A Happy, Healthy Family


Vegetable Stuffed Shells

I love pasta, and stuffed shells are kind of like a quicker, easier version of lasagna. The problem is that a pasta shell is just a little pasta with a huge scoop of cheese and egg inside. That's not the most nutrient-dense entree, so when I saw a recipe for stuffed shells that included vegetables on Two Peas and Their Pods, I immediately printed it and began to experiment.

I've adapted it a bit to suit my tastes and ingredient preferences, and you really can play around with the vegetables in here. It includes a little less cheese than traditional shells, and because you're adding a lot of vegetables, you stretch the recipe and end up with more than your usual 12 shells. Score! That's one of the great things about loading a dish with veggies--you stretch it and end up with leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, these shells freeze well, and it's easy to thaw just a few if you need a quick lunch or dinner.

I've used zucchini, red bell pepper, and broccoli, but any veggie that stands up to roasting will work--cauliflower, yellow squash, eggplant, other bell pepper colors, etc. Let me know if you come up with a great variation!

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Vegetable Stuffed Shells
The roasted vegetables in these pasta shells add nutrients traditional stuffed shells lack. Experiment with the vegetables and see what combinations you love!
  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 c broccoli florets, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 T avocado oil
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 c fresh spinach, torn
  • 1/4 c fresh basil, torn
  • 2 1/2 c marinara sauce
  • 1/3 c fresh Parmesan, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.2. Place broccoli, bell pepper, and zucchini on baking sheet (do not overlap). Drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or until fork tender.3. If you will be baking the shells right away, reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.4. Meanwhile, cook pasta shells according to package directions.5. For filling, mix egg and ricotta cheese. Stir in spinach and basil. Add roasted vegetables and stir well.6. In 8 X 11 baking dish, spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom. Fill each pasta shell with the cheese/vegetable mixture then place in the baking dish. Pour marinara sauce over prepared shells and top with grated Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.7. You can prepare this dish 24 hours in advance. Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Farhenheit then uncovered for 10-15 additional minutes, or until bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-5 servings

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


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