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Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

These Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells are easy to make and are a delicious and satisfying meatless dinner that everyone will love. Bonus: They're freezer-friendly!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 4
Calories: 537kcal
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
  • 16 jumbo pasta shells, plus a few extra in case some break while cooking
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara or spaghetti sauce, or 3 cups homemade sauce
  • extra marinara sauce, for serving (optional)
  • extra Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Thaw the spinach and squeeze dry. You can do this by placing the spinach in a mesh strainer and running under warm water, cooking it in the microwave for a few minutes (you don't need it fully cooked, just defrosted), or letting it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Which ever method you use, be sure to squeeze it very dry so that your final dish isn't watery.
  • Cook the jumbo shells in boiling salted water according to the package directions until al dente. Be sure not to overcook the shells. If they are too soft, they may be difficult to stuff and hold their shape. Immediately drain the shells and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and pat dry with paper towel if necessary.
  • In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, basil, nutmeg, and some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Fill the shells with the cheese mixture and place them in the baking dish (with the cheese side up). I use a spoon to fill the shells, but you can also use a pastry bag or plastic bag with a corner cut off if you find that easier.
  • Top the shells with the remaining sauce.
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the shells are hot and heated through and the sauce is bubbly.
  • Serve with extra sauce and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • If you want extra-cheesy shells, you could sprinkle them with additional mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese before baking.
  • TO FREEZE: After you fill the shells with the cheese mixture, place them on a large baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Freeze for an hour or two until they are hard (this will keep them from sticking together in the freezer bags). Place in freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • TO COOK FROZEN SHELLS: Take out as many shells as you would like to cook. Adjust the amount of sauce needed accordingly. Spread some sauce into the bottom of the baking dish, add the frozen shells, and top with sauce. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350°F until heated through and bubbly. This can take 1 to 1½ hours or so. You could reduce the cooking time by thawing the shells overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Estimated calories are based on a serving size of 4 stuffed shells and do not include extra sauce or cheese. 
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