Italian inspired stuffed shells
Treat yourself and your family to an Italian inspired meal with these vegetarian-friendly spinach stuffed shells that are not just nutritious but also very delicious. This stuffed shells recipe will easily become a regular dish around your house. The main source of nutrients and vitamins of this yummy dish is spinach. Not just Popeye but you, too can benefit from preparing this recipe for stuffed shells with spinach.
This tender, crispy green leafy vegetable is one of the most functional foods that provides many phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-cancer elements. In addition, spinach is very low in calories and won’t stay on your waistline (even if you eat it all day, every day). 100 grams of raw spinach leaves contain only 23 calories! Besides, spinach leaves, according to Nutrition-And-You.Com, are rich in soluble rich fiber, which is recommended by many dieticians for “bad” cholesterol control. Also, 100 grams of fresh spinach leaves contain about 25% of your daily iron intake, vital Vitamins A, C, K, B6 (pyridoxine), B1 (thiamin), folates, riboflavin, and niacin. Spinach is also chock-full of essential flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein, and β-carotene.
The combination of these components can help in treating so many things, including age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly. Last, but not least, spinach leaves are a storehouse of essential minerals – manganese, potassium, copper, zinc, and magnesium. There is even a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. All these deliver multiple health benefits practically to all body systems. Besides, spinach leaves are very tasty, tender and crispy, especially when combined with delicious jumbo pasta shells!
The nutritional profile of Veg-Friendly Stuffed Shells (6 servings):
- Calories – 526 kCal;
- Carbs – 64.5 grams (g);
- Fats – 17.8 g;
- Protein – 27.4 g;
- Cholesterol – 70 mg;
- Sodium (salt) – 721 mg.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings – 6
- Jumbo pasta shells- 1 box (12 ounces);
- Butter – 2 tablespoons;
- Mushrooms (sliced) – 1 cup;
- Onion (chopped) – ½;
- Garlic (minced) – 2 cloves;
- Spinach (frozen and chopped, thawed and drained) – ½ package (10 ounces);
- Parmesan cheese (grated) – ¼ cup;
- Italian seasoning – 1 teaspoon;
- Egg – 1 (optional);
- Mozzarella cheese (shredded) – 2 cups;
- Tomato sauce – 1 jar (16 ounces).
- Preheat the oven to 350o F (175o C);
- Fill a large pot ½ full with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Stir the shell pasta into the boiling water and continue to boil.
- Cook the pasta for about 13 minutes, ocassionally stirring, until it is cooked through but is still firm.
- Use a colander set to drain the cooked pasta well, and, for a while, set aside.
- Melt butter in a skillet.
- Add onion, garlic, and the mushrooms to the butter in the skillet and cook for 7 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add the Parmesan cheese, spinach, and Italian seasoning. Stir thoroughly until it is combined well. You can also add an egg if the mixture seems crumbly to you. This mixture is the filling for the pasta.
- Stuff the shells with the filling mixture and place the stuffed shells into the baking dish in a single layer.
- Cover the top of the stuffed shells with the remaining pasta sauce
- If you have remaining filling, sprinkle it over the sauce. Then sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top.
- Before placing the dish into the over, cover it with aluminum foil.
- Bake the dish in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted (and bubbling) and the filling is hot.
A small culinary tip: For this recipe, you can use fresh Mozzarella cheese, which has a milkier flavor, but can release some liquid while melting. Meanwhile, low-moisture Mozzarella melts better, but won’t provide much flavor.