Spinach Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

Pasta and me are BFF’s. I really don’t think I could go without carbs; I love pasta and bread far too much. Fresh croissants with pasta, even better. Hubs on the other hand is not much of a pasta fan; he’s a meat and potato and other worldly cuisine type.  I love all that too but not a pasta fan? Absurd! Paired with a cheesy spinach filling, yes, yes and more yes!

 

Spinach Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

 

Some people turn their nose up at spinach but it’s a favourite in my house. My kids actually prefer spinach salads over any other lettuce; add in fresh fruit, nuts and a homemade creamy poppy seed dressing and the blend of flavours make a lighter meal or side for any occasion. I can’t help but think of Popeye whenever I have spinach. Maybe I’m showing my age; Sweet Pea, Olive Oyl and Brutus, anyone?

 

Spinach Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

 

I know it’s convenient to use purchased jarred pasta sauce but making your own really isn’t that hard; it’s actually quite easy and in my opinion worth the extra few minutes.

 

Homemade Pasta Sauce

 

 

My mixer makes another appearance; I think green looks good on it’s sexy self.

 

Spinach Cheese Pasta Filling

Stuffing the shells can be a pain, the key is not to overcook the pasta, always add a little salt and oil to the water when cooking and after draining let the cooked noodles sit in a cold water bath for a few minutes. I wait until they are cold before trying to stuff them. Be gentle.

 

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

 

 

Before placing the stuffed shells in the baking dish, make sure to pour a little sauce covering the bottom to avoid the pasta sticking to the dish. I cooked mine in a smaller dish for presentation reasons so I had a little extra sauce. This recipe should make enough for the whole 250 g box of jumbo pasta shells.

PastaBaked

 

 

More cheese and more sauce, yes please.

 

Spinach Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

 

 

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5.0 from 7 reviews
Spinach Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 250 g package of Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • Sauce
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime, or tbsp of lime juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Filling
  • 500 g cottage cheese
  • 125 g cream cheese (half a 250 g block)
  • 1 medium bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cook shells as per instructions on package.
  2. Sauce: In a large saucepan sauté onions and garlic until tender in oil. Add canned tomatoes, paste, oregano, parsley and pepper stirring until mixed well. Add bay leaves and let simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
  3. Filling: In a mixer or using a hand blender, blend cream cheese and cottage cheese together. Add in remaining ingredients until mixed through, holding back ½ cup cheddar cheese for the top before baking.
  4. remove bay leaves and set aside; pour a layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.
  5. Gently stuff each shell with filling, approximately 1 tbsp per shell, and place in the baking dish side by side until all have been stuffed and placed in the dish.
  6. Cover with sauce and remaining cheddar cheese and bake covered (I use parchment paper because it doesn't stick to the cheese as much) at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.
  7. Uncover and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until cheese is browned.
  8. Serve hot with garlic bread or croissants.
Notes
These can be frozen after cooling in the baking dish. When reheating, allow to thaw before placing the dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered or until sauce is bubbling. If you start when the pasta is still frozen, you will need to cook it longer to reheat through.
You can use frozen spinach, 2 packages drained, in place of fresh spinach. 1 tsp garlic powder in place of cloves for the sauce (1/2 tsp for the filling) and 1 tbsp of dried parsley in place of fresh for the filling if you prefer.

 

For more yummy spinach recipes, try these: Spinach and Fruit Salad, Spinach Salad Bites, Strawberry Spinach SaladSpinach & Goat Cheese Quesadillas, Spinach and Cheese Egg MuffinsSpinach Mushroom Crepes.

 

About Stacey Martin

Editor and Chief of This Lil Piglet, Stacey will enlighten you on social media marketing tactics and source bloggers with tutorials to reach their potential. Readers can enjoy the many recipes, DIY projects, consider a product review, win some giveaways and grab a laugh every now and then with Stacey's posts. A little of this; a little of that at This Lil Piglet!

Comments

  1. I need a plate of that in my life right now. That looks soooooooooo good!!!!!
    Stacie recently posted..Violife Review & Giveaway (US & Can)My Profile

  2. That looks really good Stacey! I bet my girls would love them.
    Jody recently posted..Strawberry Spinach SaladMy Profile

  3. HEY! Pasta and me are BFF’s too! Let’s all exchange friendship bracelets! lol
    Thanks for the yummy recipe, you know the pasta lover in me is definitely going to try this!!
    Tammi @ My Organized Chaos recently posted..Spinach and Fruit SaladMy Profile

  4. Ok, I need this on my table right now…it looks seriously delicious!!
    Jo-Anna recently posted..Spinach & Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions and Sundried TomatoesMy Profile

  5. I love spinach & cheese, so I know I’d love these! …hey that rhymes.
    Stephanie LaPlante recently posted..FunDayMental FridayMy Profile

  6. OMG! My mouth is watering just by looking at the photos!!! They looks so yummy.

  7. Those sound very yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. Very nice recipe. Love stuffed pasta shells. I’ve read that you should never add oil to the water when cooking pasta. It makes the pasta oily & prevents the sauce from adhering to the pasta properly. Also, the amount of salt used should be 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt added to a large pot of water. If using stainless-steel pots always add the salt after the water boils. If you add before, the salt sitting on the bottom of pot before it dissolves will pit the finish (according to Lagastina care & use guide).

    • This is just boxed pasta; cook as directed on the package (on the package it actually recommends sunflower oil while boiling). It’s likely slightly different if you are cooking homemade pasta which I will be attempting in a couple weeks. I rinse my pasta thoroughly with hot water after cooking and then let it sit in a cold water bath until cool; I’ve never had a problem with oily pasta but I find my pasta never sticks together with this method. I use oil while I boil perogies too, exact same method with salt, and they never stick. If you wait until the cold water bath cools them completely through, you can fry them in a bit of butter and they won’t stick together either. Actually the sauce required oil in the recipe so theoretically that doesn’t add up (I’m sure there are recipes without which I will be posting in the future). Also, if you use cheese in your pasta, which most do (although usually mozza), you are contending with the oil of the cheese. You could definitely make a bit of a lighter version by swapping out the type of cheese. I prefer medium cheddar for more flavour but mozza or ricotta would be great alternatives if you want little to no oil, otherwise you should cut cheddar with another cheese to reduce the oil level (cue cottage cheese and Parmesan from the recipe above); cheddar with pasta on it’s own is not a great idea simply because it’s too oily. I also have Lagostina pots, also KitchenAid non-stick. I love my KitchenAid frying pans, love them!

      • Never thought of adding oil to the water for perogies. I remember the first time I ever made perogies. Made about 4 doz. As I was making them, I was just tossing them in a bowl on top of one another. Had no idea that I wasn’t supposed to do that. Imagine my frustration when I went to toss them in the boiling water & they all stuck together. Was I ever pissed. Had to pull them all apart, Scrape out the filling, reroll & remake. Needless to say dinner was a bit late that night. Have you tried the sour cream & flour perogy dough?

        ps..good luck tomorrow.

  9. Have never attempted to make home made crescent rolls. Do you have a photo-recipe for those, please and thank you.

  10. Your recipes always ROCK Stacey!!!!
    Kristen @ My 3 Little Kittens recently posted..Bringing Pages to Life with Raincoast BooksMy Profile

  11. These look really delicious Stacey! My family would love this recipe. We have a recipe for stuffed shells that is different from this, but I would love to try this….it looks amazing! Angie xo
    Angie@Echoes of Laughter recently posted..Healthy Bunny Snack {Gluten Free, Nut Free & Dairy Free}My Profile

  12. OH YUM! This sounds a lot better then the one I make ;)

    You’re right, making your own sauce is so much better, I don’t know if it’s the love behind it or the fact that it’s free of chemicals but it sure tastes a whole lot better then jarred.
    Randa @ TBK recently posted..Monday Funday Linky Party {August 11}My Profile

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