Mediterranean Stuffed Shells, with No Tomato Sauce, are stuffed with lamb, spinach, fresh oregano, grated cheese and baked in a lamb herb gravy.
Who doesn’t love pasta!
Jumbo pasta shells lend themselves to stuffing with an endless array of fillings, easy to prepare, serves a crowd easily and always kid friendly!
Stuffed shells are also a great way to take advantage of a ‘meal prep’ day simply because you can make so many of these and freeze in small batches.
When it’s time to eat them, simply reheat later when you don’t have time to cook.
My stuffed shells are always a favorite meal to drop for my kids and their busy young families.
Always appreciated by mom and dad, and grandma gets to be a hero with the little ones.
Why No Tomato Sauce?
Imagine my surprise, when my youngest grandchild, by the age of five, tells me he doesn’t like tomato sauce on his pizza!
Additionally, my grown daughter, informs me she tastes meds for Acid Reflux and tomatoes are totally off her list.
Finally, I myself, latched onto a personal quest for internal health after I turned 65, and started a Blood Type Diet.
Concurrently, as I am a B-Blood type, tomatoes are off my list.
And so, I have found lots of creative ways to make dishes, usually with tomato sauce, now without!
Mediterranean Stuffed Shells With Gravy
For my Mediterranean stuffed shells, I have chosen some of the best flavors of my heritage to stuff them with.
I have used lamb, spinach, a good sheep milk cheese, fresh oregano and my two favorite spices, sumac and black cumin (not to be confused with brown cumin).
Mediterranean Shells vs Tomato Sauce Shells
Tomato sauce ain’t the only pasta sauce in town folks!
In this easy to prepare recipe I make a roux of flour and butter, and pour the juices from the lightly cooked lamb, spinach and lemon juice to make a gravy.
Brown lamb gravy stuffed into these pasta shells with melted cheese on top, a few colorful sweet peppers too if you’d like, will fast replace tomato sauce.
Think of all the ‘kids’ stains you won’t have to remove later! Just sayin (wink).
Mediterranean Stuffed Shells With Tomato Sauce
But… If you’re absolutely in love with Stuffed Pasta Shells with Tomato sauce, I sneak veggies into my filling, hide them with the tomato sauce and cheese, and the kids are happy and healthy!
The color of tomato sauce is great for hiding green veggies.
In fact, I made this version of my Mediterranean stuffed shells on the PBS cooking competition; The Great American Recipe and it was a hit! Episode 3 is where you will find me making this recipe.
How To Make Stuffed Shells?
Three fast and easy parts to making the shells:
- Cook the shells, toss in a little oil and herbs and set out until ready
- Quick sauté the filling, make the roux to add to the filling which fast becomes a scrumptious gravy
- Stuff, top with cheese and bake… or freeze!
- Jumbo pasta shells
- Ground lamb
- Olive oil
- Fresh oregano
- Black cumin – not to be confused with brown cumin
- Mini Tri-colored peppers
- Lemon juice
- Pecorino cheese
- Large pot for boiling pasta
- Large sauté pan with a lid
- Small saute pan for making the roux
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Strainer for draining the pasta
- Measuring spoons
- Small spoon for filling the shells
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Citrus press
- Garlic press
- Baking dish
- Stovetop or burner
While these stuffed shells will satisfy both your taste buds and your tummy, you may also like a slice of bread to go with it.
Not just any slice of bread but this dark, grainy healthy Spelt and Potato Bread I make often for charcuterie, grilled cheese, or just for dunking in my soups and stews!
No Tomato Sauce Mediterranean Stuffed Shells
- Large stock pot
- Baking dish
- 24 oz Jumbo pasta shells
- 1 lb Ground lamb beef, turkey or bison
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves crushed
- 6 Fresh oregano stems
- 1 tbsp Sumac
- 1 tbsp Black Cumin Nigella seed powder
- 1 lb Spinach chopped
- 8 Mini Tri-colored peppers thinly sliced round
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice about 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 4 oz Pecorino Cheese sliced, or other mozzarella
- Cook the pasta shells according to directions, drain, toss lightly in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 crushed clove of garlic and salt to taste. Lay them out on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
- In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the chopped onions. Add the lamb, chopped leaves from 3 stems of oregano, salt, black cumin, sumac and remaining crushed garlic. Stir and cook until the lamb is no longer pink.
- Add the lemon juice and chopped spinach. Put a lid on, shaking the pan a little to wilt the spinach. Open to stir, folding all the ingredients together. Put the lid on and remove from the burner.
- In a small sauté pan, melt the butter on medium low and stir in the flour to make a roux (paste). Carefully drizzle some of the liquid from the pan with the cooked lamb, stirring the roux quickly. Transfer the roux into the pan with lamb and spinach, stirring the roux into the lamb. If a tablespoon of water is needed to deglaze the roux pan, stir around the pan and add that to the lamb as well. Mix the ingredients together.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a baking pan, brush a little olive oil. Fill the cooked pasta shells with the lamb and spinach filling setting them tightly together in the baking dish.
- Place more oregano leaves into the tops of the stuffed shells, a slice of cheese in each shell and thinly sliced peppers if using them.
- Cover lightly with foil and bake for 20-minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve.