Italian comfort food
For us, lasagne or cannelloni is real comfort food, perfect for cold winter weather. Traditional cannelloni recipes use a lot of cheese and the tubes are filled with ricotta cheese. What do you do when you want a plant-based version without cheese but with the same comfort level? Not that difficult at all, because you can very well make a substance with nuts (and tofu) that comes surprisingly close to the dairy version. See the result here!
Pasta is often made from flour only with water, but eggs can be used in luxury or fresh varieties. So check the ingredient list when you want to make sure you have a vegan variety! If you cannot find cannelloni pasta, you can also use pasta sheets. You then cook this very briefly until they just soften and then you roll them into tubes and fill with the filling. If you eat gluten-free, you can also make cannelloni in this way by taking gluten-free lasagne sheets. Or just build layers with the ingredients and make a lasagna!
If you want to save time, you can use a jar of tomato sauce instead of making fresh tomato sauce. And no idea what to do with the silk tofu that you have left? We’ve got an idea: make chocolate mousse in one minute!
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 large onion
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 20 g of fresh Italian herbs
- 800 g fresh (meat) tomatoes
- 2 tsp (spicy) paprika powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- FOR THE VEGAN RICOTTA:
- 75 g cashew nuts, preferably soaked for at least 1 hour
- 150 g (silken) tofu
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tbsp tahini
- FOR FILLING:
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 shallot
- 400 g spinach
- 50 g black olives, without kernel
- 150 g cannelloni tubes
- 30 g roasted and salted cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp nutritinal yeast flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cut the garlic and onion for the tomato sauce into small pieces. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic on a mild fire for about 2 minutes. Finely chop the Italian herbs and add them. Then also cut the tomatoes into cubes and add. Let simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. You can optionally puree the sauce a little.
3. While the tomato sauce is simmering, make the "ricotta" by briefly grinding all the ingredients for this in the blender (or food processor). You still want to keep some structure and lumps so don't blend too long
4. Take another frying pan. Finely chop the garlic and the shallot for the spinach. Put this in a different frying pan than the tomato sauce. Fry the onion and garlic together with the spinach in a few minutes over medium heat until the spinach has just shrunk. Slice the olives and add them to the spinach. Stir the spinach into the "ricotta".
5. Spoon a few tablespoons of tomato sauce into the baking dish. Then fill the cannelloni tubes one by one with the spinach mixture and place them in the baking dish. When one layer is full, cover the tubes with half the tomato sauce. Then place the rest of the tubes on top. Finish with the other half of the tomato sauce.
6. In the blender, coarse the roasted cashews together with the nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, onion powder and thyme. Sprinkle it over the cannelloni and put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. When the top starts to get dark, cover it with some aluminum foil. The cannelloni is ready when the pasta is cooked.