These healthy stuffed shells are going to rock your world! They’re stuffed with spinach, a yummy blend of cheeses, then lightened up with ground turkey.
These healthy stuffed shells are going to rock your world! They're stuffed with spinach, a yummy blend of cheeses, then lightened up with ground turkey.
★ Why You’ll Love this Recipe ★
Healthy Yet Delicious!
If you like healthy food but you still like things to taste good... this dinner recipe is for you, baby!
Jumbo shells are stuffed with a blend of beef, ground turkey, spinach and Italian cheeses then baked in your favorite red tomato sauce. (I love Rao's marinara!)
These stuffed shells can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen for an easy and hearty meal for a family or a small crowd.
Enough to Share
This recipe makes a lot of shells! So this is a great dish to make and share with new neighbors, friends and family.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
You don't need a long list of ingredients to make this yummy and healthy dinner!
Here's everything you need:
- Ground turkey and ground beef. I use a half and half blend but you could use all ground beef or all ground turkey if you prefer.
- Jumbo pasta shells. Cooked and drained.
- Onion. Yellow or white, your choice. White are more mild in flavor.
- Spinach. You can use fresh or frozen spinach. If using frozen, thaw first and squeeze excess liquid.
- Ricotta cheese. Low fat or full fat. Your choice. More fat = more flavor but lighter is obviously healthier.
- Parmesan Romano cheese blend. This specific blends add a lot of flavor but you can choose any other combination of Italian cheeses you prefer. Asiago can be really yummy too!
- Italian seasoning. Classic Italian herbs include marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Add salt and pepper, parsley and garlic powder if you'd like too.
- Tomato sauce. I love Rao's marinara sauce. I could eat it by the spoonful. It's pricey though, so choose your favorite tomato-based spaghetti sauce to fit your taste buds and budget.
Don't love tomato sauce? Try using white Afredo sauce instead!
- Mozzarella cheese. Shredded Mozzarella or a blend of Italian cheeses that includes mozzarella works too.
- Fresh parsley. If you want a pretty garnish, fresh parsley adds a nice color and refreshing flavor.
Ground Turkey + Ground Beef
No matter how you season it or cook it, ground turkey is not going to taste like ground beef. I tried. So my compromise here is to lighten up this dish by using half ground beef and half ground turkey.
To me, the ground beef infuses flavor into this dish while the ground turkey adds that meaty texture but cuts the grease in half.
You can opt to use all turkey or all beef, but this half and half blend is my personal favorite way to make these stuffed shells healthier without sacrificing flavor.
★ How to Make this Recipe ★
This recipe is pretty easy to prep, just follow the steps.
Watch this quick video that shows how to prepare and cook these stuffed shells:
★ Tips & FAQs ★
This recipe feeds a large family or a small crowd.
These stuffed shells are pretty easy to prep but do take a little time so I'd recommend making two batches at a time—have one for dinner and either share one dish with a friend or put it in the freezer for an easy heat-and-eat weeknight dinner. These freeze and reheat well using a casserole dish.
If you don't want to make a huge batch, two batches, or if you're just short on time, then cut the amount of ingredients in half to make half the amount. A half batch will still feed 3-4 people.
Tips for stuffing the shells:
If you've never stuffed shells before, don't worry it's pretty easy it just takes a little time and some practice to find your grove.
• Make sure to stir your jumbo noodles while cooking, otherwise they can stick together and rip when you try to pull them apart.
• Don't overcook your shells. Drain immediately after they're done cooking. Cooked properly, they hold their shape better and are easier to stuff.
• After you drain the shells, don't let them sit too long. They'll dry up and start to stick together. I cover mine with a wet paper towel if I need more time to mix up the stuffing.
• Use your fingers to stuff the shells with the spinach-cheese-meat mixture if a spoon isn't working well.
Helpful tools for making these stuffed shells:
★ More Recipes You'll Love ★
Want more easy and delicious dinner ideas?
Healthy Stuffed Shells with Ground Turkey and Spinach
- 12 oz jumbo shells
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ onion diced
- 10 oz frozen spinach
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 9 oz Parmesan Romano cheese blend
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 48 oz marinara sauce
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Boil jumbo shells according to package. Drain and set aside covering with a wet paper towel to keep from drying.
- Brown ground meat in a skillet together over medium heat with diced onion. Cook until no pink meat remains. Drain any excess fat.
- Thaw spinach in a colander under warm water. Press to remove excess water.
- In a large bowl, mix together Parmesan cheese blend, ricotta cheese, spinach, meat, onions and spices including salt and pepper.
- Take meat and cheese mixture and gently stuff into shells. Line a large baking pan or two smaller baking pans (freeze one!) with shells.
- Cover shells with marinara sauce. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella. Bake at 375˚ for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce it bubbling in the center. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.