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Easy Cheesy Stuffed Shells Recipe: Use Spinach or Kale!

If you like stuffed shells then you will LOVE this Easy Cheesy Garden Harvest Stuffed Shells recipe. From the homemade spaghetti sauce to the mouthwatering herb ricotta, every part of this recipe is beaming with flavor. 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6
Calories 472 kcal


  • 1 package jumbo shells
  • 1 bunch spinach or kale enough for 10 oz or about 1 full cup when cooked
  • 2 teaspoons salt for pasta water
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped if you're not using a food processor
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped if you're not using a food processor
  • 1 ½ cups low moisture mozzarella cheese, grated divided
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated divided
  • 2 cups prepared marinara or spaghetti sauce


For the Spinach or Kale

  • If using kale, strip the leaves off the stems. Discard the stems.
    Flash blanch in boiling water until softened.
    Remove and drain.
    If you'll be using a food processor for the ricotta mixture, then rough chop the spinach. If you're mixing the ricotta mixture by hand, then finely chop the spinach (or kale).

Boil the pasta shells according to package directions

    For the ricotta filling

    • Using a food processor will lighten the ricotta mixture and make it more creamy, though it's not a necessary piece of equipment. You can easily mix everything in a medium bowl and combine it thoroughly.
      Combine the ricotta, garlic, egg, seasonings, ½ cup of the mozzarella, and ¼ cup of the parmesan. Mix well or blend in the processor. Scrape down the sides then add the spinach (or kale). Blend until thoroughly mixed.


    • Pour some prepared pasta sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish.
      Fill each pasta shell using a small spoon or fill a plastic baggie with the mixture and squeeze it in. I find this method easier.
    • Spoon more sauce around each shell, trying to not smother the top to allow the pretty green color to come through.
    • Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella around each shell and some on top. Then the parmesan.
    • Cover with foil, and bake at 350f for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to crisp up some of the cheese.
    • Garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley. (optional)


    Calories: 472kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 26gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 1613mgPotassium: 817mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 6417IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 458mgIron: 4mg
    Keyword baked, basil, cheesy, garlic, herbs, italian, kale, marinara, pasta, ricotta, spinach, stuffed shells
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!