2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 ounces vegan ground beef or crumbled extra-firm tofu or other “meat”
(I use 1 (12-ounce) package of Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Crumbles)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained, or lots of fresh spinach
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
16 ounces vegan cream cheese (I use 2 (8-ounce) packages of Tofutti)
1 package manicotti shells
3 cups spaghetti sauce (roughly a large jar of your favorite)
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
2 tablespoons vegan chicken broth powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups non-dairy milk (I use Rice Dream)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or a couple tablespoons of dried
1/2 cup of vegan "parmesan" or other "cheese" that can be grated or crumbled
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté until they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and let it saute for a minute. Add the "meat" and cook it for about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and let it cook until it's all nice and wilted. Taste it, and add salt and/or pepper if you think it needs it. Stir in vegan cream cheese. Set the skillet aside and let the filling cool.
2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add a little salt and cook your manicotti shells for half the time specified by the package they came in. Usually 4-5 minutes is enough. If you are worried about your shells cracking, you can put them in a container and cover them with saran wrap, otherwise just put them in a container.
3. Stuff your manicotti shells. Shove as much of the vegan cream cheese/spinach filling into the shell as you can with the spoon (without breaking the shell!) and then use your pointer finger to stuff it down inside the shell.
4. Pour a little spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a large pan (9"x13" works). Spread it around. Put the manicotti into the pan and squish it around in the spaghetti sauce a little bit. It will probably be a tight fit depending on how large a package of manicotti you cooked. I can usually get 16 to 18 shells in a 9"x13" pan if I really squish them in there. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
5. In a small saucepan, melt the vegan margarine. Whisk in vegan broth powder and flour. When it starts to bubble, add the non-dairy milk. You want it to be kind of runny, about the consistency of gravy, but not like water, so you might have to add more equal amounts of flour and broth powder. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Pour gravy over the manicotti. Pour spaghetti sauce over the top (it's okay if the two get mixed together). You can sprinkle it with some Italian spices if you'd like, or if you used a jar of spaghetti sauce like I do, you can just leave it alone.
6. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Take it out and spread your grated or crumbled "cheese" over the top and bake it uncovered for another 10 to15 minutes (once the "cheese" is melted and starting to turn golden brown). Enjoy with a slice of garlic bread, or some veggies!
Source of recipe: I looked up a bunch of manicotti recipes, but had a hard time finding any that were vegan and tasted like "the real thing". So I decided to make up my own. :)