Monday, October 26, 2009

Spinach & Mushroom Manicotti

This turned out fairly well. I added some tofu sour cream to the filling for richness and it is really good. I know homemade is healthier, but I was lazy and used Follow Your Heart brand vegan cream cheese. With good intentions, I did find a recipe for homemade tofu cream cheese, just didn't get around to it this time.

Basic manicotti components:
-- 1 box manicotti, prepared per package instructions
-- homemade pasta sauce
-- mushroom and spinach filling (recipe follows)

Mushroom-Spinach Filling:
- 14 oz (drained) firm tofu
- 1 cup tofu cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 lbs mushrooms, chopped into bite-size some to slice and put on top.
(The idea is to keep them big enough to be toothsome, but small enough to pipe them into the manicotti.)
- 3 cups fresh spinach, rinsed, dried off very well, and julienne sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
- 2 cups leek, very thinly sliced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano (or other herb of choice)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1/4 cup white wine or dry sherry
- salt and pepper to taste

Combine the tofu, "cream cheese", nutritional yeast, pine nuts, and lemon juice in a food processor until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Don't worry if it's quite thick; the moisture from the spinach and mushrooms will even that out. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium and add the garlic, leek, chili flakes, and oregano. Saute this mixture for ~4-5 minutes. Toss in the mushroom pieces and let cook until the mushrooms begin to tender ~ 2-3 minutes. (If the mushrooms start to release lots of liquid, either turn the heat up to cook it off, or drain the liquid off.) Add the white wine and let cook gently for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the mushroom mixture to the tofu mixture, then fold in the fresh spinach. If there is a lot of liquid in the mushroom mixture, you may want to use a slotted spoon when adding mushrooms to tofu mixture.

When combined, the mixture should be thick enough to hold a shape, but loose enough to pipe through a bag. You may want to taste at this point and adjust salt & pepper as needed.

If you have time, refridgerate the mushroom, spinach, tofu mixture for 20 -30 minutes before filling the manicotti; I think it's easier to work with when its chilled.

mushroom and spinach filling

To fill the manicotti, use a plastic quart bag with the tip cut off one of the corners as a makeshift pastry bag. If anyone knows a neat trick for filling manicotti, please let me know, because it's kind of a pain in the hiney.

Put some pasta sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, place filled manicotti on top and cover with more sauce, more spinach and mushrooms. Bake in 350 C oven until bubbly.


  1. Rose,

    Looks really tasty. My husband wouuld love this. Anything full of gooey "cheeze" normally goes to the top of his list.

    Thanks for posting the link to recipe for cream cheese. I will definitely check that out.


  2. Hi Alicia,

    Now that I've thought about it a bit; the tofu cream cheese recipe is essentially the same thing as the ricotta filling recipe, except it has really, I could have just added cashews for extra richness...then I thought, I bet that's what Alicia would have done i lieu of using a store-bought product...I have to start channeling you more often. ;)

  3. Rose,

    You always make me smile, or giggle depending.... However, you are right I would have added the raw cashews to the tofu ricotta and called it a day. I am so freaked out by the "chemical" ingredients in the store bought stuff I can't buy it any longer (although I have used it quite liberally in the past). The more I read about nutrition the worse I get on this stuff. I think I am doing the right thing, but who knows. I could just be wasting a lot of time.

    Tomorrow's experiment is in the dehydrator now. I have my fingers crossed on this one, definitely iffy at best. I will post it even if its a flop just for information.

    talk to you later,

  4. No, you're right about all the additives in the store-bought stuff; it was a moment of weakness (not uncommon).

    Can't wait to see what you have in store for tomorrow. :)

  5. Rose,

    I just showed Dan the picture or your Manicotti and he turned into Homer Simpson. "Ummmm cheese filled manicotti. I haven't had that it a long time." Now I need to find whole wheat manicotti (don't have that one in the pantry) or make whole wheat squares that I can wrap into a tube.


  6. Good luck finding whole wheat manicotti; I looked in 3 shops and couldn't find any. Your homemade stuff would be more delicious anyway.

    My husband made a declaration the other day after I had made some Thai peanut noodles with whole wheat pasta. He said: "No more whole wheat pasta!"

    Needless to say, he's not a fan; but I'm going to ignore him and try to use more whole wheat pasta anyway.

  7. Rose,

    If I find any whole wheat manicotti I will definitely let you know what brand it is.

    I can't believe your hubby with the no whole wheat pasta declaration. I assume he doesn't embrace health through nutrition to the extent you do. My hubby was like that before the cancer too so I understand. Good luck with this. If there is anything I can do to help let me know.


  8. That is my kind of meal. I hope to make lasagna this weekend.


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