Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells Recipe

If you have grown tired of the same old Italian stuffed pasta shells--try giving them a south of the border twist by making these Mexcian stuffed pasta shells instead.  These stuffed shells require virtually the same sauce and filling as our Mexican Lasagna recipe--but, in shell form.  This stuffed shell recipe is one our family's favorites--they even prefer the shell presentation to the lasagna.  Although stuffing the shells is a little more work in the kitchen--the family's response is always worth the extra effort!  We are submitting this recipe as our M entry in the Blogging from A to Z challenge this month.  M is for Mexican themed stuffed pasta shells.

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Ingredients for Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells

Sauce Ingredients:

Olive Oil
1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey or Crumbled Tofu
1/2 c. diced Yellow Onion or Green Onions with green tops
1 large stalk of Celery with green leaves, finely chopped
3/4 c. Carrots, finely chopped
1 tsp. Bottled Garlic or 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground Cumin
2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/8 tsp. ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 c. Water or Vegetable Broth
1 15 oz. can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 16 oz. jar of Medium Salsa (or hot salsa if preferred)
1/2 c. Green Chilies, diced

Mexican Pasta Shell Filling Ingredients

1 c. Lowfat Cottage Cheese, blended smooth or Ricotta
1/2 c. Reduced Fat or Regular Sour Cream
1 c. 2% or Reduced fat Monterey Jack or Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
1 Egg or the equivalent in an Egg Substitute
1 c. Vegetarian or Fat Free Refried Beans
1/2 c. Black Olives, diced
2 Tbsp. Monterey Jack or Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese for sprinkling over the shells
18 Jumbo Pasta Shells, cooked and drained

Instructions for Making Mexican Stuffed Pasta Shells

Prepare the Meat Sauce. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a LARGE nonstick skillet or dutch oven. Crumble the ground meat or tofu into the heated oil and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery to the meat and continue cooking until the vegetables become tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. of the liquid to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Next add the cumin, chill powder, salt and pepper and mix the spices into the meat mixture completely. Add the remaining liquid and the jar of salsa. Stir in the beans and simmer on low for about 15 minutes or the mixture is heated through and begins to thicken. Set aside.

Prepare the Mexican stuffed shell filling. Completely blend the cottage or ricotta cheese, sour cream and refried beans in a large mixing bowl. Add in the Monterey jack cheese, combine well. Mix in the beaten egg. Fold in the diced black olives

Stuff the Pasta Shells and prepare for baking. Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin by spraying a 9x11 or 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 1 1/2 cups of the sauce to the bottom of the pan and spread evenly. Place a heaping tablespoon into each cooked pasta shell and place the shell in the pan with the filled opening facing upward.  Once all of the shells are stuffed with filling and placed into the pan, spoon the remaining sauce over the shells.  Make sure to cover each shell as completely as possible.  Sprinkle the shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese over the top.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Garnish and Serve.  Aside from occasionally serving these with diced red tomatoes, black olive slices and extra sour cream--we generally serve them straight from the baking dish without any "extras".  Serve with your favorite burrito or taco condiments, if desired.  We serve our Mexican Stuffed Shells with a green salad or a green vegetable, such as green beans or broccoli and cornbread.

Post a Comment


  1. Looks delicious! It's fun to give traditional dishes a new twist.

  2. Angela, thank you for joining in the fiesta fun on Carole's Chatter. I have been doing a little happy dance reading all the great Mexican inspired ideas. Cheers



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