Vegan cannelloni with spinach ricotta

Vegan cannelloni with spinach ricotta

vegan cannelloni knife

Happy weekend, guys! Hope you have something good planned for the next two days. I’ll spend most of my time in front of my computer unfortunately, but I’m working on my bathroom design so that’s fun and Duncan and I are also finalising the latest cut of this very website (cannot wait to be able to hit PUBLISH) so it will be worth it. Plus, we will take time off once the weather is a bit more conducive to chilling in the garden without having to be covered in a duvet, haha.

I seem to be on the pasta train this week, perhaps because I’ve resumed running and so I am more hungry than normal – I’m always hungry but especially so when I run. It’s meant to be getting progressively easier with each run but today I had a bit of a setback. My morning run wiped me out so much that I had to divide my photoshoot into two, I was too exhausted to finish. I’m hoping I can fix that by starting to bring some electrolyte-enriched water with me on my runs, especially when it is muggy out there like it was today.

If you too live in the UK, you know that we are having a bit of s***show of a summer again. There were a few gorgeous summer days but now it’s back to clouds and a peak temperature of 20° C (68° F) – not what I call summer! I live in hope that some hot summer days will still happen, but in the meantime this dish of spinach ricotta stuffed cannelloni baked in tomato sauce with a smattering of vegan cheese or béchamel sauce is a perfect dish to enjoy right now. It’s summery with its flavours of basil and tomato, light – especially if you go for a small portion with a massive side salad – yet also cosy due to the fact that it’s oven baked.

While cannelloni may look like a complicated and time consuming thing to make, it really isn’t that bad. You can get the tomato sauce started and let it simmer and reduce while you crack on with the filling and stuffing of the pasta tubes. All you need to do for the filling is to plonk a few things in a food processor and taste the end result to make sure the seasoning is on point. Stuffing pasta tubes can get a bit messy and the only efficient way to do it is with a piping bag, which you can totally improvise using a large freezer bag with the corner cut off. Finally, you can top this puppy with a good vegan cheese that melts well or make a quick béchamel instead. It’s not that much work overall and the result will keep you fed for several days so it is totally worth it, promise!

vegan cannelloni sauce pasta tubes

vegan cannelloni ricotta filling

vegan cannelloni tray

vegan cannelloni assembling

vegan cannelloni hot

vegan cannelloni cross

serves
8
PREP
45 min
COOKING
45 min
serves
8
PREPARATION
45 min
COOKING
45 min
INGREDIENTS
TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 800 g / 28 oz (2 x small cans) quality plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs
  • ½ tsp fine salt, more to taste
  • heaped ¼ tsp pepper, to taste
  • a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar (if needed)

SPINACH RICOTTA FILLING

  • 300 g / 10½ oz baby spinach*
  • 135 g / 1 cup raw cashews (or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version), soaked in boiling water for 30 min
  • 150 g / 5¼ oz firm tofu, drained but no need to press!!!
  • 10 g / 1/3 oz basil leaves or 1-2 tbsp vegan basil pesto
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 2 tsp white / shiro miso paste (optional)
  • freshly grated (recommended) nutmeg, adjust to taste
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 120 ml / ½ cup almond (or other unsweetened plant) milk

REMAINING INGREDIENTS

  • 16-18 tubes eggless cannelloni pasta** (GF if needed)
  • 100 g / 3½ oz vegan mozzarella OR ¼ portion of my béchamel sauce***
  • fresh basil, to garnish

METHOD
TOMATO SAUCE

  1. Heat up olive oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Add diced onion and sauté until softened and translucent stirring regularly (about 10 minutes on a low heat).
  3. Add diced garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant, stirring very frequently.
  4. Next, add in plum tomatoes and squash them gently with a spatula before adding in a can’s worth of water.
  5. Season with dried herbs, salt and pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes if you enjoy a little heat.
  6. Allow the sauce to bubble gently for about 45-60 minutes until the tomatoes break down completely and the sauce thickens. Keep an eye on the pan, giving it a stir now and then and top up with more water if the sauce is starting to look dry while the tomatoes are still too chunky. Prepare ricotta filling while the sauce bubbles away.
  7. Once the sauce thickens (see photo), adjust the seasoning to your taste, including a dash of sugar if needed.

SPINACH RICOTTA FILLING

  1. Sauté the spinach in a large pan or blanch it in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately refresh under a cold tap. Let it cool down.
  2. Drain the nuts (or seeds) and place them in a food processor along with all the remaining ingredients.
  3. Blend until you you get a uniform creamy, mixture with a little bit of texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed remembering that you won’t be able to salt your pasta tubes.
  4. Squeeze all of the water out of the spinach using your hands, be thorough and either add it to the food processor and process until uniformly minced or chop it by hand (I prefer that as it gives me more control) and stir it through the ‘ricotta’ mixture before filling the cannelloni.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C / 360° F.
  2. Spoon half of the tomato sauce at the bottom of a baking tray and around the edges so that cannelloni doesn’t touch the baking tray directly.
  3. Using a piping bag (a large freezer bag with a corner cut off works well), fill the cannelloni with the spinach ricotta mixture and arrange on the tomato sauce (see photos).
  4. Spoon the rest of tomato sauce on top of the filled cannelloni and tuck it into any gaps.
  5. Pour about 60 ml / ¼ cup of water all over the baking tray and top the cannelloni with shredded vegan cheese or pools of homemade béchamel.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 220° C / 425° F for the last 10 minutes to get that golden top. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze.

NOTES
*You can use defrosted, frozen spinach (probably closer to 500-600 g / 17-21 oz) but make sure it’s squeezed out well.

**200-220 g / 7-7¾ oz (UK brands sell them in 250 g / 8¾ oz packets, which contain 21 tubes).

***You can also use a homemade cashew cream as topping.

The baking dish I used is a square 25 cm / 10″ dish, but another shape dish of similar surface area will work just as well.

SHARE
NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
313
16%
sugars
9 g
10%
fats
15 g
21%
saturates
3 g
14%
proteins
12 g
25%
carbs
36 g
14%
*per serving
How would you rate this recipe?
This is a test string

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5.0
6 reviews, 8 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Naz:
Made this during Melbourne lockdown and it was bloody delicious! It was easy to make too, although it did take quite a bit of time - but all good things are worth waiting for! I would recommend making the filling and sauce in advance and then doing the bechamel and assembly on the second night. 10/10 all the non vegans were very impressed too
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you so much for your kind words, Naz and so sorry about your never-ending lockdown (my in-laws live in Melbourne so I know all about it). And many thanks for taking the time to leave this review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Matthew:
In lockdown and thought i would give this one a go! Very pleased that i did very easy to make and so worth it 👍🏽Definitely one to try and enjoy a very tasty vegan cannelloni ☺️🙌🏽Thankyou
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Matthew - I'm chuffed to hear that it was a success! And thank you so much for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Hannah BUFTON:
Delicious ! Had never made cashew cheese before and it was very straightforward . Banished forever are boring memories of spinach and ricotta when I was a vegetarian in the 90s !My teenage son scoffed his portion & asked for seconds !
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Hannah! I'm delighted to hear that it went down so well with you and your son. And thank you so much for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it! x Ania
Marie:
This recipe was our yesterday evening dinner and it was delicious. I liked the idea of cashews in the ricotta spinach filling because it has more protein. I had large shell pastas at home and this is what I used. I find it easier to fill in. I will definitely make this recipe again !
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, I'm so happy to hear that this dish was also a success! Yes, cannelloni are a pain to fill, I agree so large pasta shells sound like a great alternative! You could also use thinly sliced zucchini (or eggplant) like I did here and here. x Ania
Padmini Ramesh:
Made this last night. Absolutely delicious! Thank you Ania for making our mealtimes really interesting.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much Padmini - I'm so happy to hear that it was a success! And thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely review - I really appreciate it! x Ania
Tracie:
Thank you so much for this recipe. I haven't made cannelloni for decades and it was refreshing to revisit. The flavours are amazing and this is going to become a new favourite in our household. Definitely going to try it out on our non vegan friends. Yum!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words, Tracie! I'm delighted that you and your family have enjoyed these and plan to make them for your friends too. x Ania
Margaret J:
From the pictures, it looks like you're using dried and uncooked pasta. Did I understand correctly? If so, this is one of my favorite methods for a baked pasta; way less work and fewer dishes to clean afterward. Thank you for the recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, that's right, dry cannelloni. Fresh pasta is usually made with eggs so it's not vegan anyway. You are welcome, hope you'll enjoy it! x Ania
DON'T MISS A SINGLE RECIPE
Join our mailing list and we we will let you know when we publish a new recipe. You'll receive our DELIGHTFUL DESSERTS E‑BOOK as a thank you for supporting us.