Spinach, Mushroom, & Ricotta Stuffed Shells - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Italian | Pasta | Savory

Spinach, Mushroom, & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

By Tessa Arias
March 4th, 2011
5 from 3 votes
5 from 3 votes

Because this recipe is delicious, quick enough to get on the table tonight, and happens to be a great meatless option. 

Yield: 4 -6 servings

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Addictive savory falvor; a lovely melding (or should I say "melting") of Italian flavors. Texture: CHEESY. With meaty chunks of mushroom and toothsome pasta. Ease: This only took me 15 minutes to prepare. Perfect for a meatless family dinner. Appearance: When I pulled my baking dish out of the oven I nearly drooled all over it. I happen to adore crisped cheese (if you like yours a little less crisp, broil for less time). Pros: Cheesy pasta. That's a pro in and of itself, right? Cons: None. Except for maybe that fact that your lactose intolerant friends can't enjoy. Which means more for you. Yay! Would I make this again? YES. I've been eating leftovers for lunch. Might change the flavor profile next time or substitute whatever is in season/in my fridge.

On Monday I blogged about those days in life when you just need a serving of carbs overloaded with cheese. I guess there are a lot of days like that in my life because today’s recipe is for cheese stuffed pasta. Whoops. Don’t hate me. Love me. Because this recipe is delicious, quick enough to get on the table tonight, and happens to be a great meatless option. Plus it’s super cheap, about $2 a serving. Take that, fast food.

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5 from 3 votes

How to make
Spinach, Mushroom, & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Yield: 4 -6 servings
Because this recipe is delicious, quick enough to get on the table tonight, and happens to be a great meatless option. 


  • 20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
  • 1 24- ounce jar marinara sauce (or 3 cups homemade sauce)
  • 1 15- ounce container part-skim ricotta
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 8 oz chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)


  1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
  2. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, basil, mushrooms, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce. Alternatively, transfer mixture into a large ziploc bag, snip one corner, and pipe filling into shells.
  4. Sprinkle the shells with the mozzarella and bake until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to broil. Broil the shells until cheese begins to brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve with the salad.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Real Simple
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Italian
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Brian Hudson — September 1, 2021 at 8:52 am

    I amazed myself, the recipe was so easy and the bomb.com, my wife just loved it also. I’ll be making this a lot!!!

    • #
      Emily — September 1, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      So happy to hear this recipe was a hit! Thanks for the comment, Brian 🙂

  2. #
    Ione L Ishii — April 22, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Hi – I did not want a tomato based sauce, so made a lighter mushroom sauce (onions, garlic, white wine, chicken broth, and mushrooms), I also added about 1/4 pound of Italian sausage to the stuffing mix. Not vegetarian, but added a nice mixture of Italian herbs, etc – since there is ricotta and mozzarella, I added about 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. the results were terrific and it made enough for 2 baking pans – one in the oven and one in the freezer. Recommend it.

  3. #
    Lunara — July 26, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    My husband absolutely adores it and I generally end up making it once a week. It doesn’t always stay meatless, though. I’m known to add cooked chunked chicken into the mix and it’s just as amazing!

  4. #
    Frannie — February 2, 2018 at 10:56 am

    My son isn’t crazy about red sauce.. which makes me sad.. but he loves the white sauces.. Has anyone tried a bechamel or alfredo type sauce with this stuffed shell recipe?

  5. #
    Jenna — March 8, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Cooking this tonight!! DO I need to sauté the spinach and mushrooms before putting them in mix?!?

  6. #
    Liz — February 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I made it for dinner tonight and it was wonderful.

    • #
      Tessa — February 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Yay!! 🙂

  7. #
    Rachie79 — February 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    This reciepe is amazing.very easy and I used all fresh ingredients!!! I made Paul prudan red gravy from fresh ingredients as well!i love everyone’s variations,I would like to try the ground sausage!

  8. #
    Jessica — May 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    GREAT recipe! I added in some extra herbs (fresh oregano and a touch of crushed red pepper, too). I also put only 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom, 1/3 IN the ricotta mix, and drizzled the remaining on top then covered with cheese. LOVE the fresh spinach rather than frozen! Will try adding sausage next time.

  9. #
    Sherlly — April 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Hi there! I made this for dinner last weekend and it was super super delish!

  10. #
    Kellyd — February 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Made it tonight and I substituted ground italian sausage for the mushrooms because myhusband wont go meatless ;)… so yummy

  11. #
    Lauren — February 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    This looks amazing… Any suggestions for substituting the mushrooms? My roommate is allergic so I try to refrain from using them.

    • #
      Becky — March 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      The original recipe in Real Simple doesn't use mushrooms (or basil), so you could just leave the mushrooms out and it should work fine.

  12. #
    Erica — January 25, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Turned out great!

  13. #
    Small Burst — January 11, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks for this. I stumbled on your website looking for this recipe! off to make it for dinner…

  14. #
    Tessa — August 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Yes it does change. I used fresh spinach. If you wanted to use frozen spinach, it would be about 2-3 ounces of frozen spinach (just make sure you thaw and strain out excess water).

  15. #
    35a311d2-cfff-11e0-ba37-000bcdca4d7a — August 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Does the spinach amount change using fresh vs frozen? Which did you use?

  16. #
    Angela — March 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I have (had) a much more complicated go to recipe for shells. This one was much easier, and I think tasted even better!!

  17. #
    Tracy — March 22, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Hi! I made this tonight and my husband and I both loved it! I used frozen spinach (de-thawed) and it worked great!

  18. #
    HausFrau — March 15, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Mmm, made this tonight! It was yummy. Just a few notes, the filling kind of gets watery, so I suggest making this with (thawed and drained) frozen spinach, or cooking the spinach and mushrooms separately before adding them to the filling. Other than that, perfect!

  19. #
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — March 9, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Tessa, you have such a beautiful blog and this is a great recipe! I also saw this in Real Simple and was thinking of trying it… glad it got rave reviews from you! Their recipes are always so great. I'm looking forward to exploring your recipes! 🙂

  20. #
    Pickled Sweets — March 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

    that looks fabulous! im an ABSOLUTE sucker for anything cheesy. mmm!

  21. #
    envierecipes — March 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I love the look of this. The fact that it is not swimming in sauce really makes the dish. Thanks!

  22. #
    Bridget — March 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    This looks fantastic! I love how the sauce is under the shells instead of spread on top, so the cheese can really get brown. I haven't made stuffed shells in years – that needs to be remedied!

  23. #
    Tracey — March 5, 2011 at 1:24 am

    I love stuffed shells – they really are a great, simple meal. And, like you said, leftovers are really tasty!

  24. #
    Kat — March 5, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Umm, yeah. I could deal with that. 🙂

  25. #
    Abigail-Madison Chase — March 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    This looks so delicious….I have to make it soon

  26. #
    Erica Lea — March 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    This looks delicious! And easy. Haha. Yep. Gotta loves lots of cheese. 🙂 Your photo is enticing as well.


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