June 8, 2021

Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
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This Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells recipe is such a winner. Homemade garlicky kale pesto with ricotta and mozzarella cheese stuffed in a pasta shell that's drenched in a creamy white sauce. It's delicious, decadent, and simply the perfect meal.

kale pesto and cheese stuffed shells in a baking dish with veggies around it

Can you tell how excited I am about this recipe? It's my first pasta recipe in quite some time. This Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells recipe is also my first stuffed shells recipe on that blog. I'm excited because I love introducing firsts on my blog. It's a fun way to keep my recipes diverse while still sharing all of the deliciousness that everyone wants!

So, head to the grocery store, gather the ingredients and let's make an amazing meal!

Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells on a plate

the perfect ingredients

Can I just take a second to brag about this recipe? It has all of the bells and whistles. The creamy white sauce is full of fresh herbs and garlic. The shells are stuffed with a delicious homemade kale pesto that uses Nature's Greens Kale, basil, pistachios, lemon, garlic, and olive oil. It's so flavorful and perfect for this recipe.

Pair that kale pesto with some ricotta and shredded mozzarella and stuff it inside the shells and you've got a hit. Pour the creamy white sauce on top and bake and le dinner is served! An easy recipe with simple ingredients and beautifully complex flavors.

Kale Pesto in a bowl with a gold spoon

how do you make kale pesto?

Unlike the pesto used in my Pesto Shrimp Pasta and my Pesto Foccacia, this kale pesto is a little different. As I mentioned previously, there are few ingredients but they all come together and play a role in making a flavorful and unforgettable dish.

To make this kale pesto for the stuffed shells, simply combine the ingredients in a food processors and blend until all of the components are smooth. As you know, kale is naturally a bit bitter in its raw state, so I do have a quick little trick. Simply saute the kale in olive oil for about 5 minutes and then add to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. It makes such a huge difference in the taste!

Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells in a spoon

how do you make Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells?

Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the shells until they're al dente. Rinse and set aside. Then start by making the pesto. Saute the kale with some olive oil, salt, and pepper until it's softened just a tiny bit. Then add to a food processor with garlic, basil, pistachios, a little lemon, and olive oil. Simply blend until smooth. (Note: if you're not a fan of pistachios, you can also use sunflower seeds. I tried both during recipe testing and both were delicious. However, I found that pistachios added more flavor)

Then fold the pesto into some ricotta and add some shredded mozzarella. Mix together and dollop the mixture into each shell. Place each shell into an oven safe baking dish.

Time to start on the sauce! In the same skillet, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce over medium low heat and cook until the sauce has slightly thickened. Pour over the shells and top with additional cheese. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then you're done! Feel free to garnish with basil and freshly cracked pepper.

kale pesto and cheese stuffed shells in a baking dish with veggies around it

what can i eat with MAKE KALE PESTO AND CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS?

My favorite thing to eat with this recipe is lightly toasted garlic bread! It pairs so well with all of the flavors. Plus, the crunchy texture of the garlic bread really adds so much texture. You can also enjoy this with a side salad. I made this house salad with this recipe and it was truly perfect. Lots of veggies and something light work well with this dish. Feel free to get creative though!

what do I need to make KALE PESTO AND CHEESE STUFFED SHELLS?

For this Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells, you'll need a few simple tools. See below!

  • A large skillet
  • Food processor or blender
  • A few mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • An oven safe baking dish

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

This blog post and recipe for Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells was made in partnership with Nature's Greens! I received compensation in exchange for this work. My opinions on their products are genuine. If I didn't love their products, I would certainly mention it! Thanks for your continued support!

Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells in a spoon

Kale Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Serving: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Calories: 300kcal

Ingredients

Kale Pesto

  • 3 cups Kale
  • 8 cloves Garlic
  • ½ cup Pistachios
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup Fresh Basil
  • ½ cup Olive Oil

Stuffed Shells

  • 1 12 oz box Jumbo Shells
  • 1 cup Mozzarella
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • 1 ½ cup Ricotta
  • 1 cup Kale Pesto (from above)
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • Pinch Red Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper, as desired

White Sauce

  • 4 tbsps Butter
  • 2 ears Corn
  • 2 cloves Garlic, diced
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  • Cook jumbo shells according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Begin by removing the stalks of the kale. Add olive oil to a skillet and add kale. Season with salt and pepper and saute for about 5-8 minutes, until kale has softened.
  • Add kale, garlic, pistachios, lemon juice, basil, and olive oil to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium sized bowl, add 1 cup of the kale pesto, shredded mozzarella, shredded parmesan, ricotta, parsley, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Mix together until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Use mixture to fill each shell and place in an oven safe baking dish.
  • In a skillet, melt butter and add corn and garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add heavy cream, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add shredded parmesan cheese and stir. Remove from heat and pour over stuffed shells. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American

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