My husband and I are so ridiculously thrilled by how this recipe turned out. I don’t really know why I said optional on any of the ingredients, since the whole darned thing is one big optional recipe. Just don’t skip the ricotta, shells or sauce. I think you’d have a pretty difficult time still making stuffed manicotti. If you somehow succeed without the use of shells, ricotta or sauce, please let us know. That would be pretty darned nifty!
If you’re new to my blog, be aware that my husband is an omnivore and my taste tester. He still eats meat and dairy, so don’t try to pull the ‘oh, well you’re vegan you probably don’t even remember what cheese tastes like’ card. I won’t say this tastes exactly like ricotta, really good ricotta has a very special level of awesomeness to it. But, I will tell you that my husband (who isn’t Italian) couldn’t tell the difference and scarfed the hell out of it and I’d probably bet if the person wasn’t Italian, or a chef, they wouldn’t be able to either.
I happily report he also was eager to take it to work to nom on. Can’t wait to make lasagna with this!
Also, the serving size on the box said 3 shells. We were stuffed after 2, so keep that in mind.
Place a generous layer of tomato sauce in bottom of baking dish.
1 ricotta recipe
1 package spinach (optional)
1 cup non-dairy mozzarella (if using vegan gourmet, might want to process this-not shred) (reserve some for topping)
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Additional garlic powder to taste (optional)
Crushed red pepper to taste (optional)
Place half of mixture into a Ziploc or paper pastry bag. Cut the corner of the Ziploc bag (or tip if using a pastry bag)… small enough to still fit inside the manicotti shells, but large enough to allow ingredients through.
Squeeze entire mixture, in 2 batches, into
1 Box manicotti shells
more than enough tomato sauce (not optional – didn’t you see what I said earlier??)
about 1/4 a cup of water to mix into the sauce (unless you precooked the shells)
and bake, covered, at 375 for 1 hour.
After baking, remove aluminum foil and top with
reserved cheese (optional)
Continue baking, uncovered, until cheese gets as melty like as non dairy cheese can get.
This new recipe format was inspired by seeing this post on http://artsyesque.wordpress.com/. It reminded me a lot of the format in the Joy of Cooking which somehow one day I simply forgot I loved. I’m not sure how I forgot other than the fact that I haven’t opened one of my old cookbooks (yet) since the day I went vegetarian and vegan. I will, one day. But for now, I’m learning mostly new things. Anyway, you can see the format of the Joy of Cooking on Google Books and you’ll see why I like it. Sadly, I’m not creative enough to come up with it on my own and not only needed the inspiration, but also the reminding.
I’m lame like that.