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: 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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tweetygrl User ID: 7071651 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 User ID: 6701173 115994
Reviewed May. 19, 2012

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

ahmom User ID: 3426126 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 User ID: 3934997 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 User ID: 2580319 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 User ID: 1298157 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 User ID: 1298157 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 User ID: 5826999 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 User ID: 135398 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 User ID: 956468 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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