This spinach and ricotta cannelloni is one of my all time favourite meat-free dinners. There is something about the ricotta and spinach filling teamed with a simple tomato sauce.
This cannelloni makes a great family dinner, and is perfect served with a leafy green side salad and maybe even a loaf of crusty garlic bread.
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Ingredients and substitutions
- Frozen spinach – The frozen spinach can be substituted with 2 bunches of fresh spinach, chopped and cooked.
- Ricotta – Use your preferred ricotta cheese.
- Grated parmesan – Use pre-grated parmesan, or grate your own.
- Egg – A large sized egg was used in this recipe.
- Garlic – Use either a fresh garlic clove (my preference), or a teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar.
- Nutmeg – This can be omitted if preferred, but adds a great subtle flavour to the dish.
- Salt and pepper – Season the dish to your taste.
- Olive oil – The olive oil can be substituted for your preferred frying oil.
- Onion – Use a medium sized brown onion.
- Passata – Passata is pureed tomato, and can be made at home by pureeing canned diced tomatoes.
- Dried parsley, basil and oregano – These dried herbs can be substituted for Italian seasoning.
- Cannelloni tubes – Use dried cannelloni tubes, or substitute for fresh lasagne sheets.
- Grated mozzarella – The mozzarella can be substituted for other varieties of grated cheese.
How to fill cannelloni tubes
Filling the cannelloni pasta tubes with the ricotta filling is by far the most time consuming part of making this dish. The quickest way to fill the tubes is to pipe the filling into the tubes.
The filling can be piped using a piping bag. Alternatively, you can do as I do which is fill a large zip lock bag with the mixture, snip off a corner of the bag and then pipe the filling into the tubes.
Can I used fresh lasagne sheets to make cannelloni?
If you prefer not to use dried cannelloni pasta tubes, or can’t get your hands on any, you can instead use fresh pasta sheets. Simply cut the pasta sheets to your desired size, then spoon the filling in a line on the pasta and roll into a tube.
I prefer to use instant dried cannelloni tubes, in particular the San Remo brand.
Can cannelloni be frozen?
This recipe is perfect for freezing. Simply place the cannelloni in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating using the oven or microwave until piping hot.
For the filling
- 250g frozen spinach, defrosted
- 500g ricotta
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 egg
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 700g jar passata
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 250g dried cannelloni tubes
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- In a large bowl combine the ricotta, defrosted spinach, parmesan, egg, garlic, nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the onion until softened, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the passata, water, dried herbs and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 180c fan forced. Spread a small amount of the sauce over the bottom of a baking dish.
- Fill the cannelloni tubes with the ricotta filling. Place the tubes in the baking dish, then top with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil from the baking dish, sprinkle over the grated mozzarella and bake for a further 10 minutes.
- Store leftover cannelloni in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- This recipe is suitable for freezing for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 21g