It’s time to impress your family and friends with this super easy Vegetarian Stuffed Shells recipe. We take ricotta cheese, spinach, and chopped mushrooms and stuff them inside jumbo pasta shells with tons of Italian-inspired seasonings. Then, we bake everything in a ton of marinara sauce with extra mozzarella on top until it’s hot and bubbly!
I love making 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, I make enough for about 3 meals and then freeze the rest to pull out on nights I really don’t feel like putting forth any effort on dinner.
- Ricotta Cheese: The ricotta cheese is going to give us a traditional taste to this flavor profile, plus it’s extra creamy and good. If you don’t like ricotta cheese, I suggest cream cheese as a substitute.
- Veggie Filling: For these meatless stuffed shells, we’re going to use spinach and mushrooms as our vegetables of choice. The great thing is you can customize this to your personal tastes; try some sundried tomatoes or a pea puree filling – the choice is yours!
- Jumbo Pasta Shells: I’ve never had trouble finding these in my local Kroger, but you can always order from Amazon if you can’t find them. We need the really big shells so it’s easy to stuff everything inside.
- Marinara Sauce: So I typically just make my own marinara sauce because it tastes so much better… and I’ve left instructions for that in the recipe card below! However, if you are super short on time, a jar of your favorite sauce will work.
How to Freeze Vegetarian Stuffed Shells
The freezing process for meatless stuffed shells is really easy. Just set the unbaked stuffed shells on a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer for an hour or so until they are solid. Then, add all of your frozen shells to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. When it’s time to eat, transfer straight from the freezer to a baking pan, add your sauce, and bake away.
Or, you can bake as usual and then freeze the shells and tomato sauce all together. To reheat, add the shells + sauce to a saucepan with a bit of water and then cover with a lid so it can steam.
Serve with a side salad for some extra veggies. Let me know in the comments – what are some of your go-to dinner ideas?
Of course! See the section above for freezing options – whether you want to freeze before baking or after baking.
I would suggest cream cheese as a substitute. I’m not a fan of cottage cheese, but I’ve heard about that being a good substitute if you blend it to make it silky smooth.
I normally use the Barilla brand – linked here – and they just call them “Jumbo Shells”. I’ve also seen store-brand versions at Target.
Other Dinner Recipes You’ll Love!
Vegetarian Stuffed Shells
- 20 ct. jumbo pasta shells about half the box
- 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 oz. white mushrooms finely chopped
- 6 oz. chopped spinach frozen, thawed
- ½ tsp. salt
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese plus more for topping
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 ct. egg large
- 1 jar marinara sauce about 24 oz.
- Cook 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 state – the pasta will fully cook in the oven.
- Once the shells are done, drain the water and blanch them with an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain once more, and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add sliced mushrooms, chopped spinach, and a tsp. of salt to the skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are browned. Remove from heat.The spinach will release water as it cooks down; drain any excess water.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the veggies, cheeses, and seasonings. When the mixture tastes great, stir in your egg until fully incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a 9×13 baking dish, spread the marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan.
- Take your ricotta mixture and stuff the shells. You can use piping bags or a regular serving spoon and (washed) hands.
- Layer the stuffed shells on top of the marinara sauce. Top with any remaining marinara sauce and extra cheese.
- Cover the pan in aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and your sauce is bubbling.
- Serve while still hot with a sprinkle of grated parmesan. 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: $1.45
- Total Cost (6 servings): $8.69
- Those Other Guys: $16.99 per serving