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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157 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Kathy June 8, 2013, 11:01 am

    I have made this and now use the small sweet peppers instead of pasta shells. It’s better to me, but the sausage stuffing is great. Everyone I’ve given these to loves them. Great recipe, it’s a keeper and I make over and over.

    Reply
    • Joanne June 10, 2013, 10:04 am

      Love your idea for using small peppers instead of pasta!

      Reply
  • titan watches April 21, 2013, 5:17 am

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  • Anna February 26, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I found you from Pinterest and i will definitely bookmark your site. I love your recipes.. I cannot wait to try to recipe.

    Reply
  • Kristin January 31, 2013, 10:26 pm

    Step by step was perfect!!! Loved this recipe!
    My sausage took about 15 mins to cook and then I added the other ingredients.

    Reply
  • Jocelyn January 6, 2013, 6:52 pm

    I made this for supper, very yummy..

    Reply
  • Mark December 25, 2012, 8:43 am

    I made this recipe last night, Christmas Eve, for my family. The only thing I did, was substituted the sausage for turkey breakfast sausage. They were awesome! Your directions were perfect, which made it easy to make, and easy to repeat the recipe when everyone was asking how to make them. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Joanne December 27, 2012, 1:02 pm

      Thanks 🙂 So happy you and your family loved them!

      Reply
  • tammy December 5, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Ok..these were EXCELLENT! Made a batch pre-Christmas just to make sure it was sufficient for the fam. Ate practically by myself in 2 days. On schedule to make for Bible study girls last brunch of the year. Thanks for the yumminess!!

    Reply
    • Joanne December 6, 2012, 4:31 pm

      Awesome!

      Reply
  • Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats November 24, 2012, 7:41 pm

    I just came across this today & had everything I needed so i made it tonight for dinner! I added a little extra cheese because we’re cheese fanatics, but it was amazing! It made us 24 shells, and every last one of them was eaten! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Caryn November 21, 2012, 8:46 pm

    I just made this tonight and it was a HIT!! A few modifications though, I used oregano, basil, and more garlic. Also, I added a little more ricotta, a bit of mozzarella, and some parmesan to the mix. Either way, we loved it and my husband was excited to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I had to remind him that tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Haha Thank you for the great recipe!

    Reply
  • Susan November 21, 2012, 7:27 pm

    I made these when I found the recipe thinking they sounded good. Told my husband that I would end up making our granddaughter that lives with us a grilled cheese, cause she wouldn’t eat eat. Imagine my Surprise 🙂 she loved them and requests that I make the recipe often. Thank You for a wonderful recipe that included vegetables that I have never got her to eat before!!

    Reply
    • Joanne November 23, 2012, 4:56 pm

      Yay! So happy everyone liked it!

      Reply

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