This vegan tofu manicotti recipe is so rich and creamy, no one will ever know it’s made with tofu! It’s a perfect Meatless Monday meal for your family.
I don’t know about you, but the holidays flew by for me this year. I struggled to get my holiday cards out on time, only had time to make a few batches of cookies, and we used gift bags instead of wrapping our presents to save time. It might have been because the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was compressed, or maybe because we had a 1 year old to bring everywhere this year, but by the time New Year’s came, I was pooped!
After finally resting for a few days and surviving on leftovers, I was craving something comforting that was also easy to make. We are trying to eat healthier in the New Year, so I wanted to avoid something too heavy (think traditional comfort food). I also wanted to keep my husband and my son’s preferences in mind so that I didn’t have to make multiple dishes for dinner.
My mother-in-law makes delicious vegan stuffed shells that I’ve been meaning to transform into a lasagna, so I intended to make that to share with you. However, once in the pasta aisle at the store, I ultimately picked up some manicotti because I figured it would help with portion control. See, I have no self-control when it comes to lasagna. Once I’ve had one piece, I tend to continually cut small slivers until I’ve eaten another entire piece (whoops!). With the manicotti I was able to stick to just eating two with a side salad – which was enough to keep me full for dinner.
To make this recipe vegan, the major swap was tofu in place of ricotta cheese. It works pretty well because the texture is similar. While my little man isn’t quite ready to be helping in the kitchen, I think school-aged kids would have a ball with this. Not only would they be able to mash up the tofu with their hands until it is the right texture, they could help stuff it into the manicotti noodles. Kids who help make food are also more likely to eat those foods at meal times.
My husband and toddler both loved this so I will be making it again soon! I really enjoyed it too and think it was even better the next day as leftovers because the flavors were able to meld together more. You really can’t taste the spinach in the filling, but if you want to swap it for something else, I think sautéed mushrooms, broccoli, or shredded carrots would all be super tasty.
VEGAN TOFU MANICOTTI
Makes 14 stuffed manicotti.
- 1 box Manicotti (I used Barilla)
- 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (or homemade if you have it)
- 2 big handfuls (about 2 packed cups) of baby spinach
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup water
- 2 boxes extra-firm tofu (I used Wegmans organic)
- 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: ¼ cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya brand)
Step 1: Cook manicotti noodles according to box instructions and let cool on sheet pan while preparing other ingredients.
Step 2: Roughly chop spinach and place in microwave safe bowl.
Step 3: Finely chop garlic clove (I used a micro grater) and put in bowl with spinach.
Step 4: Add 1 tablespoon of water to spinach/garlic mixture and microwave for 2 minutes.
Step 5: Drain tofu and place in large bowl. Using your hands (or a potato masher), break up tofu so the texture is similar to ricotta cheese.
Step 6: Stir spinach/garlic mixture, 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper with tofu. At this point, you should taste the filling to ensure it is seasoned enough. Tofu can be very bland and I ended up adding about twice as much salt and pepper than I initially thought I would need.
Step 7: Pour ¾ cup marinara sauce on bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.
Step 8: Using your hands or a spoon, fill the manicotti with the tofu mixture and place in pan.*
Step 9: Pour remaining sauce and ¼ cup water over manicotti and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (optional).
Step 10: Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.
*Note: I initially thought I could pipe the tofu mixture into the manicotti using a large zip lock bag, but it didn’t work. I ultimately used my hands because it was the easiest method for me. Also, I had about ¼ cup filling left over that my son ended up eating separately.
Are you looking for more vegan recipes? Check out some more of our favorites.