What to Serve with Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy to Prepare Side Dishes

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Any idea what to serve with stuffed pasta shells? Don’t worry, and I’ve got you! From grilled vegetables to cold salads, these side dishes are ready and waiting to amp up your next main dish. Stuffed shells are a crowd pleaser, so the next time you plan to serve stuffed shells, consider these easy-to-prepare side dishes to go along with it.

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy To Prepare Side Dishes

Table of Contents

What are Stuffed Shells?

Stuffed shells are an Italian-inspired pasta dish that includes jumbo shells of pasta that have been stuffed with a variety of ingredients and baked with sauce and cheese in a casserole dish.

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Spinach and creamy ricotta cheese are classic fillings for stuffed shells, but you can go for beef, sausage, or cheese fillings.

What Side Dishes Go Well With Stuffed Shells?

If you’re trying to figure out what could possibly make the most filling and delightful meal for everyone to enjoy, then allow these side dishes to provide a little inspiration.

  • Roasted Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Roasted Carrots
  • Mashed Cauliflower
  • Zucchini Fries
  • Cobb Salad
  • Stuffed Tomatoes
  • Garlic Bread
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Salad
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Crisp Potato Wedges
  • Bruschetta
  • Broccoli Alfredo

Roasted Asparagus

What could be simpler than delicious roasted asparagus? It’s crispy and flavorful, making it the perfect accompaniment to any main dish.

So why not serve with spinach stuffed shells?

Simply drizzle your asparagus in some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic, and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes and 400 degrees F. Finally, spray lemon juice or balsamic vinegar over the greens before serving.

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy To Prepare Side Dishes.

Green Beans

Most vegetables taste great with stuffed shells, which is why we’re sticking to the green theme. Any green vegetable can make a tasty side dish and a healthy option, which is why you should add these to your list as well.

  1. Place your green beans in a large skillet and cover with water, then bring it to a boil over medium-low heat and allow your beans to simmer and soften.
  2. Add some butter to the skillet once the beans have been drained, and stir till they’ve melted.
  3. Add some garlic and cook till fragrant.
  4. Season with lemon-pepper seasonings and salt before serving.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are anyone’s favorite, and they pair wonderfully with just about any dish. So why not take advantage of their versatility and serve them alongside stuffed pasta shells?

You can add an aromatic essence to this side dish with some mashed garlic to make garlic mashed potatoes if you wish; they’ll taste impeccable with spinach stuffed shells, trust me!

To make these mashed potatoes:

  1. Peel garlic cloves. In a small saucepan, bring the garlic and oil to a light simmer, then turn the heat down low. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, or until the cloves have browned.
  2. Place the potatoes into a large pot of boiling water and bring it to a boil, cooking for 15 to 20 minutes, til the potatoes are very tender.
  3. Remove the potatoes from the water, and remove the garlic from the oil.
  4. Place the potatoes and garlic in a food processor, then add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and cream cheese, and combine with a spoon.
  5. Once the potatoes are nice and creamy, serve alongside stuffed pasta shells for the perfect side dish.

Baked Potatoes

Potatoes are always the safest side dish to opt for, especially when it comes to side dishes for stuffed pasta shells.

  1. Wash your potatoes and cut them into cubes.
  2. Soak in cold water, then preheat the oven till it’s very hot.
  3. Add olive oil, seasonings, and herbs, then roast till tender.

Roasted Carrots

These sweet, savory, and crunchy gorgeous roasted carrots are the perfect addition to your main dish. They taste great with ricotta cheese.

Simply wash your carrots and season with salt and pepper before roasting them for 40 to 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy To Prepare Side Dishes.

Mashed Cauliflower

If you’re looking to cut carbs, then mashed cauliflower is the better alternative to mashed potatoes.

Grab cornstarch, sugar, salt, garlic powder, white pepper, and onion powder.

  1. Cut a head of cauliflower into small pieces and steam over boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Then drain and plop into an ice bath to cool.
  2. Add cauliflower and some water to a food processor and blend on high till smooth.
  3. Pour the cauliflower into a medium saucepan, add the cornstarch mix, then add cream, salt, white pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and whisk this together.
  4. Add the cream and spices mixture to the cauliflower and stir.
  5. Set the stove to medium heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until it achieves a thick consistency.

Zucchini Fries

When looking for the best side dishes for stuffed shells, always opt for the veggies cuz they bring forth deliciousness to every recipe!

Perhaps you’ve heard of zucchini fries, but have you served them at a party? This super nutritious snack is delightful when served with pasta dishes.

All you need are some zucchini, egg, almond meal or bread crumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, and hearty marinara sauce for dipping!

Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is a colorful, delicious, and healthy side dish to have alongside stuffed pasta shells.

Topped with chicken, bacon, eggs, and veggies, this salad will keep you entirely satiated for several hours.

Stuffed Tomatoes

You’ve heard of stuffed pasta shells, so why not stuff tomatoes?

Just scoop out the innards of a tomato with a large spoon, then stuff it with a combination of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, basil, and olive oil.

Bake this for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, and your stuffed tomatoes are ready to be devoured.

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy To Prepare Side Dishes.

Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is the classic accompaniment to have with your pasta, and for good reason. This tasty side dish is super simple, quick, and easy to prepare, promising to amp up the flavors of the spinach stuffed shells. Yum!

Combine butter and garlic in a bowl, brush this mixture over your bread, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Then remove from the heat once golden brown.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Accompanying roasted root vegetables to any pasta dish is the best choice you can make and a great way to experiment with wonderful flavors. All you need are some carrots, potatoes, onions, and squash, and you’re good to go!


Roast broccoli can taste amazing, but there are a number of other ways to enjoy these tasty treats:

  • Try stir fry broccoli with other vegetables
  • Saute broccoli with olive oil and garlic
  • Steamed broccoli with soups and salads
  • Broccoli salad

To roast broccoli, you’ll need to cut off the florets and coat them in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then roast at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Once you’ve finished preparing the side dish, serve it alongside your stuffed shells for a delightful addition to your meal.


A simple salad goes a long way. You can make a very tasty salad with a variety of greens, fresh vegetables, and toppings. The crunchy, flavorful textures will contrast impeccably with your soft, stuffed jumbo pasta shells.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers are a refreshing salad that pairs well with many main dishes, including spinach-stuffed pasta. It’s best at soaking up all the flavorful goodness of any main dish. And if you’re serving stuffed pasta shells, you won’t need an additional sauce to go with it.

Slice some cucumbers and onions, and top with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Crisp Potato Wedges

Potato wedges cooked in an air fryer are the perfect side dish to have with any pasta dish, which is what makes them the perfect accompaniment to have with stuffed pasta shells.

Huge pasta shells stuffed with creamy spinach and served alongside crisp, flavorful wedges for dinner, yum!

Use russet potatoes if you want your wedges to emerge super crispy with a fluffy interior. Season with onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy To Prepare Side Dishes.


Bruschetta is an Italian toast with a tasty tomato topping. It’s super delicious and very easy to prepare.

Simply toast some bread, add the tomatoes, and basil, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an incredible addition to your main dinner.

Broccoli Alfredo

You’re probably wondering about my choice of combination, but trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Broccoli and alfredo sauce harmonize to create an incredible side dish for you and your family to enjoy. If you’re amongst those who have larger appetites, then this one is for you. Spinach stuffed shells with a side of incredibly saucy, flavorful pasta.

What’s not to like?

What To Serve With Stuffed Shells: 17 Easy To Prepare Side Dishes

How to Make Spinach Stuffed Shells

These spinach stuffed shells may appear fancy, but they’re super simple to make, and you’ll be able to enjoy this fun little dish in no time. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Jumbo pasta shells
  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Egg
  • Basil, salt, and garlic powder
  • Marinara sauce
  1. Cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions. You’ll only need 20 to 22 shells in total, depending on how many stuffed shells you intend to make. But I recommend using the entire packet’s worth because you’ll find lots of broken shells during the cooking process.
  2. Meanwhile, spread half the marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Then squeeze all of the liquid out of the spinach, and place the spinach on a tea towel, to squeeze out as much water as you can.
  3. Prepare the filling by stirring spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, basil, salt, and garlic powder.
  4. Stuff each shell with about 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture, and then arrange the shells neatly in the baking dish.
  5. Pour the remainder of the marinara sauce over the top, and sprinkle with some more mozzarella.
  6. Cover and bake the shells at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until heated.
  7. Remove the cover during the final 5 to 10 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and become gooey and crisp on top.

The Bottom Line

Perhaps you’ll stop wondering what goes with stuffed shells and get to choose the best side dishes that stood out to you in this article.

Whether you prefer meat, vegetables, or simply pasta upon pasta, it’s entirely up to you!


What to Pair with Manicotti?

The best side dishes for manicotti are breadsticks, crispy eggplant, flatbread pizza, and potato wedges. You can also try Italian chopped salad, sautéed broccoli, and stuffed mushrooms for a healthier choice. Alternatively, you can also try chicken skewers, ribs, lemon pepper shrimp, and frittata.

What’s the Difference Between Stuffed Shells and Manicotti?

Unlike the tubes of manicotti, the shells are great at holding a good amount of stuffing. A cream cheese sauce can coat these shells, as well as a meat sauce, vegetable sauce, and more.

What’s the Italian Name for Stuffed Shells?

Manicotti, or cannelloni is the name for stuffed pasta shells in the Italian language.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind CooksDream.com, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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