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.

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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
  • Anita February 1, 2014, 3:40 pm

    Making this now to put in the oven for the BIG GAME tomorrow. New take on game day finger food. It is so yummy.

    Reply
  • Belinda January 9, 2014, 8:00 am

    I made these last night and they were absolutely delicious. Thank you for the step by step instructions and pictures.

    Reply
  • Sara December 25, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Love love this recipe and have made it many times! The only tweak I make to the recipe is that I cover them in marinara sauce before baking 25 minute and then add shredded mozzeralla for the last 5 minutes. Delicious! And so easy!

    Reply
  • Brooke December 24, 2013, 3:30 pm

    I’ve made these before and they are soooo delicious!

    Reply
  • Wendy H November 28, 2013, 6:14 pm

    This was a great, easy to make recipe. I used hot Italian sausage and 14 oz of Classico Florentine pasta sauce instead of the diced tomatoes. My family wanted extra sauce on the side but I liked it just the was it was. Definitely a keeper!

    Reply
  • Alex Randell November 20, 2013, 12:09 am

    Superb recipe …My family loved it!!!!

    Reply
  • chelsea November 8, 2013, 6:40 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. So yummy.

    Reply
  • Ashley July 9, 2013, 8:22 pm

    These were amazing! I made them a few weeks ago and my fiance loved them (I did too). Yesterday we found out that his Best Man was bowing out of the wedding because he doesn’t like me and can’t support his best friend in marrying me. I told my fiance that I would take him out to dinner tonight and we’d have a fun time, to try and get his mind off of it. He said he’d rather eat at home and for me to make the pasta shells I had made a few weeks ago. So we stayed home, ate these shells (with a solid layer of cheese added to the top because ‘you can never have too much cheese’ according to him), and had cheesecake for dessert. Thank you for lifting my fiance’s spirits.

    Also, when I make them I use the Great Value Italian Blend cheese instead of the mozzarella and it’s really good.

    Reply
  • Miriam Lucas July 9, 2013, 2:33 pm

    For the stuffed shells, what could I use in the place of Ricotta cheese?

    Reply
    • Joanne July 12, 2013, 9:55 am

      Cream cheese or cottage cheese will work well.

      Reply
  • Shay June 21, 2013, 4:31 pm

    I made these for my family after seeing them but we arnt a HUGE fan of ricotta cheese so i changed it to cream cheese and it worked as well! Everyone loved them, so tasty!

    Reply

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