vegetarian recipes

Recipe | Baby Bella and Kale Casserole

Baby Bella and Kale Casserole

Baby Bella and Kale Casserole
I love stuffed shells. They were one of those recipes that was in frequent rotation in my house growing up and I still enjoy them today, even though I rarely make them. And on those occasions that I do make stuffed shells, I maximize the veggies and minimize the ricotta. Not only is this healthier, but it’s the only way my husband will eat them–that’s right, my husband hates ricotta cheese. How anyone can dislike the creamy goodness of ricotta, I will never understand.

This Baby Bella and Kale Casserole recipe is adapted from Everyday Food’s Chicken and Kale Casserole. The original recipe called for large shells, which was odd to me because they weren’t supposed to be stuffed. The first time I made this, I used the large shells and just tossing them in the casserole with the rest of the ingredients didn’t work out too well. When I tested the recipe again, I opted for the smaller pasta shells–success! The casserole was much easier to serve (and eat) that way. So think of this as deconstructed stuffed shells.

To make it somewhat appealing to my husband, I downsized the amount of ricotta. And because I’m trying to eat better, I substituted fat-free ricotta for part-skim–unlike with other cheeses, I really don’t think you can tell the difference with ricotta, especially in casseroles. Obviously, as vegetarians, the chicken was problematic too, so I used baby bella mushrooms instead. Finally, I changed the serving size from 8 to 4–you can always double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.
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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama)
    October 31, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    YUM! I have kale and baby bellas in the fridge right now…

  • Reply
    Grumpy Grateful Mom
    October 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    This looks divine to me! And a pretty dish!

  • Reply
    Tamara
    October 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    This looks SO good! Perfect cold weather food!

  • Reply
    blueviolet
    October 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    It sounds delicious and I’m a huge ricotta fan, so I wouldn’t even need downsizing!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      October 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Thank you! I really don’t know how my husband could grow up in an Italian household and not like ricotta. So wrong.

  • Reply
    Cocktails with Mom
    October 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I’ve never had Kale before but this looks good.

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      October 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      Kale is so good! I’m not a fan of spinach, so I really like kale–it doesn’t have that slimy texture that cooked spinach gets.

  • Reply
    Mary Beth Elderton
    October 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Looks Delicious!

  • Reply
    Matt @ FaveDiets
    October 31, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    This may be one of the best looking casseroles I have ever seen!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    October 31, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Looks terrific!!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 31, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I need to start trying more veggies! You had bella in your title and I could figure out what it was at first (I’m not a dummy really but not quite a foodie either). I tried kale one time but it didn’t turn out very well it was pretty bitter.

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      November 1, 2011 at 7:43 am

      Baby bellas are so good! I was going to use regular button mushrooms, but the baby bellas were on sale for cheaper than the button ones, so I decided to use those instead. I think they’re just another name for cremini, but I’m not 100% sure…

  • Reply
    BusyWorkingMama
    November 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Mmmm! I hadn’t used kale in stuffed shells before. This looks like a great recipe especially since I never know WHAT to do with kale.

  • Reply
    BKWilliams
    November 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    This is the best idea for kale I have ever seen. I love all mushrooms and stuffed shells so this is my kind of dish!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      November 4, 2011 at 5:56 am

      Thank you! Kale is my favorite green and I’ve found that it works really well substituted for spinach (which I don’t really care for).

  • Reply
    Kattie @ First Floor Side Door
    August 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Thank you for this recipe! I had to use what was available at the store we shop at just to keep costs down, so we ended up with spinach (which boy, do I prefer raw – it got slimy, fast!) and bow tie pasta. I doubled it and served it for myself, my husband, a friend, and our kids. I loved it and we ended up having enough leftovers for lunch through out the week. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      August 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Oddly enough, at the local grocery store here kale is cheaper than spinach. You can fill a big bag with it and it rarely ends up being more than a $1! This works well for me because like you, I’m not a big fan of cooked spinach. 😉

  • Reply
    Steph
    September 13, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I tried this today and was really impressed with the flavors, being that the bulk of this is veggies and skim ricotta! It made 5-6 servings for me and I used whole wheat shells too to up the health factor…thanks for introducing us to this recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      September 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Yay, I’m so glad you liked it–thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jiwon
    October 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight, and it was GREAT. The only things I did differently were using macaroni instead (shells would have been more fun!) and put in extra garlic. Definitely yielded more than 4 servings for me, which is fine because now I have a yummy meal for lunch this week! Thanks for a wonderful recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks for the feedback–I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ilene
    October 23, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I’m going to try making this however since I’m vegan I’ll use tofu in place of the ricotta. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

      I think that should work. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tara
    November 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! This is definitely going to be added as one of my “go to” meals. Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      I’m glad it turned out well for you! I have a lot of pasta bake type dishes on my go-to meal list too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ilene
    December 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I made a vegan version of this yesterday and it came out great. For some reason I can’t find the link to the vegan recipe. It had tofu instead of the ricotta. Also, I used nutritional yeast instead of vegan parmesan.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 18, 2012 at 7:48 am

      I’m glad it turned out well! 😀

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    February 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I always buy the pre-torn kale from TJ’s- would a half-bag be equal to a small bunch or should I throw in the entire thing? (the more kale the better!)

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      February 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was out of town last week and I haven’t had the chance to catch up until now! I think half a bag would be perfect. Really, you don’t need to be too precise with a recipe like this. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mandy
    May 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight. I used a whole box of whole wheat shells and added more butter to keep it moist. I also added a package of halved cherry tomatoes. It was super super tasty! Especially with the tomatoes. My kids scarfed this and there are plenty of leftovers. Plus it was super easy. I will definitely be making this again.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Adding tomatoes is a great idea–glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim LeMire
    February 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I’m a diebetic so I think I will try with rice Pasta and use baby spinach. what do you think?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 25, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      I haven’t tested this recipe with spinach, but it should work–I’d just make you drain any liquid from the veggies before adding the pasta since spinach tends to release more water than kale. And the rice pasta shouldn’t make a difference at all!

  • Reply
    Christine Castaneda
    July 30, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I am a Kale convert. Been using it in EVERYTHING lately. I think it holds up way better than spinach and it’s so good for you too. Saw this recipe and was like “WHOA, I need to make this” so as we speak I am making it. Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Alyson
    December 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve made this once and I added some slices of veggie sausage. It was so good! I think it would go good with some Gouda on top too. Would this freeze/reheat well? I’d like to make it for my friend when she has her baby.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 29, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      I haven’t frozen it myself, but I think it would freeze well. Usually when I freeze pasta, I undercook it slightly so it doesn’t end up mushy upon reheating.

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