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Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti is what dinner time dreams are made of! We’ve got Italian comfort food at its best with these vegetarian stuffed manicotti filled with perfectly seasoned spinach and ricotta, then finished with lots of stretchy cheese and marinara sauce.
Easy Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti
Everyone knows I’m passionate about anything pasta. Stuff my pasta with cheese? Well I can’t picture anything better than that! This one is for all of us out there who just can’t get enough of a good saucy and cheesy meal.
While this recipe may look like it took hours to slave over and make, it actually only takes a few really easy steps. Whip up the ricotta mixture, stuff the shells, and toss everything into a baking dish. It’s worthy of a special Sunday dinner, but still easy enough to be enjoyed on a weeknight!
Why We Love This Stuffed Manicotti
- No Cooking Pasta Required! Just use uncooked manicotti, stuff it with the filling, top it with marinara, cheese and bake! The manicotti will cook as you bake the casserole!
- Super Easy And Quick To Prep! Since there’s no boiling required, the prep time couldn’t get any easier! Plus very little cleanup is required, making this dish a fantastic easy weeknight dinner.
- Perfect For Make-Ahead! Simply prep the stuffed manicotti over the weekend, cover it up and refrigerate it. When you’re ready to bake it, just transfer it to the oven directly from the fridge and bake as instructed.
- Ricotta cheese – Cream cheese or mascarpone can be used as well.
- Frozen spinach – Make sure it’s fully thawed and squeezed of all excess water before using it.
- Onion – Chopped or grated, for extra flavor.
- Egg – I used a large egg. This will bind the ricotta mixture together.
- Garlic – Use as much or as little as you like!
- Seasoning – I love to use some Italian seasoning in my cheese mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
- Nutmeg – This will add a really nice warm flavor to the manicotti. You can leave it out if you wish.
- Mozzarella – Freshly grated is best. Provolone will also work.
- Parmesan – Freshly grated tastes best!
- Manicotti – Uncooked.
- Marinara – Grab your favorite type or use homemade.
This stuffed manicotti recipe couldn’t get any easier because you don’t even have to cook the manicotti. You just stuff them uncooked, they cook beautifully in the oven. Less work, more time to enjoy with your loved ones.
Prepare The Cheese Filling
There are basically 3 steps to making this. First, you’ll need to make the ricotta spinach mixture, which is super simple. All you have to do is mix all the filling ingredients together and then transfer the cheese mixture to a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping back, simply use a ziploc bag as you can see in the pictures, then just snip a corner off.
Fill Manicotti, Assemble And Bake
Next, you’ll need to spread some of the marinara sauce in the casserole dish and then simply stuff cheese mixture into each manicotti and place it in the casserole dish in a single layer. Top with more marinara sauce and the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
All that’s left to do is cover with foil and bake for about an hour covered, and another 20 minutes uncovered. That’s it, super easy and no boiling pasta required.
What’s The Difference Between Manicotti And Cannelloni?
I know sometimes these words can be confused or interchanged. I’m here to help those who are unsure of the difference!
Manicotti are simply large tubular noodles. They are most often used to make cannelloni by filling them with a ricotta mixture, and baked away with marinara and cheese. Cannelloni can also involve stuffing crepes, pasta shells or rectangular sheets of pasta.
The Secret To Stuffing Manicotti Without Breaking
The secret is don’t boil them. You can if you want, soak them in some hot water for a few minutes, but I find that even that is not necessary. Simply stuff them right out of the box, they will cook in the oven. There is enough sauce in this recipe to cook them properly.
How To Store Leftovers
You can either transfer leftover stuffed manicotti to an airtight container, or leave it in the baking dish covered well with plastic. The leftovers will last 3-5 days refrigerated.
To reheat, microwave at 30 second intervals until heated through. You can also reheat leftovers in the oven, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until hot.
How To Freeze
You can freeze your stuffed manicotti cooked or uncooked. This is the perfect opportunity for a busy weeknight freezer meal! If you’re freezing the manicotti in a dish that does not have a lid, wrap it well with both plastic wrap and foil.
Let the manicotti thaw overnight in the fridge before you want to serve it. For uncooked manicotti, bake for an extra 10 minutes covered. For pre-cooked manicotti, bake covered for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.
Other Delicious Pasta Recipes To Try
- Easy Beef Lasagna
- Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
- Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno
- Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Skillet Lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 350 F°.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, onion, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, salt, pepper, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
- Spread about 1 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
- Transfer the filling to a piping bag or plastic ziploc bag, cut off a little from one end, this will make it easier for stuffing the shells.
- Stuff each manicotti shell with ricotta mixture and arrange in a single layer in the dish. Cover with remaining sauce. There should be enough sauce to fully cover the manicotti.
- Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer the dish to the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour covered, then 15-20 minutes uncovered, or until the noodles are soft.
- Serve garnished with basil if preferred and more grated Parmesan cheese.
- You can either transfer leftovers to an airtight container, or leave them in the baking dish covered well with plastic. The leftovers will last 3-5 days refrigerated.
- To reheat, microwave at 30 second intervals until heated through. You can also reheat leftovers in the oven, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until hot.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.