My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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Asparagus + Kale Stuffed Shells

I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking today.


I'm just sitting here with my mom trying to soak in every last minute she's in Colorado.  I feel so fortunate to have had her here for an entire week and my dad + brother over the weekend.  However, it always goes by way too fast.  

Last night, we shared this comforting spring meal and it truly hit the spot.  Instead of stuffing the shells purely with ricotta, I filled them up with asparagus + kale for added texture and veggie-love.  It's a nice way to make stuffed shells a bit more interesting.  I also whipped up a double batch of my homemade red sauce, and while the shells were baking I made my favorite lemon basil pesto sauce from the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook.  Seriously addicting stuff.  And if you're questioning the use of pesto on top of marinara, let me just tell you, you must give it a try.  A favorite combination in this house and a cinch to throw together.

This weekend sounds like the perfect time to enjoy a homecooked meal.  Don't you think?

Print this!

Asparagus + Kale Stuffed Shells gluten-free // yields 6-8 servings

adapted from: spaghetti squash stuffed shells

  • 1 box gluten-free jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 1/3 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon ghee/oil 
  • 2 cups finely chopped lacinato/dino kale, lightly packed
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped asparagus, 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder granules
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt + black pepper
  • ~8oz fresh mozzerela, cubed
  • ~48oz thick marinara sauce
  • pesto, optional
  1. Add ghee or oil to a large pan over medium heat.  
  2. Once hot add the asparagus and cook for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.  Stir in the kale for 30 seconds, until just wilted. 
  3. Pour out onto a large plate and let cool.  You can speed this up in the fridge if needed.
  4. Cook your pasta shells al dente, according to package directions.  Rinse with cold water to help prevent sticking.  *Make sure not to overcook because they will cook a bit more in the oven. 
  5. Mix the ricotta, kale, asparagus, parmesan, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper until combined.  Start with 1/4t salt + pepper.  Taste, then add more if needed.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350* and take out a 9x13 pan and a 9x9 pan, or a variety of single serving oven-safe bowls.
  7. Pour out just enough sauce to coat the bottom of each pan.
  8. Gently fill each shell until the mixture is flush with the bottom. ~30-32 shells  The amount may vary depending on what brand you use.  I used Tinkyada, which are the only GF shells I can find. 
  9. Place the shells stuffed side down in the pan so that they are slightly touching one another.
  10. Coat the top of each shell with a scoop of sauce.
  11. Place mozzarella [about 1/2-inch cubes] around the shells.
  12. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 15min.  Uncover and bake for another 15min.
  13. Turn your broiler on low, move pans to the top rack and broil for 3-5 minutes watching closely until the cheese is bubbly.
  14. Garnish with fresh pesto, basil, or parsley if desired and serve hot.

notes:  Make sure to use a thick pasta sauce to avoid excess liquid in the pan.  I made a double batch of my favorite red sauce recipe cooked it for about an hour and then blended it with my immersion blender and let it simmer a bit longer until thick.  This meal can be prepped ahead and stored in the fridge for 2-6 hours before cooking.  You may need to add a bit more sauce before baking, as it will soak into the noodles.

As a side note, I'm sure you can easily make this recipe vegan using tofu.  Check out this recipe [I've used before to make vegan lasagna--so good] as a guide! 

If you're looking for Mother's Day breakfast/brunch/dessert ideas, head on over to my Mother's Day photo album with recipe links on Facebook!  I've featured 12 recipes that are sure to please your mama's [or grandma, friend, dad, sister, wife, husband, child, etc.] tastebuds!

Happy weekend!


Reader Comments (21)

Pesto & marinara is one of my favourite combinations - I love it particularly on pizza but it sounds so good in these stuffed shells too. Love that you use asparagus and kale in the stuffing for something truly delicious!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn
You're right - the photos say it all. This looks amazingly delicious and I love the color of your home made tomato sauce. I'm definitely going to give this a try over the weekend.
Thank you so much for posting this!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
These will be made. So lovely!
My mom comes up tomorrow, and I agree it always goes so fast. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Thanks for this recipe, I will try it out on my mom
This looks so comforting and perfect for the grey + gross weekend we're about to have here. Perfect inspiration. I'm with you on pesto mixing with marinara too. It just works.
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
These shells look like the perfect meal to have with your mother and I love the idea of adding asparagus/kale to the ricotta. Love the shots of these shells too- just beautiful!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentererin
These look perfect! I bet you am your mom really enjoyes them together!! Soak up every last minute with her!!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTieghan
Wow, honestly your recipes are one better than the next! I can't wait to make these!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Oh. My. Goodness. This looks incredible. But here is my question: WHERE DID YOU FIND JUMBO GF SHELLS??? I have been looking for those just about everywhere and have come up short every time. Please tell me what brand you get so I can order some :)

P.S. Your photography is on point. I am impressed every post and it never gets old! Keep it up!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Tobey
Ashley, those look delish, will definitely give them a go. Do soak up every minute of Mum time. I know what it's like to have a precious Mum and am glad you've had such a wonderful time x
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAisling
These stuff shells sound amazing! I love it!
Hi Ashley, this looks amazing, I can't wait to try it. Where do you buy your GF shells? I've never seen them! Thanks!
May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
Looks delicious! Thank you for the inspiration!
Looking yum! Thanks for sharing.
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis
@Heather + @Becca - I get them at a local store here called, Natural Grocers. Those stores are only in a handful of states out west. Your best bet would be to buy them on amazon or google searching to see where else they can be purchased. The brand is "Tinkyada." Some Whole Foods may carry them, but our store does not, even though they carry other types of pasta from the same brand. Hope this helps!
May 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
I'm a fan of shells! I'll have to try this recipe soon!
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
So glad you had a good week with your mama! I love maranara and pesto together...they balance each other so well! Happy weekend to ya.
May 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
These stuffed shells look absolutely indulgent, just like stuffed shells should! A nice use of asparagus :) There have been so many recipes floating around to celebrate their season, and this is definitely one of the most creative and tempting.
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIrina @ wandercrush
Hi Ashley! Thanks for the idea. I hadn't thought of using kale in shells before. Sounds so delish!
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNate
Looks so yummy and I’m going to make it tonight to see how good I can prepare it. I hope I will not change the original recipe and make it as you have told already. I wish if you could share some more spicy recipes of yours, so I can take notes and add more spicy food to my regular menu. I’m a spicy food lover.
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia
This is my kind of meal girl! Going to have to try this vegan style soon :)
May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

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