Updated: Oct 9
It's been a minute since I shared another pasta recipe. I'm going through my cabinets and fridge trying to eat up what I have before I buy more (the struggle), and I saw a box of jumbo pasta shells in the pantry. As soon as I spotted these, I instantly knew what I was making for dinner!
I love these stuffed shells because they feel and look so fancy, even though they require the smallest effort. Sometimes I keep it vegetarian, sometimes I add Italian sausage or even make a seafood version. The best part - and y'all know I get hype over this - is they are so freezer-friendly! Normally, especially if I'm eating by myself, I make enough for about 3 meals for me and freeze the rest to pull out on nights I really don't feel like any effort.
I included a quick blurb on how to whip up some marinara sauce in a hurry, although the jarred stuff will do (if you just have to...)
Anyway, impress your family and friends with this super easy Vegetarian Stuffed Shells recipe. Let me know in the comments - what are some of your go-to dinner ideas?
White Mushrooms, finely chopped | 4 oz. | $1.00
Spinach, chopped | 6 oz. | $0.65
Ricotta | 10 oz | $1.46
Large Egg | 1 ct. | $0.11
Mozzarella, shredded | 1/2 cup | $0.94
Marinara Sauce* | 1 1/2 cups| $0.75
Jumbo Pasta Shells** | 20 ct. | $1.25
*Store-bought if you like, or scroll down to see a super easy homemade version!
** Note that a couple of these may break during prep... they still taste just as good even when they aren't super photogenic!
1. Boil a large pot of water + salt until it is at a rolling boil. Add pasta shells and cook for about 2 minutes less than the directions on the package - these will fully cook in the oven.
2. Once shells are done, drain and set aside. I actually blanch them with a quick ice bath to completely stop the cooking process.
3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add olive oil.
4. Add sliced mushrooms and chopped spinach to skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are browned. The spinach will release water as it cooks down; drain any excess.
5. In a medium-sized bowl, add veggies, cheeses, and seasonings (I use Italian seasoning, black pepper, and garlic powder.) When the mixture tastes great, stir in your egg until fully incorporated.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Don't want to use store-bought? Quickly add either a can of crushed tomatoes or a can of tomato sauce to a small saucepot. Add a tablespoon of sugar (to cut the acidity) and season with listed seasonings above. Let simmer until flavors are incorporated fully.
7. Take your cheese and veggie mixture and stuff the shells. Some people use piping bags, but I get down and dirty with a regular serving spoon and my (washed!) hands.
8. Layer stuffed shells on top of the marinara sauce. If you have any remaining marinara, either cover the shells or save for dunking once everything is done!
9. Bake for about 25 minutes, covered in aluminum foil. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes until the tops begin to brown and your sauce is bubbling.
10. If you prefer, sprinkle a bit of parmesan on top and serve while still hot. Enjoy!
To freeze, stuff the shells as written above and then layer on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for about an hour to ensure that they will not stick together. After an hour, remove and add to a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
To reheat, bake frozen shells and sauce uncovered at 375°F for 30-45 minutes until fully heated through. Enjoy!
The Coined Breakdown
Total Cost per serving: $1.54
Total Cost (6 servings): $6.16
Those Other Guys: $12.99 per serving
Total Savings: over $40 in dinner savings!