Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells
Creamy, sweet, and fun, Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells make a filling, nutrient-rich, vegetarian dinner.
Don’t jumbo shells just make you feel fancy and fun? Something about those giant shapes, neatly stuffed with creamy filling and spooned-over with a little marinara sauce, can turn a regular weeknight dinner into something special.
If my kids were a little bigger, I might even be tempted to throw down a tablecloth and light a candle. (I think I’ll wait until my toddler isn’t tempted to touch the candle!!)
These Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells are the best of the best: filling, sweet, and nourishing. They’re full of protein and vegetables and enough style to make you feel proud. Want a bite?
We LOVE our orange veggies and shoot for at least one serving a day. Sweet potatoes in particular are chock full of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. The deeper the orange hue of your sweets, the higher the concentration of vitamins they contain.
We also threw some fresh chopped spinach inside our shells– because a little extra leafy greens are always welcome!
If your kids are luke-warm about spinach and sweet potatoes, they still might dive into these shells. The veggies are mixed with creamy ricotta cheese, and stuffed inside a noodle, after all.
About the pasta: we usually like to cook with whole wheat pasta, but I haven’t found a company that makes jumbo shells in whole wheat. I think my kids liked to have “white” noodles for a change of pace. 😉
Prep and Cook Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells
This recipe practically begs to be prepped-ahead. Try cooking the sweet potatoes up to two days in advance. (We throw ours in the Instant Pot for 15 minutes. But you can also bake them in the oven, or even microwave them.)
On the day you plan to make the shells, mix together the ricotta/sweet potato mixture hours in advance, and store it wrapped in the fridge. Then all you have to do to get dinner on the table is boil the noodles, stuff the pre-made filling inside, and bake.
I love it when dinner feels that easy!
We paired our pasta with some quick-sauteed asparagus… because WHY NOT more veggies? Remember: the more you offer, the more chances your kids have to taste and accept them.
Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells
- 2 medium sweet potato
- 12 ounce pasta shells, jumbo
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 cup ricotta cheese, part skim milk
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon lemon peel, raw
- 1 medium lemon
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Cook sweet potatoes in the oven for 50-60 minutes or place in the microwave for 8-10 minutes. Scrape the sweet potato into a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Let it cool to warm room temperature before using.
- Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to package directions and drain.
- Finely chop spinach. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan , garlic, spinach, egg, salt and pepper, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir well.
- Stuff the cooked pasta shells with the sweet potato/ricotta mixture and place them in a lightly greased 9X13-inch baking dish (depending on how full you fill the shells, you may not use all of them). Bake the shells for 18-20 minutes, until they are hot all the way through.
- Serve with your favorite marinara or Alfredo sauce.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie
The ingredient list includes 2 cloves but they are not addressed in the instructions. Also, do these freeze ok?
Could you sub the ricotta with Greek yoghurt?
2 cloves of minced garlic? Recipe doesn’t specify
Hi Nonna! Yes, minced works great.
I made these with cashew ricotta and nutritional yeast, turned out great!
Hi, I’m wondering if you could make this recipe ahead of time (mostly in terms of the sauce) and freeze it that way it’s ready to warm up and serve with freshly cooked pasta. Thanks!
I would love a way to add a meat to this (hubby is a huge carnivore ?). Any suggestions for how to incorporate one rather than just make a separate meat?
Hi Tia! Your best bet might be to top the shells with a meat sauce like beef bolognese. I wouldn’t try putting meat inside the shells with the other filling, because those flavors are pretty delicate and it might throw the taste off balance. If you try a meat version, please let us know how it turns out!
the lemon juice is left out of this????
I’d like to try this recipe but substitute pumpkin or winter squash purée for the sweet potato. The recipe calls for 2 sweet potatoes. How many cups am I looking to get of the 2 sweet potatoes in the recipe?
Really enjoyed this! Will make it again. Thanks for the recipe!
Can someone please explain what to do with the lemon juice? Thanks!
Hi, Cassie! Thanks for catching that. The lemon juice gets mixed in with the rest of the filling. I’ve updated the recipes.
This recipe is terrible, way to sweet and rich. My kids were very turned off by the flavour combination, not sure how this is considered a kid friendly recipe. Yuck overall
Can these pasta shells be frozen after prepared
Hi Bev! The short answer is yes, they can be frozen. The filling might have a bit of a different consistency (more grainy) if it’s reheated from frozen, but you may not mind this at all.
Any suggestions what to replace the ricotta with? I was excited about the recipe until I saw that it contained cheese.
Hi April, thanks for reaching out! I haven’t tried it myself, but for a dairy free version you could try mixing in tofu in place of the ricotta.