Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells


spinach and cheese stuffed shells | Cooking Classy

You can never have too many pasta recipes right? At least that’s what I believe. I could happily eat pasta every day. Yes, I love my carbs. The other thing I really really love, cheese! I’ve heard people say they don’t even keep cheese in the house and they only eat it when they splurge and I’m thinking, uhhh, your totally joking right? How is that humanly possible :). I’ll never give up cheese. It goes on everything and basically it just keeps me happy. Speaking of cheese, this has nothing to do with this recipe but have you ever tried fresh squeaky cheese? The kind that really squeaks while you eat it? That stuff is the best but it can be hard to come by if you don’t live near a place that makes it because once it travels it’s refrigerated (normally if it’s fresh it can be left out like 3 days I think) so if you buy it at the grocery store it’s cold and no longer squeaky. So if you find it fresh one day, grab it up because it’s delicious.

The cheeses in this recipe however are the basics that you should have no trouble finding. To me they are the Italian classics (I’d probably add Romano onto that list too, which you could actually swap out about 1/2 cup of the Mozzarella for in this recipe). They go perfectly with pasta and spinach. This recipe is quite similar to the Manicotti I have posted, which has always been one of my families favorites, so if you’ve tried that this recipe, this will seem rather familiar to you. Enjoy!

spinach and cheese stuffed shells | Cooking Classy

spinach and cheese stuffed shells | Cooking Classy


Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Yield: 10 Servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 30 jumbo pasta shells , cooked according to directions listed on package
  • 15 oz . fresh spinach , steamed just until wilted, squeezed dry with paper towels and chopped*
  • 15 oz . Ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic , finely minced
  • 3 cups (12 oz) mozzarella cheese, finely shredded, divided
  • 1 cup (3.5 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 3 cups marinara sauce , homemade or store-bought (I used this recipe)
  • red pepper flakes , optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, using a fork, blend together Ricotta cheese and egg. Stir in basil, thyme and garlic. Add 2 cups mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and toss mixture to combine. Mix in prepared spinach. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Spread 1/3 cup pasta sauce into an even layer along bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Divide cheese mixture among cooked pasta shells, stuffing each shell full with about 2 Tbsp cheese mixture. Align shells in baking dish side by side, with the opening of shells facing upright. Stir red pepper flakes to taste into marinara sauce if desired. Cover shells evenly with remaining marinara sauce then sprinkle tops evenly with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Serve warm.
  3. *If you don't want to steam fresh spinach, you could also use frozen and thawed spinach, just dry it well by squeezing dry with several layers of paper towels.
  4. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Mimi @ Culinary Couture: I loooove stuffed shells! And carbs! And cheese! If I’m posting a savory dish on my blog, chances are it’s going to be pasta! Lol May 22, 2013 at 10:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That’s how I feel too :). I love carbs and cheese they’re they best :). May 23, 2013 at 9:35am Reply

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar: This is my kind of dinner!! May 23, 2013 at 4:27am Reply

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel: This is such a great party dish! Perfect for a crowd :) May 23, 2013 at 6:08am Reply

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking: This is one of my favorite Italian comfort foods! Your stuffed shells look so delicious, and great photos too, Jaclyn! May 23, 2013 at 7:03am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Georgia :)! May 23, 2013 at 9:08am Reply

  • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes): I love this spinach and cheese combo. I adore spinach with pasta. Gorgeous photos too! May 23, 2013 at 9:18am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Jocelyn! May 23, 2013 at 9:33am Reply

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress): Def. never too many pasta recipes-I LOVE these!!! May 23, 2013 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: Stuffed shells – how did you know that this is my ultimate weakness?! May 23, 2013 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Rachel @ Bakerita: Mmmm… carbs and cheese. Two of my favorite things! :) You’re so right, I could never give up cheese. It’s amazing! I would eat pasta and cheese and bread at every meal if it didn’t make me fat, haha. But in this case, the spinach makes it guilt free, right?!!
    Pinned! :) May 24, 2013 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes definitely :). Thanks for the pin rachel! May 25, 2013 at 9:22am Reply

  • Monica: This is perfect for large group gatherings this summer and this is one dish that family will say “more please”. May 27, 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

  • Sarah: Hah! I never understand when people say they don’t keep cheeses around either. My reaction is pretty much exactly what you wrote, “Uh…but don’t you think cheese (or carbs, sugar, chocolate) is necessary to keep you happy?” Everything in moderation and then you don’t have to give anything up! These stuffed shells look amazing. I’m adding them to my list! May 29, 2013 at 11:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Exactly, eating things in moderation is just what I say. I can’t give up the good stuff! Thanks for your comment Sarah! June 1, 2013 at 10:08am Reply

  • Margare: I had a dinner party this Saturday and of course I went straight to your blog to find the perfect meal to serve! This was HUGE hit!! Not only was it fun to make, but so easy and rather inexpensive. My friends and family raved about it. Thank you so much! June 17, 2013 at 8:13am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad to hear these were enjoyed Margare! Thanks so much for leaving a comment – I’m glad you trust my recipes to be good :). June 19, 2013 at 10:46am Reply

  • Friday Favorites | The Cookin' Chemist: […] Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells by Cooking. Classy. I’ve made these a couple of times already, and they’ve been a big hit. I am thinking these would freeze well in preparation for a quick meal, although I haven’t yet had a chance to try it. […] August 2, 2013 at 4:19pm Reply

  • Lisa: I like to boil the shells, let them cool, stuff them, put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they are frozen, put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Take out just what you need. December 7, 2013 at 8:03pm Reply

  • Nicki Escudero: Hi, Jaclyn, I made these last night, and they were amazing! Thanks so much for sharing such a great recipe! Nicki March 16, 2015 at 7:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So great to hear Nicki! Glad you loved them! March 30, 2015 at 4:49pm Reply

  • SandyW: What I love about these is I make them up and put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them. I then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag and that way I can just pull out how many I want whenever we want them. Since its just the two of us, that’s five premade meals. I prefer to let them thaw before baking but I have done them frozen too, they just take a little longer. March 29, 2016 at 6:25am Reply

  • Sandy: I browned some ground beef and added it to the ricotta and spinach mix as well as the sauce. This recipe also got split into three 8×8 pans..one for tonight and two frozen. Hubby is a happy, happy man! Thanks for the easy recipe! July 18, 2016 at 7:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad to hear Sandy! July 19, 2016 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Brenda Willis: Could you do these the night before and bake them next day? July 26, 2016 at 10:32pm Reply

  • Brenda: Can this be put together the night before and baked the next day? July 27, 2016 at 8:47pm Reply

  • Angie: Tried this tonite for lent.it was very good but a little bland needed more spices March 31, 2017 at 5:25pm Reply

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