This Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni (Manicotti Pasta) is made with three delicious cheeses and it’s the perfect easy comfort food recipe that’s also vegetarian!
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Is there anything better than some good old cheesy comfort food on a rainy day? It’s been a rainy spring here and so as much as I’ve been enjoying all the fresh produce and making all kinds of delicious summer salads, there have been several days where salads just didn’t cut it – our family needed some old fashioned comfort food!
This Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni has been one of my favourite recipes for a VERY long time. And honestly, if I had to make a list of my top 5 family meal recipes this one would be on that list. No doubt about it! For me, it has everything you could ever want in a delicious comfort food dish: it’s relatively easy to make (perfect for beginning cooks!), it features only simple, real ingredients, and it is so delicious you need to try it to believe it. Seriously. I mentioned in a recent Instagram story (follow me here!) that this may be the one meal I couldn’t live without.
I’ve shared many of my favorite meals with you before, like this delicious Greek Chicken Souvlaki feast and my favorite Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner, but as tasty as those favorites are they don’t even come close to the rich, mellow flavors in this Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni. If you’re looking for a delicious family meal with an Italian flair, this Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni is the recipe for you!!
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This recipe calls for 2 jars of marinara sauce, but feel free to use your own homemade marinara if you prefer. My favourite brand of marinara is Barilla (Not sponsored! I just really love their products!), and if I’m making this recipe for a mostly-adult crowd I often substitute one jar of marinara for a jar of arrabiata sauce made with some spicy red peppers; it gives this dish a little bit of warmth that is complemented so beautifully by the 3-cheese filling. Another tip for taking this recipe to the next level: be sure to stuff the cannelloni (manicotti) shells using a piping bag! You’ll save yourself so much headache and time and it will make the process much more enjoyable (and less messy!).
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I hope you enjoy this Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni recipe! Let me know in the comments below, what’s your favorite family meal recipe?
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If you like this Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni recipe, you’ll LOVE these deliciously family meals I have linked below:
- Easy Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna
- Quick and Easy Pasta al Limone
- Easy One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
- Easy Classic Pasta Salad
- Creamy Mushroom Champagne Pasta
- Quick and Easy Seafood Linguine Marinara
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Watch the video below to see exactly how I make this great recipe. You can find more delicious recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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Baked Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni
- 450 grams Ricotta cheese (approximately 16 ounces)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- a pinch or two of salt and pepper
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (pressed or finely minced)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 box ready-to-stuff Cannelloni (Mannicotti) noodles (approximately 20 noodles per box)
- 2 380 ml jars of marinara sauce (two 13 fluid ounce jars)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and set aside a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangular casserole dish.
- Add the ricotta, egg, spinach, basil, salt and pepper, garlic, the 1 1/2 cup of mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese to a large bowl and stir together with a rubber spatula until well combined.
- Add the ricotta mixture to a piping bag with an open tip (or simply cut the tip off the bag if you don't want to use a tip) and pipe the ricotta filling into each of the ready-to-stuff Cannelloni noodles.
- Spoon approximately one-third of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and spread it around until the bottom of the dish is well coated with sauce.
- Place the filled Cannelloni noodles into the base of the baking dish and spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the top.
- Add the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in an even layer on the top and bake uncovered at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
Extremely tasty!! I found the filling mixture too cold to pipe easily, but as it warmed up from my hand became easier. Next time I will bring the ricotta closer to room temperature to help with piping. I used homemade marinara sauce and served with garlic bread. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!
That’s a great tip! Every brand of ricotta is a little different, so it’s not surprising yours was a bit thicker. Bringing it to room temperature is a great idea! Glad you liked it!!
Chrissie, once stuffed, does the dish have to be cooked right away or could I wait a few hours?
Great question! You can absolutely wait a few hours – just be sure to refrigerate it and then place it in a cold oven, letting the dish preheat with the oven (so you don’t break the baking dish!). Adjust the baking time by only a few minutes and you should be good to go! 🙂
When prepping the dish, do you precook the noodles or stuff them uncooked?
I buy the kind that you don’t have to cook first, but if your package says to boil first then definitely do that!
This is so good I want to freeze one for later. Do you need to cook the dish before you freeze it if you’re making a freezer meal?
I’d suggest not cooking it first, freezing, and then cooking right before you serve.
How many cannellonis equal a serving?
One serving is about 2.5 cannellonis. Enjoy 😊
I would really want to try the recipe but was wondering if I could I substitute fresh spinach with frozen one? I have a lot of frozen one that I would like to deplete ;). Thanks!
Sure, as long as you thaw and drain it! Happy cooking ☺️
Great recipe but I wish you’d made it clearer it was only half mozzarella etc in the cannelloni as I used it all and didn’t have any for the top
I have intentionally given two different measurements of mozzarella, one at the begining and one at end of the ingredient list. As per the recipe, you’re only supposed to use 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella in the filling mixture. The other 2 cups are for topping the dish. Hope this helps! Happy cooking ☺️
This is absolutely delicious! I couldn’t find ready to stuff manicotti so I just bought dried and cooked them according to package directions. I also used frozen spinach then thawed and squeezed it dry.
I have a family that won’t eat any greens so being able to serve them something that they love with spinach is great! Thanks so much for recipe!! This will definitely be a part of our regular dinner menu rotation!
I’m so happy you and your family enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback!