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Makeover Easy Beef-Stuffed Shells

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


  • 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 shredded reduced-fat Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 large 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


  • 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.
  • In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Spread 3/4 cup into a 13x9-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.
  • 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.
Nutrition 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.

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Average Rating:
  • tweetygrl
    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.

  • gabigone
    Jul 28, 2013

    No comment left

  • debra jacoby
    Jul 22, 2012

    No comment left

  • auburnsky
    May 19, 2012

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

  • ahmom
    Mar 24, 2012

    This was really good but was missing something. Perhaps garlic.I think I'll caramelize the onions the next time.

  • birdie425
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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!