Baked Shells and Greens

YieldServes 5


Give your go-to lasagna the week off, and try this hearty, meaty baked pasta that’s easier to make and just as much of a crowd-pleaser. This delicious recipe is so hearty and satisfying, you might find it hard to believe that it comes together in just thirty minutes. With a taste similar to a traditional Italian-style baked cheesy pasta dish, this recipe sneakily uses ground turkey and lower-sodium marinara sauce (choose the best quality marinara sauce you can find) in order to lower the calorie count to just 449 per serving, making it a weeknight winner. Swiss chard can have red, yellow, white, or rainbow stems, and all work well in this dish. To make sure the chopped Swiss chard is wilted throughout, stir it into the pan in batches. Add a loaf of crusty bread, and you have a complete meal.


  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onion (from 1 large onion)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped (about 10 oz. chopped leaves)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (24-oz.) jar lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 1 (8-oz.) package pre-shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese


    Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook shell pasta according to package directions; drain and cover to keep warm.

    Step 2

    While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add minced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground turkey, and cook, stirring often, until turkey is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Working in batches, add chopped Swiss chard and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper. Stir in marinara sauce, and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, and add 1/4 cup of the chopped fresh basil. Stir to combine.

    Step 3

    Stir together pasta and marinara mixture in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish until combined. Top mixture with shredded mozzarella, and bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, and serve hot.

Originally published on Southern Living, Baked Shells and Greens.