Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meatfree Monday: Stuffed Shells

     I was really excited to try my hand at making stuffed shells last week. I had eaten this at a friend's house another time, and it was delicious. I went the simple and quick route this time and used store bought marinara. I recommend using homemade as it does taste so much better, but if you are pressed for time the store bought works too.
     I recently 'stole' a food processor from my mom's house. Apparently, she's had it for quite a while and never used it. Seriously, this is the best kitchen tool. Ever...especially if you like to puree, shred, or hide things in your family's food like I do. I first used the processor to make these stuffed shells. I think I might have over done it a little. In the future I will probably use it to shred the spinach leaves, but I will mix it all up by hand so the texture will not be affected. The taste was not affected, so I'll also be making these shells again!
     Like most pasta dishes, this one was very filling and flavorful. I was worried that without meat and adding spinach, my family would rebel. They both ate and got seconds, so I'd say this meal was a success. I think my husband is warming up to the idea of a meatfree dish each week, and maybe I could even sneak in another day here and there too. It sure does save us money!
     As a side note: if you can't find jumbo pasta shells, you could substitute any noodle and layer the filling/noodles more like a casserole (or lasagna). I think the flavor would be pretty much the same...and you could use whole wheat noodles (I couldn't find whole wheat pasta shells!)
Estimated cost: $5
Shells $1, Ricotta $1.20, spinach $ 0.75, marinara $1.00, other $1

1 box of jumbo pasta shells
2 cups ricotta
2 cups fresh spinach (shredded)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup mozzarella
1 egg
1/3 cup fresh basil (chopped)
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
3- 4 cups marinara sauce

  • Boil pasta until just tender and drain well. 
  • Combine spinach, ricotta, 1/3 cup Parmesan,mozzarella, egg, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread 1/2 cup marinara in a 9x13 (I used two 8x8, so I could freeze one).
  • Fill each pasta shell with the spinach mixture. Arrange shells, filling side up, in the dish. Spoon remaining marinara sauce over the shells. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top of shells.
  • Cover loosely with foil and bake @ 350 until heated through (about 30 minutes)
  • Sprinkle with a little more mozzarella if desired. 
Meatfree features of the week...
a small collection of my favorite meat free recipes that I come across as I search the web each week. All the recipes that I post from various blogs will be stumbled to bring a little extra love to their posts...and if you happen to be one of my featured recipes you can grab my "I was featured on Meat Free Monday" button for your post.

White Bean Veggie Burger by Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Skillet Lasagna by Creatively Domestic

Jalapeno Popper Quiche by Closet Cooking


  1. I don't know if I could survive without my food processor! Your stuffed shells look like they turned out fabulous! My husband hates pasta dishes without meat unfortunately.

  2. Thanks for the link love! My husband loves Stuffed Shells, and we almost always have them meatless!


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