Makeover Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe
Makeover Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Makeover Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells Recipe

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Enjoy the convenience of this make-ahead dish or bake right away. Either way, it has half the saturated fat of the original recipe but is just as meaty. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.
MAKES:10 servings
Healthy Diabetic Exchange Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.
MAKES: 10 servings


  • 20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Nutritional Facts

2 stuffed shells equals 295 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 436 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch 1 fat.


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup Italian cheese blend, Parmesan cheese, pesto, egg and half of the beef mixture.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Spread 3/4 cup into a 13-in x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon cheese mixture into pasta shells; place in baking dish. Combine remaining beef mixture and tomato mixture; spoon over shells. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 10 servings.
Originally published as Makeover Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells in Healthy Cooking February/March 2012, p27

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.

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Reviewed Sep. 9, 2014

"I sprinkled a little bit of table salt on my plate because it came out a little bland in my opinion. Otherwise it was very tasty. Kinda messy to make, but it was my first time trying it. I will be smarter next time."

Reviewed May. 19, 2012

"I found this recipe to be easy and delicious! I've made it twice now with rave reviews."

Reviewed Mar. 24, 2012

"This was really good but was missing something. Perhaps garlic.

I think I'll caramelize the onions the next time."

Reviewed Mar. 8, 2012

"Delicious and easy and best of all, my 2 year old loves it! I use ground turkey instead of beef because I prefer it, and it turns out great!"

Reviewed Mar. 8, 2012

"This looks delicious. Do you think it would work with small shells mixed in like a baked casserole? My young grandson loves pasta but, I'm not sure about the big shells."

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