Light and Healthy Vegetable Stuffed Shells

I pulled this recipe from a magazine…kind of. K wanted some lasagna, but it is the middle of summer, so I needed some lasagna that would work well for this time of year. This recipe is creamy, but not heavy, flavorful, but not overwhelming. It also reheated well for future dinners. Originally, the recipe was supposed to be for lasagna and the ingredients were a little different. I worked with what I had and I think I like mine even better than theirs looked. Instead of tomato sauce, feel free to use tomatoes, but I prefer the sauce because it will not get watery. The sauce is really nice and it is hard to believe that there is not any cream in it. You could potentially hide vegetables from your family with this, but I preferred telling K and letting him enjoy their taste. We still had more vegetables on the side, because that’s how we roll, but do what you like.

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So, here is to having lasagna or stuffed shells even during hot weather. 

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Directions for Light and Healthy Vegetable Stuffed Shells

Adapted from Food Network Magazine (May 2013 edition)

  • 1 box large pasta shells (about 1 pound)
  • 1 shallot
  • Oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Cook the shells according to the package directions. Mince the shallot in a food processor, then add it to a medium saucepan with a little bit of oil.

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After a minute, stir in 1 cup of broth, allowing to simmer for a couple minutes before whisking in the flour and nutmeg.

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Wait a minute, then whisk in the remaining broth, cooking for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit.

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You might need to add a bit more flour if it doesn’t thicken on its own. Remove from heat, then whisk in 1/4 cup of the ricotta and parsley. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

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Meanwhile, mince the celery and carrots in the food processor until fine. Then, pulse in the remaining ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella, and egg until smooth.

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Stir in a bit of salt and pepper.

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In your baking dish, spread some of the shallot sauce. Then, fill each shell with a bit of the carrot mixture and nestle them in the baking dish, as many as you can fit.

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Top the shells with the spaghetti sauce, and the remaining shallot sauce.

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Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning.

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Bake until bubbly and browned on top (about 15-20 minutes).

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Directions for Light and Healthy Vegetable Stuffed Shells (without pictures)

Adapted from Food Network Magazine (May 2013 edition)

  • 1 box large pasta shells (about 1 pound)
  • 1 shallot
  • Oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Cook the shells according to the package directions. Mince the shallot in a food processor, then add it to a medium saucepan with a little bit of oil. After a minute, stir in 1 cup of broth, allowing to simmer for a couple minutes before whisking in the flour and nutmeg. Wait a minute, then whisk in the remaining broth, cooking for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit. You might need to add a bit more flour if it doesn’t thicken on its own. Remove from heat, then whisk in 1/4 cup of the ricotta and parsley. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, mince the celery and carrots in the food processor until fine. Then, pulse in the remaining ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella, and egg until smooth. Stir in a bit of salt and pepper.

In your baking dish, spread some of the shallot sauce. Then, fill each shell with a bit of the carrot mixture and nestle them in the baking dish, as many as you can fit. Top the shells with the spaghetti sauce, and the remaining shallot sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake until bubbly and browned on top (about 15-20 minutes).

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