Spicy Kale Stuffed Shells

spicy kale stuffed shells vegetarian

Most of the time I go grocery shopping by myself, but every so often my husband comes with me. He is always a good sport, but I have my suspicions that he capital-H Hates it. I’m pretty sure it all started [as these things do] a couple of years ago when I found a jar of fancy olives on sale. It’s a tale as old as time: $7 jar of olives — advertised for $3 — put it in my cart — checked the receipt after — $7 jar of olives. Ugh.

Anyway, it is possible that I may have dwelt on the olive swindling a smidge longer than my husband cared to put up with. It’s also possible that this olive incident may not have been the first, third, or tenth such incident.

BUT. I was finally vindicated with these delish stuffed shells. I needed parmesan cheese for these, and my grocery store had a really nice-quality block of Parmesan — priced at $17 (!?!?) — but on sale for $7 (…?). Now, we can quibble over whether it’s appropriate to spend $7 on Parmesan cheese, but I think we can all agree that $17 is insane. So I threw the cheese in my cart, and when we got to the register, I watched the screen verrrrrry careeeefullllly, and BAM! That dang cheese rang up for $17. I then calmly and politely alerted the cashier to the error and avoided overpaying 243% for cheese.

And then I gloated to my husband. Once again, for a smidge longer than he cared to put up with. But don’t feel too bad for him — I think I more than made up for it with these amazing stuffed shells.

spicy kale stuffed shells vegetarian

SPICY KALE STUFFED SHELLS (barely adapted from Pink Parsley)

8 oz jumbo shells
3/4 lb kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (preferably on sale!)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley or basil
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
16 oz can crushed tomatoes with herbs
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly coat 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick or olive oil spray. Cook shells according to package directions; drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale with about a tablespoon of water, stirring kale until it wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, transfer kale to a colander, and set aside.
3. Return pan to the stove. Add olive oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring constantly, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, wrap kale in a lint-free kitchen towel or paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Chop into small pieces and set aside.
5. Strain cottage cheese through a colander, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer strained cheese to medium bowl and stir in 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup mozzarella, herbs, and kale. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like things spicy, add some more red pepper flakes here, too.
6. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Using a spoon, fill each shell with the kale mixture, arranging shells in a single layer in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella.
7. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted, removing foil for last 5 minutes or so. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Deeeeeelicious! I’ve made plenty of stuffed shells before, but these may have been the best. What can I say? I love things spicy, and the cottage cheese worked a lot better than I expected.

spicy kale stuffed shells vegetarian

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