Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells are an easy to prepare, colorful and fresh main dish that is perfect for both everyday and entertaining.
I was intimidated by stuffed shells for years – they just looked so complicated to prepare. But, I did love the presentation, and the deliciousness. Once I finally decided to give them a go, I found they’re surprisingly easy to make, and now I serve them all the time.
These Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells are not only impressive looking and scrumptious, they’re healthy too. A savory, flavorful mixture of turkey sausage, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, cream cheese and herbs is stuffed into pretty pasta shells, and baked with marinara sauce. Easy to prepare ahead, and can be frozen, too!
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Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells
These Turkey Stuffed Pasta Shells are impressive looking, scrumptious, and, an added bonus – they’re healthy too, using ground turkey, lots of veggies and small amounts of cheese.
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: main dish, pasta, poultry, healthy
- 12 to 15 jumbo macaroni shells
- 8 ounces ground turkey (or chicken) sausage
- 1 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
- 1 cup finely chopped red or green pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into squares
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch (or 7- by 11-inch) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside (to cool and dry out).
- While the pasta is cooking, spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the turkey sausage, carrot, zucchini, pepper and onion and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until the sausage is no longer pink and the veggies are tender. Drain off fat.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese, basil, dill and garlic powder and keep stirring until combined and the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
- Spread around 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared dish.
- Spoon about 3 tablespoons of turkey mixture into 12 pasta shells and arrange, filled side up, over sauce in prepared dish. Spoon remaining 1 cup marinara sauce around and over the top of the stuffed shells. Bake, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.
Note: I suggest preparing 15 empty shells because it’s likely that one or two will tear in either the cooking or stuffing process. That way you will definitely have 12 stuffed shells in the end!
Make ahead: Shells can be prepared but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before cooking. Can also be baked, cooled, wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.