A Southern Grace: eat your greens

May 8, 2018

eat your greens


Kale and ricotta stuffed shells. I'm thrilled to report that my daughter is eating pretty adventurously, especially considering that her mother is a pretty picky eater.

That doesn't mean I'm not paying attention to "hidden veggie" recipes, though--you never know when her taste buds will change and she'll decide that spinach is not, in fact, delicious. These kinds of dishes are good for my husband, too, since he doesn't devour vegetables in bulk like I do.

These shells are surprisingly tasty! They're just full of cheesy goodness and I'm not exaggerating when I say you really can't even tell that there's kale involved except by sight...and I added A LOT. I used the technique of soaking the shells in hot water rather than boiling them, and they baked up perfectly tender; I can't overpraise that method, and if you haven't tried it yet, you should!

This dish is a delight, and I'm excited because I still have half of the shells in the freezer for a rainy day!

Kell Shells
(printable recipe)
Based on this recipe
Serves 6-8
  • 20 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 big bunch kale (8-10 stalks), stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided use
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 jar store-bought tomato sauce or 2 cups homemade tomato sauce
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.
Add the onion and cook until soft, 8-10 minutes.
Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Soak the shells in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain, separate, and set aside.
Place the kale mixture in a large bowl and mix with the ricotta, 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, basil, egg, mustard, and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Spread out 1 cup of sauce in an oven-proof casserole dish and set aside.
Stuff each shell with a generous amount of filling, placing the stuffed shells in the sauced dish.
Top the shells with the remaining sauce and remaining 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella.
Bake the dish for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is golden. Remove and let cool slightly before devouring.

Always my helper!


Angie's Recipes said...

I LOVE greens! My husband doesn't eat any cooked veggies, even his favourite onion and carrot..raw, perfect, cooked, no way. These stuffed shells look marvelous, Grace. Your little one looks so adorable. What's in her mouth? Herbs from your garden?

Pam said...

Adorable! The baby and the pup, that is!

Loving these shells and the soaking the pasta method. Bookmarked.

grace said...

@Angie: I wish! Nope, just grass. :)

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

Love the photo of her eating grass -- looks like my kids, too! Always putting everything in their mouths... recently a worm haha. These shells look delicious - I'm always sneaking in vegetables where I can. And I'm going to try your soaking method!

Adina said...

Oh, what a sweetie!!! I miss my kids being so little, time flies... And the cheese shells look amazing, my mouth is watering.

All That I'm Eating said...

I like the sound of these! I had something similar the other day actually but not with kale so I'll need to try that combination out.

Pam said...

She's is a sweetie for sure! And your helper is pretty cute too!
Your shells look delicious. I'm embarrassed to say it, but I've never tried kale and maybe now is the time with this recipe. Thanks!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Soaking the shells? How have I missed out on this marvelous method? I just might makes shells this weekend to give this a shot.

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

pasta dishes are always quick and handy

Marjie said...

It looks delicious; I've never tried the hot water soak method, but it sounds nice and easy. Your baby is really adorable; I love that she's got the full hair option!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That's great that she's an adventurous eater! I was a fussy kid, well I didn't like seafood but I ate a lot of food but now I love seafood.

Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen said...

I'm a veggie lover so there's no need to hide them for me. HOWEVER! I would never turn down cheesy pasta, and I can't think of a better way to enjoy my greens :)

Unknown said...

Stuffed shells is one of my all-time favorite dishes! Love the addition of kale. I'm wishing I had some of these in my freezer too.

Emma @ Bake Then Eat said...

Mmmmm cheesy pasta is the ultimate comfort food. This dish looks great.

Inger@Art of Natural Living said...

This looks so good. As soon as I'm no longer eating local I need to try this. Pretty sure I can't find local shell paste :)

Marcelle said...

What a wonderful meal, Grace! Thanks for the soaking pasta tip, I will most definitely try it, maybe the shells stay a bit firmer for stuffing :) Your little girl is such a cutie!! Yes, pay attention to hidden veggie recipes, those open-minded little tastebuds will likely change. I know it was true for my (currently) picky eaters!