Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baked Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Manicotti

Baked Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Manicotti
We all crave pasta, all shapes and sizes. But it's fun to change it up from time to time, you can't just have the same old all the time. Changing up something as simple as the sauce can give you a whole new experience, spinach & artichoke is a classic recipe. So why not combine the two?

This recipe shows you how to combine the familiar flavors of spinach & artichoke, with the classic baked pasta. With that creamy and savory flavors you love to dip into and a cheesy pasta, you can't go wrong when indulging in this on your next Sunday dinner. Perfectly paired with your favorite bread and vegan adult beverage. Serve along side a fresh garden salad and get ready for a new dinner tonight. Enjoy!

Baked Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Manicotti

Ingredients

1 package Manicotti Shells (pack of 12)

Sauce
2 cups frozen or frozen chopped spinach
1 cup whole artichoke hearts, quartered and halved (frozen or canned)
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 8oz container vegan cream cheese
1 1/2 cup freshly grated vegan cheese (Daiya cheddar was used in this, but jack would be great)

1/2 a large lemon (juiced) 
1 1/2 teaspoons thinly sliced scallions
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce 
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, depending if you want spice) 
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 Tablespoons fresh or dried Parsley

Filing
1 16 ounce container vegan ricotta (Tofutti Brand) 
1 Tablespoon olive oil 
1 1/2 Tablespoon parsley
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 to 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Topping
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil, to drizzle

Directions


Heat the oven to 375 Degrees and get a casserole or baking dish ready. 

Sauce
In a bowl combine vegan mayo, vegan cream cheese, and scallions in a large mixing bowl.


On a cutting board quarter and halve your artichoke hearts and measure 1 cup.


On a separate plate, grate chilled Daiya wedges until you get 1 cup.


Combine all the rest of the ingredients except the 1/2 cup vegan cheese in a large bowl, you want to have some to go on top. Stir the mixture well to mix everything nicely. 



*Now if you want this sauce to be smooth, you can purée it in a blender until you reach your desired texture. You could also make it chunkier by leaving it as prepared above, both are delish. 

Once you have you sauce made, set aside in the fridge until ready. Next, prepare your manicotti as directed on the package until al dente. Once at al dente texture, drain the pasta and rinse in cold water. 



Set aside your shells at this point, prepare your filling by combining all the ingredients and mix. When your shells are drained and rinsed to cool. Pat dry and prepare to fill.

*I used a large opened squeeze bottle but you can use a pastry bag or small spoon to fill. Just remember to be gentle, you don't want to rip the pasta.



One by one, take each shell and fill evenly each. Lay each filled shell in your prepared casserole dish lined with a light layer of your prepared sauce. 





Repeat this process until all the shells are filled and you have a nicely lined casserole dish. With your remaining sauce, scrape it on top of the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the topping and a light drizzle of oil to help it brown. 





Place in your heated oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. 



Once baked completely, remove from the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to cool a bit. When ready eat, portion out and serve with a fresh garden salad. Pairs nicely with your favorite bread and vegan adult beverage. Leftovers are great portioned out and frozen for on the go take and reheat meals. Whether you serve it at a party, Sunday dinner, or holiday, this will sure be a treat and change of pace from the boring everyday pasta dish. Enjoy!

-Amy