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+ servings
Baked Stuffed Shells

Baked Veggie Shells

Alone, kids can chop the mozzarella, pour the ingredients for the filling into the bowl and stir it all together. They can also help stir the mixture with the partially cooked pasta. With assistance, kids can measure out ingredients, help grate the carrots and fill the baking dish.
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Calories 306 kcal
Author Jory Lieber


  • 1 pound whole-wheat pasta shells
  • 3 cups marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • cup ricotta cheese
  • ¾ pound fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes (around 1¼ cups)
  • 1 carrot peeled and grated (around 1 cup)
  • cups raw baby spinach rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated or shredded
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • Butter or cooking spray to grease a 9x13-inch baking dish


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Cook the shells:

  1. Bring a large, lidded pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt plus 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Cook the shells according to the directions on the package minus 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and drain. Place shells back into the pasta pot and pour remaining olive oil over the top. Stir and set aside.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Into a large bowl, place the ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese, ¾ of the cubed mozzarella cheese, (around 1 cup) the grated carrot, sliced spinach, remaining salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, if using. Mix together. Add the marinara sauce and stir until it is all combined. Taste and adjust spices as desired. Pour the filling over the pasta and stir together well.

Prepare the baking dish:

  1. Pour the pasta and filling mixture into the greased baking dish. Top the pasta with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25-28 minutes. Uncover and broil on low for 5 minutes, until browned.
  2. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and enjoying.