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I never realized how versatile canned tuna was until I started developing recipes for Genova Seafood. The extra punch of protein that is instantly added to a dish is a great bonus. Canned tuna is also a great blank slate to play around with flavors because you can literally add anything to it and the tuna will absorb up all the flavor and be so tasty!
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In this spinach and tuna stuffed shells pasta casserole, I wanted to pack the shells with loads of filling — because that’s the best part of anything stuffed, right? I also wanted lots of protein because I find that sometimes pasta dishes don’t have nearly enough protein and it’s just all carbs and it doesn’t keep you full long enough. You certainly won’t be looking for more food after eating this spinach and tuna stuffed shells pasta casserole! You’ll have a happy and full belly.
I only had to use one can of tuna the Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil because of how much is packed in there. This casserole is perfect for two people and the amount of filling to pasta ratio is just what you would expect. Not too stingy at all and thanks to the tuna, it really does fill you up! One can has 26 grams of protein! Not only that, tuna is full of vitamins and minerals and Genova’s tuna is packed in olive oil and salt — that’s it. Truly a healthy and flavorful addition to any meal!
Additionally, the tuna comes in Easy Open Cans and so while my hands were covered in spinach (from draining), I loved not having to open a drawer and reach in there to grab a can opener. I was very easily able to pop a can open and add it directly into my bowl to start building the filling for this pasta casserole!
Spinach and Tuna Stuffed Shells Pasta Casserole
- 10 jumbo pasta shells cooked to al dente according to the instructions on the package
For the filling
- 5 ounce (142 g) Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil in Easy Open Can, no need to drain, see notes
- 6 ounces (170 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out and drained
- ½ cup (123 g) whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ cup (50 g) grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the bechamel sauce
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ¾ cup (178 ml) whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt, to taste
For the topping
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup (30 g) panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup (25 g) grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 °F (191 °C)
- In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling then set aside.
- In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat then whisk in flour and cook for 30-45 seconds to cook off any raw flour taste. Carefully add in milk, whisking constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Add the nutmeg and salt, to taste. Let mixture thicken, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce to the bottom of an oven-safe casserole dish and spread in a thin, even layer.
- Using a spoon, fill the pasta shells with filling and continue until all the filling has been used. Place into the casserole dish.
- Pour the rest of the bechamel sauce on top of the shells.
- In a small bowl, stir together ingredients for the topping then sprinkle evenly on top of the pasta shells.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until pasta is cooked through and the topping is browned.
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