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

Food Travel: Our Lives Outside the Kitchen

A Perfect Weekend in Walla Walla, Washington

We’re in love with our hometown, Walla Walla. Read on for lots of insider’s tips for where to eat and drink, including some of our favorite wineries. Read More…

Get Free Recipes by Email

Get insanely delicious FREE recipes and cooking videos in your inbox. Enter your email address below:

157 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Danielle November 19, 2012, 8:15 pm

    AMAZING!!! I just finished eating (way too many of them) and they rock! Cant wait to make them for my dinner swap!!

    Reply
  • Katie November 8, 2012, 8:04 pm

    I made these tonight and they were pretty amazing! I substituted cream cheese for the ricotta (I get squeemish around ricotta and cottage cheeses) and they were still fantastic! I also added some shaved parmesan to the filling mix. I’ll be making this for the in-laws and other guests when they visit. These have a huge WOW Factor and they’re sooooooo easy. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Joanne November 9, 2012, 10:47 am

      Great! We’re so happy you loved them 🙂

      Reply
  • Annie November 6, 2012, 7:01 pm

    I just made the recipe and it’s in the oven now. The stuffing is good and I’m sure the whole thing will be delicious but it definitely didn’t only took 5 minutes to prepare…

    Reply
    • Joanne November 7, 2012, 4:31 pm

      Hi Annie! You’re right — that was a mistake in the recipe. We made the prep time 15 minutes. Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention 🙂

      Reply
  • Jordan October 22, 2012, 10:33 am

    I will never make regular stuffed shells again! I used fresh spinach instead of frozen, and added a few Italian staples that were missing from the ingredients like fresh basil and oregano, as well as garlic powder and parmigiana cheese. I also lined my pan with home made marinara sauce that I had left over from a previous meal. Such a delicious dish!

    Reply
    • Joanne October 22, 2012, 7:57 pm

      Thank you! Love all your additions 🙂

      Reply
  • Roshni October 18, 2012, 12:04 pm

    Super easy for a weeknight meal and tasted great! I used hot italian sausage – delicious!

    Reply
    • Joanne October 18, 2012, 12:21 pm

      Great idea to use the hot Italian sausage!

      Reply
  • Christi October 15, 2012, 9:49 am

    Found this on Pinterest and boy, was it a hit! I made these last night, with a few minor changes. I doubled the recipe, used basil, oregano flavor canned tomatoes, added italian seasoning, used hot italian sausage and topped with a marinara sauce. I had four hungry guys to feed and they were moaning through the whole meal and going back for seconds. Needless to say, they said the recipe was a keeper. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
    • Joanne October 18, 2012, 12:26 pm

      So glad you and your family/friends liked it!

      Reply
  • Heather September 3, 2012, 10:21 am

    Love this recipe! I am wanting to make this for a family in need of some extra meals. If I make it ahead of time and freeze it for them, how long would you recommend cooking it for? Can they cook it from frozen or would it need to completely thaw first? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Adam September 3, 2012, 11:10 am

      Heather — Yes, you can cook from frozen, we would suggest 45 minutes to an hour. (You may also want to add a little pasta sauce to the top before freezing, this way everything will stay moist during the extra cooking time).

      Reply
  • Nicole August 27, 2012, 11:54 pm

    I found this to be soo yummy.!!!! I did use Cream Cheese instead of the Ricotta because I do not care for how ricotta tastes or texture. Turned out wonderfully and was a big hit with my family even with my picky eater.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Adam August 30, 2012, 11:47 am

      Hi Nicole, So happy you (and your picky eater) enjoyed them!

      Reply
  • Jessica August 26, 2012, 7:42 pm

    I made this 8/26/12. It was DELICIOUS! My husband said it tasted like something you’d eat in a fancy restaurant. I did make some modifications, however: I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta; I used diced tomatoes WITH green chilies instead of just diced tomatoes; I added grated parmesano romano cheese to the mixture; I used 2 pounds of bulk sausage instead of one pound of sausage.

    Reply
  • D. Marie August 7, 2012, 9:37 pm

    I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it was a hit with my family. My husband even asked me to sub the sausage for Italian sausage. Next time. 🙂 Great recipe.

    Reply

Leave a Comment or Review

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our Comment Policy.

Did you make it? How was it?:

 

Previous Post: Next Post: