Oh Manicotti, you are such a hottie!
I LOVED Manicotti when I was a kid, my mom used to make it often, stuffed with ricotta. However, I have to say, this is hands down the best Manicotti I have ever had. Stuffed with vegan tempeh sausage crumbles and tofu pesto ricotta. I know, I know, you are probably thinking, “that’s impossible.” Give it a try, you will be a believer! I legitimately think you can not tell the difference between this dish and one with actual sausage and ricotta.
This vegan sausage and pesto ricotta Manicotti is protein filled and healthy. While literally making you feel like you are eating just super comforting food that may be calorie heavy, but it is not at all!
This is another fast recipe, that can be made ahead of time as well. Then placed in the fridge and thrown in the oven for dinner! I like to make either the ricotta and sausage before hand then just boil the pasta when I am ready for dinner, or cook the pasta as well, stuff them and place in a baking sheet. Once it is dinner time, just bake them for about 15 minutes if they are cold.
So, let’s talk about this vegan pesto ricotta, it is so yummy. I used my basic ricotta recipe, then added everything else to make a complete pesto. Since the ricotta already has lemon juice and nutritional yeast, I added basil and pine nuts to the ricotta, creating one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted!
This vegan sausage and pesto ricotta Manicotti is crazy amazing. I have been eating it like a crazy person. It is just so easy, and one of the best things I have ever eaten. I think you may agree!
Vegan Sausage and Pesto Ricotta Manicotti
Tofu Pesto Ricotta
- 1/2 a Block (about 8oz.) Extra firm tofu
- 2 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice, about 2 small lemons
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 1/3 C. Basil, fresh
- 2 Tbsp. Pine nuts or walnuts
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Black pepper
- 8 oz. Tempeh
- 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 tsp. Basil, dried
- 1 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Paprika
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Black pepper
For the Manicotti
- 1/2 a Box Manicotti noodles, 7 noodles
- 1 1/2 C. Marinara sauce
- Vegan Mozzarella for topping, optional
- First, make the pesto ricotta. Squeeze the tofu over the sink squeezing as much liquid out as possible. If it starts to crumble it's no problem, you will be blending it.
- Then, add all the ricotta ingredients to a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides as needed until everything comes together, but still has some texture and looks ricotta like. Set aside.
- Now, begin boiling water for the manicotti. Once it is boiling, cook according to package instructions. This will be enough filling for about half the box(7).
- While the manicotti is boiling, make the tempeh sausage. Heat the olive oil in a non stick skillet on medium high.
- Then, crumble the block of tempeh into the pan. Break up any really large pieces so it looks like sausage crumbles.
- Saute, reducing heat as needed, for 4-5 minutes until the tempeh starts to brown. Then stir in all the seasonings. Toss to coat. Saute for another minute or so, making sure the tempeh is browned all around. Remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven 400 degrees.
- Once you have drained the manicotti, let them cool for a few minutes so you can handle them.
- While you wait, add the pesto ricotta and sausage to a mixing bowl, and stir to combine(if you want you can leave a little bit of sausage out to sprinkle on top).
- Then, pour about half of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a baking dish.
- Once the manicotti is cool enough to handle, add the ricotta/sausage mixture to a ziploc bag. Cut a small hole in the corner, so you can pipe the filling into the pasta.
- Take one manicotti, pipe filling into one side, then the other to make sure the whole noddle is filled. Repeat with remaining noddles.
- Place each one in the baking dish. Top with the rest of the marinara, vegan cheese if you want, and the tempeh sausage you saved, if that was your thing.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until everything is hot and the sauce is bubbly. If you made them ahead of time and they were in the fridge, they may need to bake for 15 minutes or so.
- Serve immediately with fresh basil.