Cheesy Meatless Manicotti – A vegetarian version of manicotti with tender shells, basil tomato sauce, and three kinds of melty cheese!
I made a whole pan of this Cheesy Meatless Manicotti today expecting to be serving four people. I served two. My husband and myself. We have a lot of leftovers. So if you think this recipe sounds delicious (which it is) but don’t feel like making a trip to the store to buy manicotti shells, just come on by my house, we have plenty to go around.
I’m thinking that I’m still recovering from the mayhem of holiday/home makeover week. As you will see, the three pictures in this post are almost identical. How embarrassing. Of 89 shots, I never managed to notice that I was taking the same photograph over and over and over and over and over and over? Brilliant. I apologize sincerely for the photograph similarities in this post, it’s been a little hectic around here but tomorrow’s post shall be back up to par, I promise.
Have you had manicotti? It’s delicious! Like a really cheesy, yummy lasagna all wrapped up in little individual packages. And most of all, I love the fresh spinach in this recipe! P.S. did I mention that it’s a lightened up version?? You’d never be able to tell just by tasting it! So let’s just keep it between you and me.
- 14 manicotti shells
- 16 ounces fat free cottage cheese
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2½ cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (divided)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon dried basil, or 3-4 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large jar (about 3 cups) light tomato basil sauce
- ⅓ cup water
- Bring 4-5 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add manicotti shells and continue to boil 10-12 minutes or until shells are tender and bendable but not quite completely cooked (you want them to be able to hold their shape somewhat when you fill them).
- Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish or baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, spinach, 2 cups mozzarella, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Use a hand mixer to mix all ingredients 2-3 minutes or until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour ⅔ of sauce into the prepared baking dish. Use a spoon to carefully fill each manicotti shell with about 2-3 tablespoons of filling. Lay stuffed shells side by side in the baking dish. Add ⅓ cup water to dish. Cover shells with remaining sauce and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until shells are completely cooked, cheese is melted, and filling is hot. Serve hot and top with fresh basil if desired.