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Three stuffed pasta shells with tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top.
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5 from 5 votes

Spinach Stuffed Shells

Jumbo pasta shells filled with a cheesy spinach mixture with Italian sausage baked together with a marinara sauce.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 7 people
Calories: 589kcal
Author: Kathy


  • 20 -24 Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage Spicy or Sweet
  • 10 ounces Baby Spinach Fresh
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 cups Ricotta Cheese Whole milk
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Basil
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce
  • 4 ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cubed
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese Shredded
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs For garnish, optional


  • Cook pasta shells
  • Cook Italian sausage. Wipe out pan when finished and use same pan for spinach.
  • Sautee garlic for a few seconds in a pan. Add fresh spinach. I add in large batches, allowing spinach to cook down before adding more. Keep all spinach in pan until it has all been cooked. Remove spinach to a colander and allow spinach to cool. Once cool, squeeze out all liquid. This takes a lot of squeezing. Keep rotating spinach in your hands and squeeze until all liquid is removed.
  • Coarsely chop spinach
  • Combine ricotta, parmesan, egg and seasonings together in a bowl.
  • Add chopped spinach and fold until combined
  • Add cooled sausage, be careful to not add any of the grease.
  • Carefully stuff each pasta shell with 3 tablespoons of cheese filling. Place each stuffed shell in a greased baking dish with a layer of marinara sauce. Continue filling all shells until dish is full.
  • Drop spoonfuls of sauce around the filled shells. Place diced mozzarella on top of shells. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese over top
  • Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes. Turn broiler on for an additional 5 minutes and cook until the cheese is slightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and allow dish to rest for 10 minutes Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with additional marinara sauce


  • I usually cook a few extra shells in case one falls apart and can't be used
  • The spinach cooks down from about 10 cups of spinach to about 1 cup of cooked and squeezed spinach
  • To make ahead of time, cover and refrigerate after filling shells and adding sauce and cheese. Bake as directed, increasing baking time by 15-20 minutes.
  • To prevent cheese from sticking to foil, spray foil lightly with a nonstick spray before placing on dish
Substitutions and variations
  • Use frozen spinach in place of fresh. Allow spinach to fully thaw and then squeeze out all liquid
  • Omit Italian sausage to make a vegetarian version
  • Use cottage cheese in place of the ricotta cheese. This is a great way to save money when making this dish. The cottage cheese is extra creamy and once cooked, you can't tell the difference.
  • Add sautéed mushrooms for extra flavor


Serving: 3shells | Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 1425mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4764IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 389mg | Iron: 4mg