Sausage Stuffed Shells with Spinach

This easy stuffed shells recipe with sausage, spinach, tomato, and ricotta cheese will make just about anyone reach in for more. Jump to the Sausage Stuffed Shells Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.

Sausage Stuffed Shells Recipe with Spinach

The first time we made these, I left the table for a minute or two and came back to find that Adam had single handedly finished at least half of the shells. It was at that moment that we both knew these had to be shared with you.

Sausage and Beef Lasagna RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This Perfect Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe has Italian sausage, ground beef, and lots of cheese. Hop over to the recipe to see our tips for making it best (and in advance).

How to Make Sausage Stuffed Shells with Spinach

These stuffed shells are pretty simple to make and are perfect for making in advance. (We’ve shared lots of tips below for making them ahead).

How to Make Sausage Stuffed Shells with Spinach

The meat filling is made with sausage, spinach, tomato, and ricotta cheese. We used pork sausage in the photos, but a chicken or turkey sausage also work. After browning the sausage, we throw in a can of diced tomatoes and some thawed spinach that has been squeezed dry.

The filling is made from sausage, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, and ricotta cheese.

Once the mixture cooks down a bit, ricotta cheese is stirred in to make it creamy.

Add ricotta cheese to the filling to make it creamy.

Then we generously fill cooked jumbo shells, scatter with cheese, and then bake until the cheese has melted and the tips of the shells begin to brown.

Make Ahead Tips

  • The filling can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about 3 months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags to store the filling. To thaw, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Baked shells freeze well. Let them cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it well with foil (we use two layers). Defrost the frozen shells overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
  • Filled and unbaked shells can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover the unbaked stuffed shells with foil then bake the next day in a 350 degree F oven.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: These fun and easy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells, a riff on our favorite hot wing recipe.

Baked Stuffed Shells with Sausage and Spinach

Recipe updated, originally posted December 2011. Since posting this in 2011, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Sausage Stuffed Shells Recipe with Spinach

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

The filling for these easy stuffed shells holds up well. These double as dinner or finger food. The sausage you choose is up to you. Chicken or turkey sausage instead of pork sausage would be great. If you do choose a sausage that’s lower in fat, add a little oil to the pan before browning. When making stuffed shells, add a few more dried pasta shells to the water than you will need since some will rip. The filling for this recipe should fill about 16 shells.

Makes approximately 5 servings

You Will Need

20 jumbo dried pasta shells

1 pound fresh pork sausage, casings removed (see note)

3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1 1/4 cups)

4 ounces ricotta cheese (about 1/2 cup)

2 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Warm marinara sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions

  • Prepare Shells
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

    Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta shells then follow package directions for cooking the shells. Drain, and then rinse the shells with cold water.

    Meanwhile, heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the sausage cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces in the pan.

    Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, as well as the thawed and ringed out spinach. Cook until heated through and liquid reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the ricotta cheese. Taste for seasoning then adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

    • To Finish
    • Fill each shell with sausage filling and arrange into the baking dish. Scatter mozzarella cheese on top. Bake until the tips of the shells begin to brown and the cheese has melted, about 25 minutes. Serve with a warm marinara sauce (optional).

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Depending on the store, you can find bulk sausage. If you cannot and instead buy sausage formed into links, remove the casings by cutting a slit down the sausage and pulling the casing away from the meat.Remove Sausage Casings
  • Cooked fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen. Cook about 1 pound of fresh spinach until wilted, squeeze out excess moisture and add to the filling.
  • The filling can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about 3 months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags. To thaw, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Baked shells freeze well. Let them cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it well with foil (we use two layers). Defrost the frozen shells overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated through.
  • Filled and unbaked shells can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover the unbaked stuffed shells with foil then bake the next day in a 350 degree F oven.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 625 / Protein 33 g / Carbohydrate 32 g / Dietary Fiber 7 g / Total Sugars 8 g / Total Fat 30 g / Saturated Fat 13 g / Cholesterol 86 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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155 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Kelly April 11, 2012, 12:56 pm

    I made these last night.. and for some reason when i took them out of the oven the pasta became hard, almost dried it out… what did i do wrong?

    Reply
    • Joanne April 11, 2012, 1:09 pm

      Hi Kelly, the shells should get a little crispy around the edges, but not super hard. If the shells were not full, that could have lead to the shells drying out a bit too much… sorry it didn’t work out for ya!

      Reply
  • Marisa March 28, 2012, 10:09 pm

    I just wanted to drop a comment to say thank you SO much for this recipe. My family absolutely loved it! 🙂

    Reply
  • rebecca freeze March 28, 2012, 5:14 pm

    trying this tonight..I may have got the wrong sausage..but I am gonna use Italian sausage .hope they come out great !

    Reply
  • Stephanie March 13, 2012, 6:06 pm

    Do you have to use frozen spinach or does fresh baby spinach work just as well?

    Reply
    • Joanne March 14, 2012, 10:32 am

      fresh spinach is fine, too!

      Reply
  • Stephanie March 8, 2012, 2:48 pm

    I love your photos of step by step instructions…so nice. Great dish!

    Reply
    • Joanne March 8, 2012, 4:54 pm

      thank you!

      Reply
  • Karen March 6, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Hi Joanne & Adam! I found your recipe on pinterest and made a double batch tonight for dinner. It was a huge hit! My family loved it and we will definitely make them again. I did tweek the recipe a bit by using rolls of bulk pork sausage, onion and both fire roasted tomatoes & a can of tomatoe, basil & garlic tomatoes. Not big differences but it was delish! Thanks for sharing your recipes and a little piece of yourselves with us….I love your Blog! Keep cooking and writing. 🙂

    Reply
  • Leslie March 5, 2012, 12:21 pm

    What kind of side items do you suggest??

    Reply
    • Joanne March 5, 2012, 3:22 pm

      Hi Leslie, Try a light salad or even some cooked/steamed vegetables. The shells are pretty substantial, so anything light on the side would be great.

      Reply
  • Kellie March 4, 2012, 12:30 am

    I made these as an appetizer for a party and they were great!

    Reply
  • Stephanie March 3, 2012, 7:13 pm

    Great Recipe!!! I have been looking for a good stuffed shell recipe. I have a question…..do you think I can substitute the sausage for shrimp?

    Reply
    • Adam March 4, 2012, 2:33 pm

      Shrimp is a great idea. Let us know how it goes if you decide to try it out!

      Reply
  • Chris February 27, 2012, 9:05 pm

    Very tasty. I had more than enough filling for 16 shells and used the rest to make sandwiches. Will have to try the taco version next.

    Reply
  • Dawn February 20, 2012, 7:04 pm

    I made these last nite! So frigin delish! Thanks for sharing….

    Reply
    • Joanne February 21, 2012, 10:47 am

      so glad you liked them!

      Reply
  • wintersundays February 17, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Just made this. Just love, love this dish!! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  • Pennie February 16, 2012, 9:48 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My family LOVED it….and they are very picky eaters!

    Reply
  • Cathy February 14, 2012, 7:45 pm

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I just made it and the whole family loved it. The recipe was easy to follow and quick to make. Will definitely be making this again 🙂

    Reply
    • Adam February 15, 2012, 3:43 pm

      So glad you liked it!

      Reply
  • Jill January 30, 2012, 10:25 pm

    OMG!! This was fantastic! I did add mushrooms and it was very easy and everyone loved it!! It wasn’t as heavy as I would of thought, it was perfect! Great to add to our meal plan for sure!! Thank you so much!!

    Reply
    • Joanne January 31, 2012, 9:03 am

      so happy you liked it, Jill!
      -joanne

      Reply

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