Monday, December 10, 2018

Vegan Ricotta and Baked Bean Manicotti

My daughter loves manicotti and I decided to make a batch tonight. She readily agreed to help. It ended up being too late for my wife, who enjoyed leftovers; she will eat this tomorrow and I may cook a tofu dish for my daughter and me.

I used Jovial brand manicotti shells made from brown rice. I used the recipe that they had on the box as a rough starting point.

In one pan, I made a sauce with a 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, along with peas (my daughter's request; I would have used artichoke hearts), spinach, butternut squash, nutritional yeast, oregano, salt, pepper, and red chili powder. As it simmered, I prepared the filling.

I had purchased on sale Kite Hill brand "ricotta cheese" made from almonds. The box's recipe called for 16 ounces of ricotta, but my tub was half that size, so we needed to improvise to get additional bulk for the stuffing (the recipe even had additional items - 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese, a beaten egg, and 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese). I was thinking of blending some cannellini beans but my daughter loves baked beans and, when she spied that I had a can of them, insisted that we use them. That's what I did, and I blended them with the ricotta and, to cut the baked bean sweetness a bit, a bit of onion, as well.

We preheated the oven to 375°F and put half of the sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13" glass baking dish. We boiled the manicotti shells for 4 minutes then stuffed each with the filling and put in the dish. Once all the manicotti shells were filled and placed, we covered with the remaining sauce and cooked, covered, for 40m. If we had put "cheese" on top, we would have cooked another 5 minutes, uncovered; in fact, I had a few shells that were shy of filling, so I added a few sprinkles of Daiya brand shreds on those for my daughter and did cook for the extra 5 minutes.


My daughter loved the manicotti! I thought it was good but missed artichokes and wish that the filling were less heavy.

Ideas for the future

The ricotta I used had 7g of fat per serving, with 8 servings in the tub. We each went through about 1/5 of the yield, so the cheese contributed about 56g/5 or 11g of fat, which isn't low. While I wish that the fat content were lower, I still want to experiment with more ricotta dishes, such as:

  • I remember years ago enjoying Seva, an Ann Arbor vegetarian restaurant. They made an excellent Mexican dish with cream cheese and butternut squash, or something similar. I bet this ricotta mixed with the squash and pureed would be good as a manicotti.
  • My Mom used to make a ricotta Indian dessert, ras malai or burfi. I generally find Indian sweets too sweet, but it might be worth trying to bring back a food that my Mom used to enjoy making.
  • I could make a manicotti with this ricotta and spinach with some olives or other punctuation of flavor.
  • It would be fun to try pizza with dollops of the ricotta.

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