Want a delicious & lightened up stuffed shells recipe? This easy, 30-minute pasta dish contains no meat & features sauteed veggies & light cheeses. Even picky eaters will enjoy this flavorful vegetable pasta meal.
My family loves cheesy pasta recipes, but sometimes meals like stuffed shells can be really calorie-laden. I mean, I do love them with lots of meats, cheese–don’t get me wrong.
But, for this lighter pasta shells recipe, I decided to use reduced fats cheeses, and a veggie filling.
The end result was a tasty meal that even my picky kids enjoyed once they got over the green spinach colored filling.
The results were so darn delicious and has my entire family begging for seconds.
Lightened up ingredients
I used low-fat varieties of ricotta and mozzarella cheese. You could use 100% fat-free versions if you want. By cutting down on the cheese calories, you eliminate a lot of the fat from this dish.
By sauteing your veggies, you add extra flavor to them which is much-appreciated to amplify this dish.
I did top this dish with a little bit of Parmesan cheese for flavor, but Parmesan is a hard cheese so it already is lower in fat.
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Boil pasta shells in salted water until al dente. Once boiled, drain, and rinse with cool water.
- Squeeze out as much water as possible from the thawed spinach. I used a few paper towels and pressed the leaves in them to remove the excess moisture.
- In a large bowl, stir together the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, shredded carrots, egg whites, pepper and nutmeg until thoroughly blended.
- Line the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Divide the ricotta mixture among the pasta shells, pressing the filling into the shells with spoon to completely fill each shell. You could also use a large tipped pastry bag for a more even filling.
- Arrange the shells side by side in a baking dish. Coat the shells with an even layer of the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Bake until the center of the shells are heated through and the sauce is bubbling (about 40 minutes). Let stand 10+ minutes before serving.
Lightened Up Meatless Pasta Shells Bake
- 13" x 9" Pyrex baking dish
- 6 quart stock pot
- large skillet
- large glass bowl
- Large spoon
- 12 ounces Jumbo Stuffed shells
- 24 ounces Marinara sauce
- 3 cups spinach Can use frozen (thawed with excess moisture removed)
- 2/3 cup carrot grated
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 egg whites
- 6 ounces low-fat or fat-free mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet, add olive oil, carrots, and onion. Saute until tender. Add in spinach and season with pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and nutmeg. Cook it down for about a minute. Remove from heat once done, and add to a large glass bowl.
- Boil pasta shells until al dente. Once cooked, carefully drain boiled water, and rinse shells with cool water. Drain and set aside.
- Add ricotta, mozzarella, and egg whites to the large glass bowl with the cooked veggies. Mix to combine.
- Stuff each shell with at least a heaping tablespoon of filling. Line shells in glass dish. Repeat this step until all shells are filled.
- Top shells with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Allow pasta to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.