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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.
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!
Keep scrolling down to the recipe card for a list of FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump the Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- 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!
- Italian seasoning, salt and pepper – Season to taste
- Nutmeg – This will add a really nice warm flavor to the manicotti. You can leave it out if you wish.
- Mozzarella – Provolone will also work.
- Parmesan – Freshly grates tastes best!
- Manicotti – Uncooked.
- Marinara – Grab your favorite type or use homemade.
How to make stuffed manicotti
- Make the ricotta mixture: Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, onion, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and half of each the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Fill the manicotti: Spread about 1 cup of marinara sauce in a 9×13 baking dish. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a piping bag or large freezer bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe the filing into each manicotti, and place them in a single layer in the baking dish over the sauce.
- Bake the manicotti: Cover the manicotti with the remaining marinara sauce, then top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, then 15-20 minutes uncovered.
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 serve
You can serve these cheesy and saucy delights all on their own, or they can be the piece to a big meal.
- Baked Chicken Breast
- Garlic Butter Steak Bites
- Perfect Pork Tenderloin
- Italian Roasted Mushrooms and Veggies
- Roasted Green Beans
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Caprese Salad
How to store leftovers
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.
How to freeze stuffed manicotti
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.
Did you love this recipe? Try these!
- Easy Beef Lasagna
- Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
- Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno
- Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Skillet Lasagna
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Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Manicotti
- 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.