Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells {Lightened-up}

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells takes your favorite creamy dip and creates it into one of the most fabulous comfort food recipes ever. Top it with delicious Tuttorosso San Marzano Style chopped tomatoes and you have a complete flavor that’ll have everyone coming back for seconds. Oh, and did I mention this is lightened-up? Yep! You’re welcome!
Healthy Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells Recipe

Thanks to Tuttorosso for sponsoring this recipe and blog post today. I was compensated for my time however all opinions and thoughts are my own. You can visit the Tuttorosso website for more recipes and product information.


I have a treat for you today! Well maybe not a sweet treat, but a comfort food treat that will make you say “where has this been my whole life”.

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m kinda famous amongst friends and family for my artichoke and spinach dip. It’s true. Anytime I  get invited to a party that’s my most requested recipe. I mean really, how can I go wrong with cheese, cheese, and more cheese.

Anyway, I was in recipe development mode last week. What does this look like? Well, it means I’m spending lots of time reading cookbooks, searching through Pinterest, or staring at the wall trying to get inspired to come up with delicious new recipe ideas for my blog.

Back to my artichoke and spinach dip. In the midst of staring at the wall last week it came to me that I should repurpose my dip into an actual recipe – you know, one we can enjoy beyond the holiday party season. At first, I thought about stirring it into a pasta bake. Ehh, no. Then I thought about rolling it into lasagna rolls. Ehh, too much work. Then the recipe light bulb went off – I decided I would stuff the dip into shells. I love when my brain works!

Stuffed shells are perfect because they are simple to make, easy to portion-control, and can be frozen for future dinners.

You are going to love this Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shell Recipe – let me take you through the steps.

Okay, the first thing I did was cook the pasta. This recipe will make around 24 shells. You want to use jumbo pasta shells. Cook the shells in boiling water for about 7 minutes. You want them to be very al dente. This means cooked with a good bite to them still. Set the cooked pasta shells aside until your ready to stuff them.

The second thing I did was get the sauce ready. I used Tuttorroso San Marzano Chopped Tomatoes in Puree. These tomatoes are flavored with basil, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. Umm, seriously are there any better flavors in the world? I don’t think so.

I’ve been working with Tuttorosso Tomatoes for awhile now and I think their canned tomatoes are top notch – their San Marzano Style tomatoes are no exception. I was very excited when I learned of their San Marzano Style tomatoes and even more excited when they asked me to create a recipe using them.

San Marzano tomatoes are one of a kind, and in my opinion, are the best to use for Italian recipes. The tomatoes are meaty, juicy, and full of flavor. If you haven’t tried their San Marzano Style Tomatoes yet I recommend grabbing a can, or 2, to use in your favorite Italian recipe. You can use the store locater to see if Tuttorosso Tomatoes are in your area.

I took this picture immediately after opening the can. Look at the freshness of these tomatoes. They are bright red, plump, and smell amazing. The taste straight from the can is like no other brand I’ve tried. You don’t get a can, or metallic taste, all you can taste are delicious tomatoes. Tuttorosso uses Steam Sealed Flavor-Loc™ system to protect the delicious fresh flavor without a can taste. Sounds good to me!

To make the sauce I mixed 2 (28-ounce) cans of Tuttorosso San Marzano Style Chopped Tomatoes in Puree with Italian seasoning, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, and a little crushed red pepper. I set the sauce aside while I made the filling.

I didn’t follow my artichoke and spinach dip exactly when preparing this recipe. Instead, I adapted it to be better suited for a stuffed shells recipe.

I used part-skim ricotta cheese, low-fat cream cheese, grated garlic cloves, 1 egg, and some seasoning. Please note, the cream cheese will need to be softened to mix all the ingredients together.

After you mix the ingredients then add in the grated romano cheese. You can also use grated parmesan or a blend of romano and parmesam cheese – whatever you have on hand.

Now it’s time to add the star ingredients – spinach and artichokes. A couple notes here. Make sure the frozen spinach is completely thawed and drained. Squeeze as much of the water out as you possibly can. I use a mesh strainer for this. Also drain the canned artichokes and chop up fine. You want both ingredients to be evenly distributed through the cheese filling

Before you stuff the shells get the baking dish ready. I used a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour half of the sauce in the bottom of the dish.

Now it’s time to stuff the shells. This filling will make about 24 stuffed shells. I used a medium cookie (about 2 tablespoons) scoop to fill the shells. This made it much easier then trying to do it with a spoon. After the shells are stuffed you can either bake them or freeze.

To freeze, lay all the shells flat on a baking sheet and flash freeze for a couple hours, or until the shells are firm. Then put into a plastic freezer bag to cook at a later day. The shells can be cooked straight from the freezer. Keep in mind you’ll need to add about 20 minutes extra cooking time if you’re cooking frozen stuffed shells.

Okay, let’s say you’re going to cook the shells right away.

As you stuff each shell line them up into the baking dish. Then pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 60 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Trust me, your home will smell like an Italian restaurant as this Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells Recipe cooks.

Everything about this recipe is delicious. The filling is full of flavor. The pasta is perfectly cooked and comforting. And the tomatoes are plump, juicy, and break up the richness of the filling.

Honestly, if you’re looking for a different stuffed shell recipe then this needs to go on your meal plan very soon.

And did I mention this is lightened-up? I know looking at these hearty stuffed shells it’s hard to believe these aren’t 1000 calories each. Nope 3 stuffed shells are only 375 calories, 15 grams of fat, 40 carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 29 grams of protein! This might be the perfect dinner. It’s comforting but filled with healthy vegetables!

The last thing I want to say about this recipe is it keeps great in the refrigerator. So you can plan to eat this a couple times for dinner or lunch during the week. You can also freeze the cooked recipe into portions for a future lunch or dinner.

If you’re looking for lightened-up comfort food then this Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells is it! Enjoy!

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells {Lightened-up}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: dinner recipe, pasta recipe, comfort food
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 24 Jumbo pasta shells
  • To make the sauce:
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans Tuttorosso San Marzano Style Chopped Tomatoes in Puree with Garlic, Basil Olive Oil & Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • To make the filling:
  • 1 (8-ounce) block low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (13¾ ounce) artichoke hearts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place jumbo shells into boiling water and cook for 7-8 minutes or until very al dente. The pasta should have a good bite to it still. After the pasta is done, set aside while you make the sauce and filling.
  3. To make the sauce mix together the canned tomatoes with Italian Seasoning, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
  4. To make the filling mix together cream cheese, ricotta cheese, garlic, and seasonings. Mix well.
  5. Stir in romano cheese.
  6. Stir in spinach and artichoke hearts.
  7. Spread half of the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  8. Fill 24 jumbo pasta shells with about 2 tablespoons of filling. As you fill the shells line them up in the baking dish.
  9. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the stuffed shells.
  10. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 60 minutes.
  11. Serve hot.
Notes
Sugars: 11
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 stuffed shells Calories: 375 Fat: 15 Saturated fat: 8 Carbohydrates: 40 Fiber: 4 Protein: 29

 

Again, thanks to Tuttorosso for sponsoring this recipe and blog post today. I was compensated for my time however all opinions and thoughts are my own. You can visit the Tuttorosso website for more recipes and product information.

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