Mushroom and Spinach Stuffed Manicotti

Happy Mushroom Monday!

I am in LOVE with Italian cuisine! I mean who doesn't love cheese covered carbs and tomato goodness?! This week I'm going to share with you a recipe for a delicious take on an Italian classic--manicotti! My version is vegan and a lot healthier than the traditional recipe but you won't sacrifice any flavor, I promise!

I love Italian food, but I don't love the empty calories and high fat traditional Italian foods bring to the plate. A few quick, easy, and painless tips to make Italian foods healthier:

  • Add more veggies! In this recipe I used baby kale (which has a huge nutrient punch but has a mild flavor) and mushrooms to bump up the nutrition value of the dish without adding unhealthy fat. Baby kale and mushrooms both have great sources of vitamins and minerals paired with fiber that will keep you feeling fuller longer.
  • Use dairy-free vegan cheese! This recipe for vegan ricotta uses healthy fats, is high in protein, and won’t cause inflammation. Plus, vegan cheese isn’t full of unhealthy fats and calories like regular dairy cheese.
  • Go whole wheat! This is one of the easiest swaps. I’ve been using whole wheat pasta for years and really don’t know the difference and neither do the kiddos. Whole wheat pastas bring so much more fiber and nutrition than white pastas. Plus, it  won’t raise your blood sugar giving you the ‘food coma’ most white flour products give you.
  • Use an organic and all natural sauce! You can easily make your own marinara sauce, but for time saving purposes I bought a store brand organic tomato and basil marinara sauce. The large jar was only $2.99! What’s so amazing about the health food movement is it’s getting more and more affordable to choose organic. And of course, buying organic allows farmers to grow more organic because there is a need! So vote with your dollar and buy organic as much as you can!

Let's get started on this delicious dish!

Manicotti

Mushroom and Spinach Stuffed Manicotti

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces manicotti noodles 
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 16 ounces firm tofu
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (cleaned and diced)
  • 2 cups baby kale (chopped)
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce (all natural)

Instructions:

  1. Cook manicotti according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  3. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Remove from heat.
  4. In a food processor, combine cooked onion, tofu, lemon juice, salt, and nutritional yeast. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Using the same large skillet onions were cooked in, cook mushrooms over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until soft. Add in baby kale and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until kale wilts.
  6. Add cooked mushrooms and kale to the tofu ricotta mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Carefully fill cooled manicotti noodles with ricotta mixture with a small spoon. Making sure to stuff the noodles without tearing.
  8. Pour a cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a large 9x11 pan. Place each filled manicotti noodle on the sauce then pour the remaining sauce over the noodles.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Manicotti

Try this recipe out and let me know what you think by commenting below <3

With Health and Happiness,

Nickole