Thursday, November 1, 2007

Baked Spinach Manicotti and "chicken"

This idea came to me today. I've been craving Italian food and wanted something more decadent and rich than spaghetti.

This dish knocked the socks off of my husband and I. We both had to force ourselves to not take a second helping!! As a side dish, I served steamed veggies (beets and zucchini) which was a nice, light compliment to the rich main dish.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but I need to start adding pictures to this blog. I took this picture after the food had been in the fridge for about an hour, so it doesn't look that yummy anymore. Believe me - it REALLY is tasty.
Pre-heat oven to 350 to 375 degrees

Stuff you'll need:
1 box of Manicotti (cooked - follow directions on box)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used one called: Sweet & Tangy Tomato)
1 large baking dish (I used Pyrex) - bid enough to hold all of the cooked manicotti squished together, but not on top of each other
1 bag of frozen (fake) "chicken"
Vegan cheese (1/2 block)
(Items for food processor)
1 block of firm tofu
1/2 to 1/3 bag of spinach
3 sprigs of fresh basil
freshly ground salt (to taste)
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
sun dried tomatoes (in oil) (3 to 4 large spoonfuls)
Kalamata olives (a few full spoonfuls)
1 scallion
1/4 to 1/3 cup pine nuts
olive oil
1 large spoonful of vegan margarine
1 pepper (I used an orange bell pepper, but a yellow one would work too)

Blend all the ingredients in the food processor. Add olive oil to make wet but not too much to make it oily. Blend until creamy and no lumps remain.

Pour 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan

Fill each pasta tube with the blended mixture. (I was not talented in this step, so I ended up slitting them down the side, applying plenty of mixture and then putting it back together) Lay the pasta in the pan, repeat this with each pasta tube. Move tubes around if needed to make them all fit. I crammed them together and it was fine.

Pour the remaining mixture across the pasta.

Take the faux "chicken" and lay the pieces around the top.

Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the top

Shred the vegan cheese (I'd use a mozzarella or jack) over the top.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes.


Vaughn said...

Heather is a truly AWESOME cook, and I'm happy she's finally putting some of her inspiration down in the form of this blog. This canneloni was incredible! This should be an inspiration to vegan cooks everywhere! I must say the food Heather has made since we went vegan has been the best I've ever had... Bravo, Heather!

Heather Z said...

I made a vegan pizza the other day and I used the same mixture (used to stuff pasta) as a topping, along with red pizza sauce, shitake mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes. It came out super yummy.