Cheesy Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Shells are no-boil, so it’s super easy to load them up with a lightened up cheesy spinach filling, pile them high with white meat rotisserie chicken, then smother them in marinara and even more cheese. Healthy-ish pasta bake for easy weeknight dinners.
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You’re going to love this
No boil. You don’t need to buy any special kind of shells to cash in on the no-boil feature -- you can use regular jumbo pasta shells! Just add some water to the dish before baking and stand back and let the magic happen.
Easy lasagna stuffed shells. Stuffing the big shell pasta with the spinach lasagna filling is so easy because you can fill them up while the pasta shells are still firm -- not slippery.
No ricotta. If you're looking for an alternative for a ricotta stuffed shells recipe, creamy cottage cheese stands in to create a lighter version that doesn’t scrimp on flavor.
Stuffed shells lasagna. Lasagna with pasta shells is a fun twist on typical lasagna! This lasagna stuffed shells recipe has all the flavors of lasagna -- with pasta shells instead of sheets of pasta.
So cozy and comforting. Baked pasta is a favorite comfort food for good reason: it’s warm and hearty and flavorful and, let’s face it, just makes us happy. So go ahead and curl up with a bowl of these lasagna stuffed shells whether it's the dead of winter or a random Tuesday.
Rotisserie chicken. No need to brown ground beef for this baked pasta dish. White meat rotisserie chicken -- or any leftover chicken or turkey -- makes it fast and easy to put these lasagna stuffed shells together, while keeping it lean and full of protein and flavor.
On the healthier side. Typical Italian stuffed shells with meat and ricotta cheese can get a little heavy. These lasagna stuffed shells with cottage cheese are on the lighter side of things since I swapped out the ricotta, then added white rotisserie chicken instead of ground beef, tons of spinach, and marinara sauce that isn’t loaded in fat or sugar.
Hungry for more easy weeknight dinners?
Ingredients and Substitutions
The ingredients for stuffed shells are all pretty simple -- and the secret magic ingredient isn't even shown below (it's just water!).
Jumbo pasta shells. You don’t need to search for oven ready pasta, you can just use regular jumbo shells to make these no-boil lasagna stuffed shells.
Marinara sauce. Pasta sauces can be loaded with fat and sugar. So I always read the labels. It’s amazing what you’ll find. The spaghetti sauce I like the best, so far, is the Kirkland marinara from Costco. It’s also affordable.
Cottage cheese. If you like your lasagna without ricotta, you’ll love this lasagna stuffed shells recipe with cottage cheese in the filling— it's a lighter option than ricotta and you might not notice the difference.
Egg. Adding a beaten egg to this lasagna filling helps bind it together so it stays in the shells — and doesn’t spill out all over the pan.
Mozzarella cheese. I chose Mozzarella for its meltiness and because it’s a classic ingredient in lasagna. If you love something else that’s just as melty and gooey — go ahead and swap it out!
Parmesan cheese. Maybe you know that Parmesan cheese isn’t always what we think it is. Especially that grated stuff in the green tubes. Freshly grated Parmesan from a block is always best. But pre-shredded comes in handy, too. Just check the ingredients. You should only find milk, rennet, and salt on the list.
Frozen spinach. I used frozen precooked spinach because fresh spinach contains a lot of water, which will get released as it cooks. Before adding the spinach, thaw it and wrap it in paper towels, then squeeze out allllll the water. All of it. Otherwise your spinach filling could get runny.
Garlic powder. You can use fresh minced garlic, if you like.
Italian seasoning. If you don’t have a jar of Italian seasoning in your spice cabinet, you can use the individual herbs: basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.
Rotisserie chicken. Shredded rotisserie chicken gets these lasagna stuffed pasta shells in the oven in a hurry. You can use freshly poached chicken or any leftover cooked chicken or turkey.
Water. This is really the secret, magical, most important ingredient. Because it’s what turns regular old jumbo shells into no-boil pasta. A cup and a half of water added to the baking dish provides just enough extra moisture to cook the shells. Mind. Blown.
Okay, full disclosure, this is not the set I have, but this one is definitely on my wish list! Staub may be known for their cast iron cookware, but their ceramics are right up there in my book. And even though they come in a ton of fun colors, I can't stop looking at this matte black one!
Wooden Salad Bowl
What I love about a beautiful wooden salad bowl is that when it isn’t hanging onto your greens, it can hang out on your countertop filled with fruit, or stand alone as sculptural art on a shelf.
How to Make Lasagna Stuffed Shells
Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Place 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, beaten egg, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add the spinach, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.
With a spoon, stuff the shells with the spinach cottage cheese mixture.
Layer the shredded rotisserie chicken over the stuffed lasagna shells.
Cover the chicken with the remaining marinara sauce.
Pour 1 ½ cups of water into the pan.
Cover the marinara sauce with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and ½ cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover the pan in foil and bake for 60 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve with ribbons of fresh basil and drizzles of pesto.
Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Shells (No-Boil)
- 12 ounces jumbo shells
- 15 ounces 2% cottage cheese
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast
- 32 ounces marinara sauce
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.
- In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, beaten egg, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add the spinach, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.
- With a spoon, stuff the shells with the spinach cottage cheese mixture.
- Layer the shredded rotisserie chicken over the stuffed shells.
- Cover the chicken with the rest of the marinara sauce.
- Pour 1 ½ cups of water into the pan.
- Cover the marinara sauce with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and ½ cup Parmesan cheese.
- Cover the pan in foil and bake for 60 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Serve with ribbons of fresh basil and drizzles of pesto.
Tips for making this stuffed jumbo shells recipe
Wrap the thawed spinach in paper towels and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze all the excess moisture out.
If you’re aiming to make a lightened up dish, keep an eye on the fat and sugar content in the marinara sauce.
Baking the lasagna stuffed shells covered will keep all the moisture in so the shells will cook to the perfect al dente — without boiling them in a giant pot of water.
Dried herbs are best in long-cooking recipes, like these lasagna baked shells, while fresh, soft herbs are perfect for adding right at the end.
Adding a swirl of pesto right before you serve your baked pasta adds even more flavor and color.
If you're looking for new meatless Monday ideas, skip the chicken and make vegetarian lasagna stuffed shells!
How to Reheat Lasagna Stuffed Shells
What a gift to have lasagna stuffed shells leftovers for lunches or a don't-have-to-think-about-it dinner. You can reheat them in the oven or microwave, but know that while the stuffed shells were hanging out in the refrigerator, they may have absorbed quite a bit of moisture. So whatever method you choose, you will probably need to add some more pasta sauce or some water first.
OVEN: You can reheat your stuffed shells by covering them in foil and placing them in the oven. Heat at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
MICROWAVE: You can also nuke your stuffed shells. Just cover them tightly and reheat in one-minute increments until everything is warm.
Manicotti are tube-shaped pasta, while shells are shaped like, well, shells. So the filling in manicotti usually gets piped in with a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with a snipped-off corner, while you can stuff shells with a spoon.
The egg acts like a binder in the spinach cottage cheese mixture so it firms up as it bakes — instead of running out of the shells.
This no-boil stuffed shells recipe needs the moisture of the water to cook the pasta shells, so covering it in foil locks in the moisture so the shells can absorb the water and create perfectly al dente pasta for your lasagna stuffed shells.
No. Ricotta has a soft, grainy consistency, while cottage cheese has larger curds. Either one works well in lasagna and stuffed shell recipes. Some folks choose cottage cheese because it’s lower in fat and calories than ricotta.
A classic green salad and a crusty loaf of bread are always a good idea with any pasta dish. But here are a few other ideas:
Kale Apple Slaw
Creamy Cucumber Tomato Salad
Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Feta
And don’t forget dessert!
Roasted Strawberries with Honey Whipped Ricotta
No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream
Chai Spice White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Leah Larson says
Omg, so delicious. It was a success with the kids. Whew! I was afraid the sight of "green stuff" in it would make them not even try it. Got them to try a bite and it was winner winner chicken dinner!
Cara Lanz says
Thanks, Leah, for sharing this! I'm so glad the green stuff didn't scare anyone away :).