Festive Stuffed Shells Recipe | PBS Food

Festive Stuffed Shells

Festive Stuffed Shells can be the star of this magical holiday meal. I love to prepare this satisfying pasta dish to serve at gala gatherings.


Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Theme: ,


  • 20 to 22 jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 to 4 large russet potatoes, baked and cooled
  • ¼ cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • ½ cup diced yellow or sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1⅓ cups your favorite prepared marinara sauce, plus more for serving
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the shells. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are almost cooked but still quite firm. Drain and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, slice each potato in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the pulp, using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Measure out 3 cups of the potato pulp, making sure to pack it very tightly into the measuring cup. Put the 3 cups of the potato pulp in a high-performance blending appliance.
  4. Add the nondairy milk, onion, garlic, and salt. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Fold the chopped baby spinach into the potato mixture.
  5. Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 12 inch casserole dish. Spoon about 1 ½ tablespoons of the potato filling into each of the shells. Place each shell into the prepared casserole dish. Repeat until all shells are stuffed. Top each shell with 1 heaping teaspoon of the marinara sauce.
  6. Cover loosely and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce is bubbling. Uncover during the last 5 to 7 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with optional chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, if desired. Serve extra sauce in a gravy boat or small bowl to pass around the table.


Serve 3 to 4 shells per person arranged on top of Quick Baby Spinach. For a completely oil-free recipe, use no-oil marinara sauce.

Quick Baby Spinach Salad


  • 3 cups lightly packed baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Put the spinach in a medium bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, put the vinegar and maple syrup in a small bowl and briskly whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour the dressing over the spinach and toss gently to coat the leaves. Top with salt and pepper as desired.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

Presented by: