My daughter loves pasta but hates veggies. I can never ever get her to eat anything with veggies in it because she will spot them right away and start removing them. Over the years I’ve developed a ton of recipes that I can hide veggies into without her noticing.
This is a great recipe for sneaking spinach into your kids’ diet. I cut the spinach into big pieces because I made this batch for you guys but if your kids are picky you can chop the spinach into smaller pieces and they will melt right into the meat sauce and they won’t even notice it’s spinach!
This whole dish is simple and easy to put together and can also be prepared ahead of time and then popped in the oven or microwave as needed. If you don’t have the jumbo shells you can use any other type of pasta, follow the same directions for cooking to pasta al dente style and layer the pasta and meat sauce in a casserole dish.
- 6 ounces jumbo pasta shells about 12-14 shells
- 2 cups loosely packed spinach
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoons basil
- 1 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt+pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a big pot boil 6 cups of water and cook shells al dente style (according to package), add salt and pepper to taste.
- While the shells are boiling Heat a large pan or skillet. Add the ground beef (no oil needed) and brown for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped onions, garlic, basil, oregano, tomato paste and salt + pepper to taste. Simmer for 2 minutes then add the spinach and simmer for 2 more minutes.
- After the shells are cooked (be careful not to overcook because they will start to break apart) and the meat sauce is ready put the mixture in the shells like a tablespoon and half into each one line them up in across a 13x19 casserole dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the top, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese and cook for 15 minutes at 400°F.
I made this recipe because it seemed easy…. What a hit! Everyone at worked loved them. They kept calling me a chef 👩🍳. Thank you for sharing. Only thing I did different was I added chopped fresh mushrooms because I have an obsession.
Kelicia Harding says
This recipe is fabulous. I as well doubled the ingredients but over all it was spot on and delicious. Thank you for sharing.
After browning the hamburger adding tsp of t paste it was very dry. Added spinach and covered pan cuz it was still dry and didn’t have any liquid to simmer. Added another tbls of paste and 2 tbls of water. Then it simmered a bit. Because it was still so dry I added half of the cheeses. This made stuffing the shells cuz it held the meat and veggies together. Place the stuffed shells in pan that was sprayed with baking oil. Added whole jar of marinara and topped with rest of cheese. Some of the shells dried out around edges and actually got crispy. The center shells were absolutely delish. Great flavor and I followed the those veggie and spices exactly. Next time will lower temp to 375°.
Chris Pietrzyk says
Sooo good! Did not change the recipe was great! Family loved it.
Donut care says
Love food Soo much I like making my own new things as long there’s no mushrooms in it but getting popular ones from people is great to I do not like how people half to add in a dumb back story though because I came here for food ideas not a story weather it’s long or short
Had 3 men who had been working out in the hot son wanting dinner. I had spinach and hambuger and shells. A google search landed on this delicious recipe. I added some sage sausage and diced grape tomotoes. They loved it so much they ate their fill and even turned down ice cream.
Do you drain the fat after browning meat
No need to drain unless your meat is super oily!
CAROLINE J says
I do drain it…
I used sausage instead of ground beef and added MUSHROOMS! Amazing! Than for the reCipe!cant wait to Share
Petula Johnson says
This is a great dish!!
I took the liberty to to add a tomat0, onion and garlic sauce which enhanced the flavors….
enough said, it’s time to eat!!!!
Have fixed this befoRe Made a lot. I froze them 3 or 4 to a container and they tasted as good as fresh. Used frozen spinach thawed and squeezed and extra cheese italian seasoning too
Sounds good, but recipes without the nutritional info are useless to me since being diabetic means carb watching is a must!
Robin Shultz says
Jaci, Get MyFitnessPal app. You can enter a recipe into the recipe section and it will break the recipe down into the nutritional components. I’m a diabetic, too, and us the MyFitnessPal app DAILY to keep track of my carbs. I don’t have to do any meds! Yeah me!
Tonya Payne says
You also can use whole wheat pasta to lower the carb count. 🙂
Can I tuna to this recipe
Ricotta Stuffed Shells (2 shella) contains 25g total carbs, 23g net carbs, 12g fat, 14g protein, and 260 calories.
Now go have yourself some !
Gwennabaker@yahoo.com Baker says
I doubled the recipe and added more marinara and it’s delish!
are there any nutritional facts available?
Robin Shultz says
See my comment to Jaci
Do you drain the fat after browning the meat?
Kristin Barricks says
Making an unstuffed version of this. Instead of stuffing jumbo shells with the hamburger mixture I have mixed the hamburger mixture with small shells and covered with the pasta sauce and cheese. hope it turns out good Thanks
My boyfriend loved these. He did request I put more cheese on them next time though. I am also going to substitute the regular marinara for a traditional pasta sauce, but that’s more of my preference.
You never used the ricotta?
Also you have us preheat the oven to 400 then tell us to cook the shells at 350? I don’t understand.
I usually use ricotta cheese in my stuffed shells but this recipe is better without the ricotta. Also, sorry about the temperature. I’ll have that fixed; it’s 400F. Please do let me know if you make it!
Diane Marshall says
I added chorizo to the hamburger about 1/3 the amount it turned out great. Just add to the hamburger when frying and drain well.
Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says
Lol I totally relate to your daughter! And this would def. pass the muster for me-deliiiicious shells!
Consuelo - Honey & Figs says
Hahaha I love veggies but I hate pasta ;–) Anyway, these look so awesome that I think I could give them a go. MMMM THAT CHEESE <3 Absolutely calling my name! xx
Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps says
I don’t have kids yet but im still obsessed with these, meat, cheese and pasta, how can you go wrong?!