This has been a long time in the planning and waiting stages – mainly to get the filling right absent any animal products. It’s a success I waited three decades to achieve.
Makes 11 stuffed pasta and 5-1/4 cups sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degree for 15 minutes before baking manicotti
12.3 oz. pkg. extra firm Silken type tofu, rinsed then squeezed and twisted in tofu cloth to extract excess liquid
1 c. vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya brand)
1 c. dairy-free cream cheese, plain (I used Tofutti brand)
1 T. tapioca flour (buy online)
1 t. xanthan gum powder (buy online)
1 t. Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder (buy online) mixed with 2 t. Thrive Algae Oil (buy online) till smooth
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried basil, crushed
sprinkling of red cayenne pepper
sprinkling of nutmeg
1-1/2 t. sea salt
Place tofu in bowl and mash with fork till mealy.
Add mozzarella shreds and mix to evenly disperse.
Add cream cheese and mix with fork then with spoon till as smooth as possible (do not mix this in a processor).
Add remaining ingredients, then stir with spoon for 1 minute to be sure all particles are every distributed.
Cover and refrigerate till ready to use.
Marinara Sauce – Makes 5-1/4 cups:
3 T. Thrive Algae Oil
28 oz. can tomato puree
28 oz. can whole Italian plum tomatoes in liquid – crushed with hands in bowl till pulpy ( I used San Marzanno tomatoes)
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. dried basil, crushed
1/4 t. ground allspice
light sprinkling red cayenne pepper
3 T. liquid from jar of Kalamata olives
salt to taste
Combine all sauce ingredients in large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, partially cover and cook at slow boil for 30 minutes, or longer if you need to thicken it up a bit more.
Adjust for salt and set aside.
1 lb. pkg. dried manicotti pasta, cooked in lots of salted, boiling water till tender; drain, rinse under cold water, then place on towel to keep from sticking together
Assembly: Use a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
Line dish evenly with 1-1/2 cups of marinara sauce.
In the past, I made my own homemade pasta sheets, so didn’t have to struggle with stuffing these tubes. It’s not that easy, so I slit each manicotti tube up the side, opened them up flat, placed the stuffing elongated across the middle, then closed the tubes, overlapping the edges just a bit, then placed them seam side down in the baking dish on top of the marinara sauce.
The filling made 11 stuffed manicotti.
Top with as much sauce as you like, being sure to coat all surfaces of the pasta.
I had about 1 cup sauce leftover that I used for something else.
Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or till bubbly, heated to very hot throughout and you see evidence that the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve.
If desired, drizzle each serving with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Notes: You can make the filling and sauce 1-3 days before assembling and baking this dish to spread out the prep time.
The addition of tapioca flour, xanthan gum, Thrive algae oil and Ener-G Egg Replacer created the texture I was seeking for the filling when baked.