I don't know about you, but I am very excited for Fall. It is my favorite time of year for cooking and baking, plus I love the cooler temperatures. Even though the season has not technically changed, Labor Day is kind of an unofficial kick off to the Fall season. At least that's what I'm telling myself. I have already made a pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, chili and cornbread, beef stew, and a few other Fall-inspired goodies to be posted soon. (Ok, confession...I may have done some of this before Labor Day).
In any case, this Easy Meatless Manicotti is one of my favorite dishes and is a perfect comfort food for the cooler temperatures. There are a couple time-saving steps in this recipe to help make it "easy." First, no boiling of the noodles is required. Not having to boil the nooldes is not only a time-saver, but filling firm shells is a whole lot easier than flimsy cooked shells. This recipe also uses a jarred pasta sauce, though if you want to make your own, go for it! The filling is very flexible - I've used cottage cheese or ricotta, and either works fine. I have used frozen broccoli in place of the spinach; I have added onions, shredded zucchini, whatever extra vegetables that needs to be used up. Leftovers heat up beautifully, which make for great lunches or quick dinners. Easy Meatless Manicotti is healthy and delicious and a regular in our dinner rotation.
Easy Meatless Manicotti
Yields 7 servings (2 shells per person)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated parmesan cheese
16 ounces nonfat cottage cheese
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning (or dried oregano)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
3 cups marinara sauce (or 24-28 ounce jar pasta sauce)
1 package (14 noodles) manicotti noodles - uncooked
1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, Parmesan, and cottage cheese, along with the spinach, garlic, Italian herb seasoning, red pepper and salt/pepper to taste.
- Spray 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour 1/2 of the sauce in the baking dish.
- Fill the manicotti noodles* with filling mixture until full, about 3 tablespoons.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the noodles, making sure the noodles are covered.
- Slowly pour 1/2 cup water around the perimeter of baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with nonstick foil (or spray foil with cooking spray) and bake for 1 hour. Let sit uncovered for 10 minutes and serve.
Adapted from Cooking Light