Vegan Life | Recipes

Vegan Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni

April 25, 2021

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a top-down view of three vegan cannelloni on a square plate

This vegan cannelloni is stuffed with tofu and spinach ricotta, immersed in a homemade marinara sauce, and topped with a creamy vegan mascarpone sauce. It's a great meal to make for a special occasion, but it's easy enough to make any night of the week. And even picky eaters will love it!

Cannelloni noodles can be hard to find in the United States, but I was able to order them online. In most US supermarkets, the closest thing you'll find is manicotti, which you can use, but it's much larger than cannelloni. (Scroll down for instructions on adapting this recipe for manicotti.)

Most cannelloni noodles can be baked in the oven without boiling first. But the noodles I ordered turned out better when they were boiled ahead of time, even though the package indicated that they could be baked raw. So I would recommend boiling your noodles so they're at least partially cooked unless you're sure that they will soften well in the oven.

cannelloni birigati packages
I ordered these cannelloni noodles from Amazon, and they arrived in good condition with only one broken noodle per package.

To fill the noodles, I used a pastry bag with a piping tip. I found that pre-boiling the noodles also made them a little easier to fill, since some of the noodles were not perfectly round when dry, and I couldn't fit the piping tip inside. If you don't have a pastry bag to fill the noodles with, a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off will also work!

To use an 8 oz. box of manicotti instead: be sure to boil your manicotti before filling them, 2 minutes less than directed on the box. Because manicotti shells are so much bigger than cannelloni, you will need to double the filling to fill 12 manicotti shells.

top-down view of vegan cannelloni in a casserole dish, on top of a cutting board, with a kitchen towel to the side
Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you may need to use 2 dishes to bake all of the cannelloni.

Vegan Ricotta & Spinach Cannelloni

Yield18 stuffed cannelloni

Prep Time75 minutes

Cook Time30 minutes

Total Time105 minutes

Ingredients

Vegan mascarpone sauce

  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy Greek yogurt (such as Kite Hill Almond Milk Greek Style)
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Spinach & Tofu Ricotta Filling

  • 1 batch tofu ricotta
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds

Basil Marinara Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp. garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • handful fresh basil leaves, torn (about 3 g.)

Instructions

  1. Start by making the mascarpone sauce: Add cashews, yogurt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, almond milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, and nutritional yeast to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  2. Next, make the filling: Prepare the tofu ricotta and blend together with 1/4 tsp. each of garlic powder and onion powder, and 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg. While you’re blending the ricotta, wilt your chopped spinach. You can either pour hot (boiling) water over it and allow it to soak until it’s wilted, or place the spinach in a mesh sieve over top of a saucepan of boiling water. Your spinach is ready when it’s dark green in color and reduced in volume. Mix the ricotta together with the spinach and vegan mozzarella shreds.

  3. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add your minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then, add crushed tomatoes, water, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, maple syrup, salt, and black pepper, and stir. Cook on medium heat for an additional 5 minutes. Then, stir in your torn basil leaves and remove from heat.

  4. (Optional, but recommended) If your cannelloni noodles require pre-boiling, boil them for 2-3 minutes less than directed on the package (or about 7 minutes). You may want to cook a few extra noodles than you’ll need, in case some of the noodles tear.

  5. Spread half of your marinara sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish (9x15” or 11x16”; or use two smaller casserole dishes). Then, stuff your cannelloni noodles with filling and place in the dish. I recommend using a piping bag with a large round tip to fill the noodles (or you can cut off the corner of a Ziploc bag). Top with the remaining marinara sauce, then spread your mascarpone sauce over the cannelloni as desired (I like to spread it down the middle of the noodles). If you’re baking your noodles raw, make sure your sauce coats all of the noodles so they can soften in the oven.

  6. Cover your casserole dish with foil and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes. Add an additional 15 minutes to baking time if baking raw noodles (or see your package for instructions). Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes & Hints

Soak your cashews in water for 3 hours, or boil for 10 minutes to soften them.

I found that my cannelloni noodles turned out better when they were pre-boiled, even though the package stated that they could be baked raw.

When stuffing your cannelloni, avoid messes by keeping a small plate nearby to rest your piping bag on.

To use manicotti instead of cannelloni, see the instructions in the post above.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for several months.

Reheat in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/9 of recipe; Calories: 303Fat: 10 g.; Saturated Fat: 4 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 808 mg.; Carbohydrates: 42 g.; Fiber: 4 g.; Sugar: 7 g.; Protein: 12 g.; Vitamin A: 1467 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 3 mcg.; Vitamin C: 16 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 80 mg.; Iron: 3 mg.; Potassium: 533 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

a side angle view of three vegan cannelloni on round plate with marinara sauce, vegan mascarpone sauce, and basil
StephSunshine

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.