I’ll admit, I’ve been on a bit of a pasta kick recently. Maybe it’s the cold weather or maybe it’s just that pasta dishes are so easy. Whatever the reason, I knew I might need to cut back on the pasta just a bit. So while I was whipping up some ricotta stuffed shells, I eyed the pepper in my fridge and thought… why not?
It actually turned out quite well and the pepper was a perfect vehicle for creamy ricotta and melty mozzarella. It’s an easy way to sneak in some extra vegetables and cut out the extra carbs in a traditional pasta dish. You can also divide up the filling across peppers and traditional stuffed shells, if you can’t entirely part with pasta.
The only big difference between stuffing pasta shells and stuffing pepper halves is the cooking time. Since the pasta is already cooked and the peppers are not, they require a little more time in the oven.Print
Pepper halves make a perfect swap for pasta shells in these cheesy dish!
- 4 bell peppers OR about 16 jumbo pasta shells, or a combination of the two
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 large egg
- 15 oz skim-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish (See note)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Dash black pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350
- If you’re using any pasta, then bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat for 1 minute.
- Add in the spinach and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach begins to wilt slightly.
- Remove from heat.
- Slice the bell peppers and in half and remove the white membrane and seeds from the inside. These will be your “cups” for the cheese mixture.
- In a large bowl beat the egg slightly and then combine it with the ricotta cheese.
- Add in the mozzarella, parmesan, salt, basil, oregano and black pepper.
- In a large casserole dish, spread marinara sauce across the bottom.
- “Stuff” each of the peppers by dividing the cheese mixture evenly into each of the pepper halves.
- Spread out the pepper halves across the dish. (It’s fine if they’re touching, they just need to lay flat. If you’re also baking pasta shells, do these in a separate dish, as they will need less time to bake.)
- Use the rest of the marinara sauce to cover the peppers.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. (If you’re using pasta shells, these will only need to bake for about 25 minutes.)
- Remove the foil and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
- Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese and serve!
Freshly grated parmesan is so worth the extra effort! Ditch the jar of grated parmesan and grate some right off a block of parmesan. I promise it’s worth it!
Alex I had these for lunch and I packed up the leftovers for later in the week. They reheated quite well in the microwave!