Creamy Spinach Stuffed Shells (Low Carb Pasta Dish)

This delicious pasta dish consists of spinach and ricotta stuffed shell pasta with a lot of garlic and a hint of lemon and a creamy béchamel sauce. It can be eaten by itself or as a side to fish and meat. It is a great dish to make ahead and heat up in the oven as needed. 

Would you like to enjoy pasta without all of the carbs? Of course you would, who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, I have not managed to invent no-carb pasta, I’d be rich if I had and you’d never hear from me again. What I have realized is that any type of stuffed shell pasta is a lot lower in carbohydrates because there is a higher filling to noodle ratio. This way you can still enjoy pasta in moderation. These creamy spinach stuffed shells are a delicious side that go with anything from meat to fish whilst also being super filling. It always depends on how you serve these and how much you eat but I have found three shells to be a generous portion. It is a great dish to prepare ahead of time or to take to some holiday celebration. We are still allowed small family gatherings despite the global pandemic going on right now.  

  

Creamy Spinach Stuffed Shells

Yield: 20 shells Difficulty: 2/5 Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20 big pasta shells
  • 750 gr frozen spinach
  • 1 tbl olive oil 
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 125 gr ricotta cheese
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • nutmeg 
  • garlic powder
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tbl butter
  • 1 tbl flour
  • 400 ml milk

Instructions:

  1. Cook the shell pasta in well salted water and remove them from the water two minutes before their cooking time ends. Separate them two keep them from sticking and set aside.
  2. Use the pasta water to blanch the frozen spinach and drain it, squeeze as much water out as possible. 
  3. Sauté four minced cloves of garlic in a pan with olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes until golden, careful not to burn it. Add three quarters of the blanched spinach and sauté until all the excess water has evaporated. Transfer the spinach into a bowl and leave it to cool down a little. Add the ricotta and season the spinach to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder and lemon zest. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice for some acidity.
  4. Make a garlic béchamel by melting the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and sautéing the garlic until fragrant. Stir in the flour until smooth and cook it for about two minutes. Add the milk in stages and stir until smooth. Cook the mixture on medium low for five minutes. Add the salt and garlic powder to taste. Add the leftover spinach. Should the sauce be too thick you can loosen it with either pasta water or additional milk.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put one layer of garlic béchamel into an oven dish, stuff the shells with the ricotta-spinach-filling and place them on the dish until you have none left. Should your dish not be big enough you can layer them on top of each other, make sure to add sauce in between so the shells can finish cooking. Add the leftover sauce on top and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden the edges are a little crispy. 


Macros per Shell
Calories 62 cal
Carbohydrates 7.9 g
Protein2.8 g
Fat1.9 g

Well, there you have an easy and delicious recipe for creamy spinach stuffed shells. If you are watching your nutrition then this is the recipe for you. I calculated 62 calories per shell with 7.9 g of carbs, which for a pasta dish is not bad. A satisfying portion will only have 180-240 calories as opposed to over 500 calories many other pasta dishes have. You’d also be getting in a lot of greens, which is never bad. I hope you enjoyed this blogpost and have a great day. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers. Stay safe and wear a mask! 

Do you care for the macro nutrient breakdown for the recipes I post? Please let me know.

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