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Spinach & 'Ricotta' Cannelloni

gluten free
wheat free
kid friendly
freezable
2 spoon difficulty rating

90

Serves: 6

Spinach & 'Ricotta' Cannelloni

This is hands down our new favourite recipe! Unbelievably creamy and cheesy with a lovely rich tomato sauce and pasta base... delicious! Non-vegans seriously won't know the difference :)

Ingredients: 

Cannelloni

  • 14 -16 cannelloni tubes (use GF if necessary)
  • Extra virgin olive oil  
  • 400g/14 oz spinach 
  • ½ tsp nutmeg 
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 2 x 400g/14 oz tins plum tomatoes (or use chopped tomatoes) 
  • Zest of ½ lemon 
  • Handful fresh basil 
  • ½ tsp sugar or syrup (eg agave or maple – optional)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 200g melting vegan cheese (we used Bute Island Sheese Greek Style)
  • Vegan parmesan (eg Violife Prosociano or use pre-grated eg Angel Food, Flavour Fusion or Follow Your Heart)

'Ricotta' 

  • 35g/¼ cup sunflower seeds 
  • 425g/15 oz firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • ¾ tsp salt 
  • Pinch black pepper 
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed 
  • 20g/⅓ cup nutritional yeast 

Method: 

Cannelloni 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan)/350°F/Gas Mark 5. 
  2. In a large saucepan, add the spinach, a drizzle of olive oil, half the nutmeg (¼ teaspoon), a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the pan and leave the spinach to sweat and wilt down, stirring occasionally. Pop in a bowl and set aside. 
  3. In a large pan fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. 
  4. Add the plum tomatoes and break them up with a spoon (or with your hands as you add them!). 
  5. Add the sugar, lemon zest and a few basil leaves. Simmer for around 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper, try the sauce and add more until you get the desired seasoning. 
  6. While the spinach is sweating and the tomato sauce is simmering, make the 'ricotta'. 

'Ricotta' 

  1. Blend the sunflower seeds in a food processor or using the milling blade on your blender. 
  2. Add the tofu and blend with the sunflower seeds until smooth. 
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the tofu/sunflower seed mix with all other ingredients and stir thoroughly. 

Assembly

  1. Once the wilted spinach has cooled, squeeze the liquid out of it and cut it up into small pieces. Add it to the 'ricotta' along with the rest of the nutmeg (¼ teaspoon) and stir thoroughly. 
  2. There are a couple options for getting the 'ricotta' mix into the cannelloni tubes... either pipe it in using a piping bag or if you fancy having a bit more fun then stuff the mixture in using your hands (after washing them)... kids love doing this! 
  3. Place the stuffed cannelloni tubes onto the bottom of an oven dish (12"x10"x2" approx.). Pour the tomato sauce over the top and spread evenly. Add a layer of basil leaves then sprinkle over your preferred melting vegan cheese and top off with vegan Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. 
  4. Cover the top of the dish with a sheet of foil and tuck in around the edges. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and pop back in the oven for another 15 minutes. 
  5. Enjoy with a green salad and garlic bread :) 

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