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Manicotti of Doom!

What you need: 

one dozen manicotti shells
two packages of firm tofu (minus one half cup)
one packet of Italian seasoning (or use your own blend)
one cup of vegan cheeze sauce (see notes below)
two large cans of crushed tomato
one can of tomato paste
Italian seasonings (garlic, oregano, basil, etc)
one can black olives, chopped coarsely
one can green olives, chopped coarsely
or any other veggies you like to add into tomato sauces

What you do: 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (F). Boil lots of water for the manicotti shells, so that the filling can be made while they're cooking.
Filling:
Plop the two bricks of tofu into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until it looks like Ricotta cheese. Add in as much of the Italian seasoning packet as you want, or season it with your own special blend of herbs and spices like oregano, garlic, basil, and I like to throw in a bit of cumin for interest. Use your imagination. Pour in the vegan cheeze sauce and mix well.
For the cheeze sauce, I usually use a recipe from Joanne Stepaniaks UnCheese Cookbook like Meunster (minus the agar). But for this purpose (because of copyright laws and because experimentation is fun) here is my modification. Mix in a blender the following things: tofu, raw cashews, tahini, nutritional yeast, seasonings (like garlic, onion powder and salt) and a little water and the juice of one lemon (these should all add up to about two cups or so, maybe a little more). Once everything is blended up nice, and you like the flavor, its ready to go. Note: if it tastes bland, add in more lemon juice. I found that this is crucial, and vinegar doesn't really cut it in fake cheeze recipes.
Tomato Sauce:
Plop the canned tomato goods into a pot, add a tomato-paste-can full of water and heat and stir. Season with garlic powder or fresh garlic (I love a lot of garlic) and herbs. Add in chopped olives and other veggies if desired. Simmer until the flavors meld to your satisfaction.
Drain the manicotti and place in a pot of cold water. Line your baking dishes with a bit of the tomato sauce. Fill each she'll with the seasoned tofu filling and place very close together in the baking pan. Cover with sauce so that no noodle bits are showing. Cover pan(s) with foil. Bake in 350 degree (F) oven for approx. 30 minutes, or until the sauce is nice and bubbly.
Enjoy!
* If you have leftover cheeze sauce (since you only need about one cup or so in the tofu mix) you can pour it over the top of the manicotti along with the tomato sauce. Or you can use it as a creamy vegan bread dip for an appetizer or something.

Preparation Time: 
30 min
Cooking Time: 
Servings: 
5-6

SO HOW'D IT GO?

Anonymous

I usually make lasagna instead of manicotti, but I have used Joelle's recipe in a variety of ways. I had never thought to add a cheeze sauce to tofu. It is very good & an idea you can use in lots of other things. Change the spices, add some chilies & you have a great enchilada filling.

To those who like meat analogs with your meal, do not add them to the casserole. They become mushy, awful little blobs that you pick out.  :-\ Instead, fry or broil your analog & serve on the side.
8)

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I made this recipe a couple nights ago and I thought it was fabulous.  I brought it to a mixed potluck, howe'ver, and the meateaters did not go wild, so keep that in mind.  My significan't other (lacto-ovo veg) also thought the recipe was good, but not great, so I'm pretty much eating the leftovers myself.  Not that I mind, they are delicious!

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