Are you on the hunt for a delicious meat-free meal that will satisfy the whole family? We are meat lovers in our family, but we do try to incorporate some vegetarian options in there regularly. The problem we run into is, often half the family doesn’t love the meal or it just isn’t filling enough. Enter our favorite option for Meatless Monday – 3 cheese and pepper stuffed manicotti.
You guys, this stuff tastes like heaven, satisfies every picky eater in our house, and (for me, the best part) can be made ahead of time and frozen.
This recipe is versatile to the max! The three cheese part can be substituted easily depending on what you’ve got on hand, and you can use whatever pasta sauce you’ve got sitting in your pantry. Don’t have manicotti shells? Use cannelloni, large shell pasta, or even roll up lasagna noodles and stuff those! You could even try layering spaghetti with the filling and topping with pasta sauce for a baked pasta dish. SO easy, you guys.
Is your mouth watering? Let’s get to it – I know you want to know how to make this delicious dish!
*This recipe is for 7 manicotti shells. For my family, we usually double the recipe and use a larger baking pan.*
- 7 manicotti shells, uncooked
- 2 cups pasta sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese (drained)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (can also use marble, cheddar, or almost any other cheese)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (use powdered, shredded or even the petals – whatever you’ve got!)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 each red and yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Bring about 8-10 cups water to a full boil – you can salt the water if you’d like – and add the manicotti shells. Only cook for 4-5 minutes to slightly soften the shells, but NOT cook them fully. We want them harder than al dente. When they are done, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the oil and saute the diced peppers, green onion, and garlic just until tender (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. This part smells AMAZING! Don’t be tempted to sneak a taste – not yet!
- In a large bowl, Mix the three cheeses and the beaten egg.
- Once the pepper/onion mixture has cooled, add them to the cheese mixture and stir well.
- In a separate bowl, mix the pasta sauce with the 1 cup of water. Set aside.
- Take out a 9X13 baking dish and pour half of the sauce/water mixture in the bottom.
- Now you are going to stuff the manicotti shells with the cheese/pepper mixture. Fill using a small spoon or however you can manage it! I usually hold the nooodle in one hand and kind of squeeze it so the opening is wide, and use a small spoon to drop the filling in. You could try using an icing bag, but I find this filling kind of chunky so it doesn’t usually work well.
- Lay the stuffed manicoti shells over the sauce layer in the baking pan, and pour the rest of the sauce over the top, making sure to cover all of the noodles evenly.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until the insides of the manicotti is bubbly hot and the noodles are softened.
- Serve! YUMMO!!!!!
What’s your favorite go-to meat-free meal? I’m always looking for new and tasty ideas, and would love to hear from you!
Looking for a few more vegetarian meal options? Check out these other great recipes: