Spinach Stuffed Shells With Turkey Marinara

6 Jun

My first attempt at stuffed shells turned out very tasty. There are a lot of veggies in here and you can add more or alter to your liking. Also can use any other type of ground meat (or shredded/cubed chicken) or no meat at all.

Time: 15 min prep, 35 min cook     Serves: 6-8


  • Sauce

  • 1 batch Marinara Sauce or a 28 oz. jar of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, cut into chunks or slices (I used button)
  • 1 tbsp butter shopping list
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (I used dark meat)
  • Shells

  • 1/2 box jumbo shells pasta
  • 7 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated – divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly grated – to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 cups baby spinach, rough chop & tough stems removed
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Italian 5-cheese Blend but mozzarella is fine too)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Sauce

  • Heat a skillet over medium and add 1/4 cup water. Add ground turkey and season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring, until browned all over.
  • Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring, until tender & begin to release their own juices.
  • Pour sauce into a medium-large sauce pan. Using a slotted spoon, add browned turkey and sauteed mushrooms. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes then remove from heat.
  • Shells

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop pasta and move around with tongs or a pasta spoon. Cook for 2 minutes under the time suggested on the box. Stir occasionally to be sure they don’t stick to each other or the bottom. Drain & set aside.
  • Meanwhile, combine Ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, lemon juice, seasonings, basil, and spinach. Mix well.
  • In a large casserole or baking dish, spoon half of turkey marinara sauce into bottom. Fill each shell with a spoonful of Ricotta mixture, just enough to fill it but not so it’s oozing out. Place into sauce covered casserole. Continue until all shells are filled and in the pan. Spoon remaining marinara over the shells evenly. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and top with shredded cheese and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan then return to oven for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted. If you’d like to have your cheese slightly browned, place under broiler for about 2 minutes. Let set for a few minutes before serving.

*You can make this ahead but do not bake, just cool and then cover and refrigerate or freeze.

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