Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Parsley

This delicious take on stuffed shells comes courtesy of The No-Salt Cookbook by David and Thomas Anderson. The description reads: The addition of spinach and parsley lightens up this tasty dish. We get mascarpone cheese at upscale supermarkets and specialty food shops. We’ve yet to find it with salt, but check the label to make sure. I have to agree, I haven’t seen any with salt but definitely check. And that goes for any ingredient – particularly one you don’t use with regularity.

Serves 6.

SODIUM CONTENT: 67 mg per serving


12 oz. package large pasta shells (about 24)

1 T. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. salt-free canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 T. red wine
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. dried basil (or 2 t. chopped fresh basil)
1/2 t. sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 T. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. fresh raw spinach
1 c. parsley leaves, tightly packed
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 c. mascarpone cheese
1 c. plain fat free yogurt

3-4 T. grated low-sodium Gouda cheese


Cook the shells according to package directions – do NOT overcook. Set aside on waxed paper to cool.

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until beginning to wilt. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for at least an hour. If you prefer a smooth sauce, transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

To make the filling, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until just beginning to wilt. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until spinach cooks down to about half its volume. Add the parsley and lemon juice and cook for a few more minutes, until parsley softens. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and process briefly so that all of the ingredients are chopped fine and well distributed. Combine the mascarpone and yogurt in a mixing bowl, then add the spinach mixture and stir until well blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom of an approx. 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Fill each shell with a spoonful of the spinach mixture, then gently place in the pan, open side up. Once all of the shells are filled, pour sauce over top and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Cover the pan loosely with foil and place on middle rack in oven. Bake 20 minutes, until cheese has melted and shells are heated through. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

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