Why Stuffed Shells are great finger foods for babies

First, I acknowledge and accept the fact that this image of my stuffed shells is not too appetizing. Now, on with the more important stuff.

Stuffed shells are a great choice for a finger food for little ones because they are fun looking and little fingers get to dig around and make a tasty mess. I know, the mess, ugh the mess, but really, babies and toddlers learn about foods by touch as well as by taste and sight. It’s important to let them get down and dirty once in awhile.

When giving your little one stuffed shells, you have a variety of different ways to serve them up. You can either cut them up into bite sized morsels or just offer up the whole shell and let baby’s fingers do the rest. This would be a good dish for babies 8 months +, depending on “chewing” ability. Always check with your pediatrician if you have concerns about any food/ingredient!

With the cheese, egg, pasta and tomato sauce, stuffed shells will pack in some calcium, protein, iron and other vitamins and minerals too. There are some food allergy concerns with stuffed shells, namely wheat (the pasta shell), dairy and egg. To get around some of these food allergens, you can do the following:

  • Use rice pasta or another non-wheat/gluten pasta.
  • Skip the egg and use flaxmeal with water as a binder (this may change the taste just a bit but not enough to make a fuss over)
  • Instead of ricotta cheese, stuff the shells with a thicker veggie puree – such as sweet potato, squash or even a mix of sweet potato and apple.
[print_this] Stuffed Shells


1 package jumbo pasta shells
2 eggs, whisked
1 large container of ricotta cheese (32oz)
2 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese – divided (I like to use Romano Parm.)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon garlic powder (we looove garlic here!)
4 cups of homemade pasta sauce (or 1 large jar)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Make the filling and hold in the refrigerator – it will be easier to stuff the shells when the filling is firm.

For the Filling:
Combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and the spices/herbs
Fold in the whisked eggs and mix well to thoroughly combine
Set aside in the refrigerator until you’re ready to stuff.

In a large baking dish, spread around 2 cups of sauce and set aside.
Cook shells according to package directions – you want them 1/2 cooked, al dente dente
Drain the shells and allow to cool then stuff away!

Please stuffed shells in the prepared baking dish.
Evenly spread the remaining pasta sauce over the shells
Mix the remaining cheeses – 1 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan – set aside in fridge.

* Sometimes, I like to mix the cheeses in with the remaining sauce and then spread over the shells, if you do this, then you’ will not need to wait to top off the shells with the cheeses *
Cover baking dish with foil.

Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes – Check on progress at the 30 minute mark and then top off the shells with the remaining cheese mix. Continue to bake until done – nice and bubbly and ooooh so smelling wonderfully.[/print_this]