-5 minutes till softened.
  • When mushrooms are softened, pour off the water. Pour off any remaining water from the waiting spinach and add it back to the frying pan. Add the softened cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder and Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir until cream cheese is mostly melted. Stir in the Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine shells and stuffing into final dish

  • In a 2 quart baking dish, spread a little bit of the pasta sauce - ¼ cup. Just so shells won’t stick. Using a household teaspoon, fill each shell with the spinach cheese mixture. Once the shelly is full place it in the baking pan. Repeat until the baking dish is full with shells lined up like little soldiers. You may have more mix than shells - or all of your shells may not fit- in that case just put your extra filling around in the dish - you can see what I did in my movie here. Save the extra shells for a different cooking project.
  • Once shells are in place, cover with the remaining pasta sauce and spread the sauce around to cover. Sprinkle the Mozzarella Cheese on top. Bake for 30 mins until the pasta sauce is bubbling through and the cheese is melting and starting to brown.

Notes

  • This recipe is SUPER versatile!  Want to use different veggies, no problem, just precook them and mix them in!  Try: carrots, broccoli, squash, onions, etc. 
  • Try changing up the seasonings by using thyme, chipotle, etc.  It doesn’t have to be Italian seasonings. 
  • Use different types of cheese and see how you like that.  I would recommend cheese that melt very well like gouda and fontina. 
  • Give your dish a mexican twist and stuff with chopped pepperonis! 
  • Feel free to add ground beef or chopped chicken to this dish if you would like for it to have meat. 
  • Make sure to leave the shells a little firm (don’t cook for the entire cooking time stated on the box, leave a minute or two) so that they stand up to filling. 
  • Rinse the shells well with cool water to make them easier to handle. 
  • Use less dishes by mixing all of the stuffing ingredients together in the frying pan. 
  • Shortcuts for this recipe:  Use jarred minced garlic, use frozen spinach, if you can find the “no cook” or precooked shells or fresh shells, use those. Use a commercial sauce.   
PRO TIP:  If you are making this for vegetarian friends, you could try some of the new beyond meat or Impossible burger, browned and mixed in the filling.  Make sure it's ok with them first though.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Spinach Stuffed Shells
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 386mg16%
Potassium 148mg4%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 2030IU41%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 209mg21%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Recipe Rating




Tammy

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Amazing recipe!

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