As my very first recipe I am going to share, I have decided to select my Spinach and Tofu Ricotta Manicotti. I am an avid lover of all things Italian so this was a no brainer for me! I grew up in a household where cheese and Italian cooking were commonplace so once I became a vegan I knew I would have to tackle vegan Italian food. This meant one thing: recreating some cheeses! Ah! Creating “cheese” can sometimes be tricky but I find ricotta to be one of the easiest to recreate. This is an especially good thing since the vegan market for ricotta “cheese” is barren! The entire manicotti recipe takes only about a half hour to prep and within an hour you will be enjoying stuffed manicotti. Hopefully this recipe will help calm your fears about trying to “recreate” cheese with only your two bare hands!
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp basil (fresh or dried)
1/8 tsp pepper
6 manicotti shells, cooked until al dente
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup vegan mozzarella, shredded ( I use Follow Your Heart although I am sure Teese would work well too)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2. Set the vegan ricotta to the side. Shred about 1 cup of vegan mozzarella (approximately ½ package of Follow Your Heart brand). Add the mozzarella to the ricotta and mix well.
3. Thaw the spinach in a saute pan that is lightly oiled until the spinach is moist. Once cooked, slightly drain the spinach using a strainer. Try to remove some excess water using cheesecloth or a clean dishcloth.
4. Using a glass 11x 13 pan, spread half a jar of spaghetti sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.
5. Mix together the spinach with the ricotta/mozzarella mixture and stuff into manicotti shells until completely full. Place into sauce in pan. Do this for all the shells.
6. With the remaining mixture, spread it over the top of the manicotti shells. Top this with the rest of the spaghetti sauce making sure that the manicotti are completely covered (to ensure that they do not come out chewy or hard).
7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and recycle aluminum foil! Then enjoy!
Serves approx 2-3 people depending on hunger level!