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

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4.5 11 11
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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
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: 295 calories, 12g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 436mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 22g protein Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 lean meat, 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.

Reviews for Makeover Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells

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tweetygrl 197232
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."

auburnsky 115994
Reviewed May. 19, 2012

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

ahmom 198853
Reviewed Mar. 24, 2012

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

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

birdie425 194375
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!"

lovestocook1949 120408
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."

Voluptuosa 198852
Reviewed Feb. 29, 2012

"Sorry one more thing...I thought at first 20 shells wasnt really alot..There are 3 of us eating at the moment instead of 4... 20 were PLENTY with all the meat and stuffing in the recipe. :)"

Voluptuosa 115993
Reviewed Feb. 29, 2012

"Both my kids gave me A plus on the dish and requested me to make copies for the cookbooks Im making them using 3 ring binders. As someone pointed out it dirtied up a few dishes, but was worth it! I clean as I go so everything rinsed and got put in the dishwasher. I uesd diced tomatoes that had mild green chilies in them, but you couldnt really tell. Will DEFINATLEY make again!!"

Cathy Radmann 194373
Reviewed Feb. 27, 2012

"My family loved this recipe, although my son (9) doesn't like "chunky" tomatoes. So next time will use a no-sugar-no-salt tomatoe sauce instead of the diced tomatoes. Very flavorful!"

msylvia923 197227
Reviewed Feb. 15, 2012

"It was a little time consuming, as most stuffed shells are to make, but was very delicious. I will definitely make this again."

KWhitehead 194372
Reviewed Feb. 14, 2012

"Delicious, but I don't know that I would classify it as easy. I have some other healthy stuffed shell recipes that are far easier. This dirtied up a number of pans and took quite a while to put together. I do think it was delicious enough to warrant all of the work...I just don't think it was easy. :)"

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