Olive Garden’s Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells are incredibly tender pasta boats stuffed with cheeses and herbs and smothered with a homemade Alfredo sauce and saucy marinara. Now you can make them at home for only 10 points per serving for those following Weight Watchers.! 

This recipe is a little fiddly, as there are several steps, but it is not difficult and the effort is more than worth it when you taste the final dish. If you’re pressed for time, you can easily substitute a jar of Alfredo sauce instead of making your own. 

Hearty and filling, these jumbo stuffed shells are a great lunch or dinner option and they reheat so well you can even make a batch for your weekly meal prep. This recipe lightens up the original recipe by using cottage cheese and parmesan which is lower in fat than the traditional ricotta and cheddar.Giant Stuffed Cheese Shells served in a plate

Why you should try this Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells copycat recipe

  • A fraction of the points compared to the restaurant version.
  • Lower in fat, calories, sodium and carbs than the original.
  • Reheats beautifully, make a double batch and take some for lunch during the week.

Ingredients

  • Low fat grated mozarella, ½ cup
  • Jumbo shells, 16
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed
  • Cottage Cheese ¾ cup
  • Egg, 1
  • Marinara sauce, 1 cup
  • Chives, fresh, handful
  • Low fat milk: 1.5 cups
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Water, ½ tsp
  • Parmesano reggiano, ¼ cup
  • Italian seasoning, 1.5 tsp
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste. 

Giant Stuffed Cheese Shells Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and preheat the oven to 200C/350F. Once water is boiling, add the shells and cook 9-10 minutes until almost al dente. Drain and run under cold water to make cool enough to handle. 
  2. Combine cottage cheese, 3 tablespoons parmesan, chopped chives, italian seasoning and salt and pepper in a small bowl.Giant Stuffed Cheese Shells ingredients combined in a bowl
  3. Spread about half of the marinara over the bottom of an oven dish, skillet or oven-proof pasta plate.Marinara spread over the bottom of an oven dish
  4. Stuff each of the shells with about a teaspoon of the cheese mixture and arrange over the marinara. Cover with tin foil and bake 20 minutes.Stuffed shells with the cheese mixture arranged over the marinara
  5. To make the alfredo sauce: bring the milk and crushed garlic to a simmer in a small saucepan, once it is almost bubbling, add the cornstarch mixed into 1tsp of water, the cheeses and a grind or two of black pepper. Allow to gently simmer until thickened slightly. 
  6. Pour the alfredo mixture over the shells, followed by a few dollops of the marinara sauce. Top with the breadcrumbs and the shredded mozzarella. Broil until the top is golden brown.Giant Stuffed Cheese Shells served with marinara sauce
  7. Serve on its own or with a garden salad. 

Weight Watchers Points Breakdown

  • Low fat grated mozarella: 3 points
  • Jumbo shells, 24: 16 points
  • Cottage Cheese ¾ cup: 0 points
  • Garlic, 2 cloves: 0 points
  • Egg: 0 points
  • Marinara sauce, 1 cup: 4 points
  • Chives, fresh, handful: 0 points
  • Low fat milk, 1 cup: 4 points
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Water, ½ tsp
  • Parmigiano reggiano, ¼ cup: 4 points
  • Italian seasoning, 1.5 tsp: 0 points

Variations and Substitutions

  • You can switch up the flavor of the shells by using different herbs and cheeses. I’ve made a version with shredded basil, chopped up cooked chicken breast and a few cherry tomatoes diced and stuffed into the shells. 
  • You can also fry up some lean ground beef and mixed this into the cheese mixture for an easy way to up the protein content.

Tips and Tricks

  • You want to cook the pasta shells slightly less than the packet says. This is because they continue to cook as they bake and this keeps them nice add tender, not too soggy!
  • You can prep the filling, shells and sauce ahead of time and assemble so all you need to do at dinner time is fling them in the oven.
  • These reheat very well, add a sprinkle more cheese and a dollop of marinara sauce before reheating if they seem a bit dry.
  • I don’t usually serve these with anything as they are surprisingly filling but you could make a side salad or some grilled summer vegetables.

Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells (Copycat)

5 from 1 vote
Servings 4 people
Calories 455
Hearty and filling, these jumbo stuffed shells are a great lunch or dinner option and they reheat so well you can even make a batch for your weekly work lunches.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Low fat grated mozarella
  • 16 Jumbo shells
  • 2 cloves Garlic (crushed)
  • ¾ cup Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Marinara sauce
  • handful Chives fresh
  • cups Low fat milk
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  • ½ tsp Water
  • ¼ cup Parmesano reggiano
  • tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and preheat the oven to 200C/350F. Once water is boiling, add the shells and cook 9-10 minutes until almost al dente. Drain and run under cold water to make cool enough to handle.
  • Combine cottage cheese, 3 tablespoons parmesan, chopped chives, italian seasoning and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Spread about half of the marinara over the bottom of an oven dish, skillet or oven-proof pasta plate.
  • Stuff each of the shells with about a teaspoon of the cheese mixture and arrange over the marinara. Cover with tin foil and bake 20 minutes.
  • To make the alfredo sauce: bring the milk and crushed garlic to a simmer in a small saucepan, once it is almost bubbling, add the cornstarch mixed into 1tsp of water, the cheeses and a grind or two of black pepper. Allow to gently simmer until thickened slightly.
  • Pour the alfredo mixture over the shells, followed by a few dollops of the marinara sauce. Top with the breadcrumbs and the shredded mozzarella. Broil until the top is golden brown.
  • Serve on its own or with a garden salad.
Calories: 455kcal

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25dish | Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8.6g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 685mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 7.4g | Calcium: 668mg | Iron: 2.4mg
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2 Comments

  1. Linda Ann Kimble Reply

    I have a question– I want to try the stuffed shells; would it be okay to use low fat cottage cheese and fat free milk?

    • Drizzle Reply

      Yeah I think that could work well, but I haven’t tried it myself. Let me know how it turns out!

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