SPINACH AND CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS

This easy Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells recipe is one of our favorite dinners. These shells are make ahead and freezer friendly, so make a big batch to enjoy for dinners and lunches!



If you love cheese, then these shells are for you. Filled with a mixture of four cheeses and spinach, and then topped with marinara and grated mozzarella, these shells are totally cheesy and totally delicious.
Cottage cheese is my secret ingredient in these shells, lightening them up a bit healthier without you noticing at all. When I make these, we get two meals out of them, plus I freeze a third of the shells for a later meal. I’ve included make ahead instructions in the recipe below. 🙂


INGREDIENTS


  • 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach
  • 12 ounce package jumbo shells
  • 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cups cottage cheese
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 25 ounce jar of your favorite marinara sauce

DIRECTIONS
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the jumbo shells. Cook according to package directions for al dente. Be careful not to overcook the shells or they will fall apart as you fill them. Drain and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, defrost the spinach in the microwave. Using a clean kitchen towel, wring out the excess liquid. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a medium bowl stir together the ricotta, cottage cheese, half of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir in the spinach.
  5. Scoop the filling into the shells and place in a baking dish. (Any size will work- I usually portion the shells out into a few baking dishes according to how many my family will eat per meal. Directions for freezing extra shells are below.)
  6. Pour the marinara sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; uncover and bake for 5 minutes more until cheese is melted and shells are hot. Serve immediately.

Make Ahead Instructions:

  1. Shells can be prepared up to the baking step a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake and serve. You may have to add 5 minutes to the baking time for refrigerated shells.
  2. Alternatively, you can freeze unbaked shells for up to 2 months. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down close to the shells. Cover with a lid and then place in freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator for a day before baking as directed above.



WHY YOU’LL LOVE THESE SPINACH AND CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS:

  • The 4-cheese filling is wonderfully cheesy, yet light thanks to the cottage cheese.
  • Spinach adds a healthy dose of veggies to this pasta dish.
  • This recipe saves you time because it makes a lot of shells, which you can freeze for later.
~~ SPINACH AND CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS ~~