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Recipe | Cremini and Chard Stuffed Shells

Cremini and Chard Stuffed Shells Recipe

Cremini and Chard Stuffed Shells
It’s always good to try to improve and be a better person and whatnot, but I think when you reach your 30s, you start to give up on that a little bit and accept that in some areas, you’re just always going to fall short. And that’s okay! Sometimes giving up is liberating. Like on a Saturday, when you’re like, “I’m not going out today; I’m wearing sweatpants!” Those are the best days, aren’t they? So now, instead of intending to be better about the whole Christmas thing every year and then failing, I’m okay with admitting that I am the worst at Christmas. There, I said it! I forget to send Christmas cards, I go shopping at the last minute, we don’t even decorate. I do have a pine-scented candle that I like to light, though. It smells like the holidays all up in here!
So I’m going to admit to you now, December is not going to be all holiday recipes all the time on my blog. But this Cremini and Chard Stuffed Shells recipe is kind of a holiday recipe. Chris’s family usually has stuffed shells for Christmas. So there you go! Vegetarian stuffed shells are usually stuffed with either cheese alone or cheese and spinach, but I thought chard, mushrooms, and cheese would be a good way to switch things up. And it was! Adding veggies makes the cheese filling feel a bit less rich and mushrooms make everything delicious. While these make a great vegetarian option for holiday meals, they’re still perfect for a weeknight dinner too. And bonus: they freeze well!


Cremini and Chard Stuffed Shells

Cremini and Chard Stuffed Shells Recipe

Vegetarian stuffed shells filled with ricotta cheese, cremini mushrooms, and Swiss chard.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 bunch (about 8 ounces) Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided
  • 16 jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350ΒΊF.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the chard and heat until wilted, 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms and chard to a large bowl; discard any leftover liquid. Stir in the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Taste the filling and add more salt and pepper if desired, then fold in the egg.
  4. Spread 3/4 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a medium baking dish that’s been sprayed with an oil mister (or cooking spray if you don’t have a mister). Fill the pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place them in the baking dish. Once all the shells are filled, spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the top, then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes; remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let the shells sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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  • Reply
    Jennifer King
    December 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Kiersten – I’m snowed in here in Connecticut tonight, and made your cremini and chard stuffed shells. So delicious – the filling is so flavorful, and with the addition of the vegetables to the ricotta, it’s nice and light at the same time! Thanks for this great take on stuffed shells – I’ll be making this dish again! Jennifer πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      December 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      This is definitely the perfect dinner for a snow day! (Will you send some snow down to North Carolina?!) I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I like the idea of chard for stuffed shells! I like the spinach ones, but it’s nice to mix it up. I gave chard another chance this year and liked it, and ate it throughout the fall.
    Every year I want a magical Christmas season, and every year I get stressed and bummed and do everything last-minute. It never fails!

    • Reply
      December 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

      Yeah, I was pretty last minute this year too. Sigh. Maybe next year. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 27, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    So good! Made them tonight, I’ve never made stuffed shells before. I cooked a few extra shells just in case. I ended up having enough filling for 19. I used a 9×13 Pyrex and it fit perfectly. Delicious, can’t wait to try some veggie variations.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks for your comment–I’m glad you enjoyed them! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    March 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    i made this w/ shitake and it was amazing! fantastic recipe!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Hi, I was looking for a good vegetarian recipe and came across this which, although it sounds delicious, is not actually vegetarian. Parmesan cheese always contains rennet, an enzyme from a calf’s stomach and a byproduct of veal. And, although some mozzarella is made with fungal or microbial enzymes, it can also be made with rennet. I am assuming you are unaware of this, because it is not mentioned at all in this post. I suggest you research the topic of rennet before you encourage fellow vegetarians to unknowingly consume meat.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 12, 2014 at 11:40 am

      This isn’t true – there are several brands of vegetarian parmesan cheese. I use Organic Valley and Whole Foods 365 brands, both of which are made without animal rennet. The EU has labeling laws that mandate that all parmesan must be made with rennet, but these laws do not apply in the US, where most of our audience is based.

  • Reply
    March 1, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Made these tonight, came out very good! I’ve never made stuffed shells, I usually do lasagna or manicotti. I did use packaged baby spinach because that was the only green I could get from Trader Joes. I also put the mushroom and spinach mixture once cooked in the food processor to chop them up more.

    I used a 9×13 pyrex, I could fit 20 shells, I still had filling left over for maybe 5-6 more.

    I want to make again only with swiss chard next time!

  • Reply
    Sherry Engel
    March 14, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I was wondering at what point would I freeze this recipe…before or after I bake it?
    And what are your recommendations for cooking it from frozen?

    I am newly vegetarian and LOVE to cook…I look forward to trying many of your recipes =)


  • Reply
    March 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

    This is such a wonderful dish! I added a little red pepper flakes because we like spicy! The first time we made this we were in love and made it again the next day to put in our freezer. And I have to say it did just as great from frozen…our guests gobbled it up! I’m now prepping it for my cousin’s birthday dinner! Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe!

    • Reply
      April 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoy it! πŸ™‚ I make it (or a variation of it with kale) all the time too.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I am prepping some freezer meals for baby #2 and just got all the ingredients to quadruple this recipe πŸ™‚ Do you have any directions for freezing? How long should I cook from frozen? Thanks much!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Congratulations! πŸ˜€ Once you assemble the shells, freeze them. To bake them, you can either thaw them first in the fridge overnight (I put them in the fridge after dinner the night before, so they’re almost in the fridge for a full 24 hours) *or* if you have a casserole dish that’s freezer-to-oven safe, you can put them directly in the oven. If they’re thawed, cook time and temp is the same as if you make them fresh; add about 20-30 minutes for frozen.

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