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Gluten-Free Easy Mini Manicotti
Do you want something different with your favorite tomato sauce? Try our delicious gluten-free, egg-free manicotti, ideal for a winter dinner. This creamy dish will satisfy your cravings for Italian pasta. Children love it. It can be made dairy free with great results. Keeps five days in refrigerator.
1 tablespoon olive oil or oil of choice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic minced or ¼ teaspoon gluten-free asafoetida powder
1 small onion, finely chopped, or 1 small green pepper, chopped (5 ounces)
1 zucchini, chopped into ½-inch pieces (1½ cup or 8 ounces)
1 cup (7.5 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and rinsed
1 (16-ounce) container ricotta cheese or dairy-free ricotta cheese substitute*
1 (10-ounce) package of 12 gluten-free rice lasagna noodles (not ‘oven ready’ or ‘no boil’)
1 (32-ounce) jar pasta sauce or 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato pasta sauce**
¼ cup Parmesan or mozzarella cheese or dairy-free cheese substitute, optional for topping
1. Heat oil in a skillet and add spices, garlic and onion. Add chopped zucchini and cook until tender.
2. Toss in spinach and cook with zucchini for 10 minutes on high heat, hot enough to keep mixture dry. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. When mixture is cool, stir in ricotta cheese to blend well. Set aside.
4. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles as directed on package or just until you are able to cut with a knife. Drain and run under cold water.
5. Separate noodles and lay flat on a clean dish towel. (If they aren’t separated, they will stick together.) Cut each noodle in half cross-wise, creating 24 square pieces.
6. Pour half the pasta sauce into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish or covered casserole.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
8. Drop 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta mixture onto a pasta square. Roll the pasta up and place it in the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat, placing pasta rolls in neat rows. When all are rolled and placed in pan, cover them with remaining tomato sauce.
9. Sprinkle manicotti with grated or thinly sliced cheese, if using. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven. Uncover during the final 2 minutes to brown cheese, if using. Makes 24 mini-manicotti.
Each serving contains 397 calories, 12g total fat, 5g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 25mg cholesterol, 850mg sodium, 56mg carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 17g protein.
Recipe created by Madalene Rhyand, director of Living Without’s test kitchen.