Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

This week we’ve had some seriously cold weather here in the UK, weather that calls for hot drinks and woolly socks, not to forget those all important gloves when heading outdoors. With the change of weather (and clothing) we also need food that fuels us and keeps us warm but not just any food, comfort food. Hearty soups, roasts and oven bakes, and this Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni fits the bill perfectly!

Cannelloni is the name given to tubes of pasta, filled with cheese, fish, meat or vegetable and cooked in either a tomato or cheese sauce. The tubes can be made from lasagne sheets, they are also available to buy from supermarkets in a tubular shape. I make my cannelloni using lasagne sheets as I find them easier to fill, plus I always have lasagne sheets in my pantry. If you buy the tube shaped cannelloni, you may want to use a piping bag to fill them with ease.

Vegetarian meals aren’t always popular in my household (I’m guessing this is true for lots of parents with carnivorous children like mine) but this is one dish my kids happily eat, the cheesiness makes up for the lack of meat and combining the spinach with the ricotta makes it less spinach-y and more yumm-y! Adding some cooked shredded chicken or mince (keema) to the filling would definitely crank this cannelloni up a notch and delight the anti-vegetarians at the dinner table, but during the week I aim to cook at least one (if not two) vegetarian meals, so no meat/chicken is the way to go!

It’s important to time yourself when boiling the lasagne sheets as otherwise the sheets will overcook and lose their shape, alternatively use fresh lasagne sheets. As long as you add the dried lasagne sheets to a pot of rapidly boiling water and time yourself, you shouldn’t encounter any problems. It’s also super important to lay the blanched sheets out flat on a clean cloth, skipping this step will result in sheets that get stuck together, so if you decide not to follow my instructions and wing it, you have been warned, lol!

I’ve used cheddar on the top of my cannelloni but you can always use any cheese you prefer; adding grated mozzarella would add a lovely stringy texture, combining the two would add flavour AND texture. If you aren’t able to source a vegetarian hard cheese for this recipe, use some finely grated cheddar instead. You could also experiment with the filling and add other vegetables to the mix too; how about diced peppers, jalapenos or courgettes? Just some ideas for those of you that may give this recipe a try. But this is a classic and should be attempted just as is first, before you go experimenting with other ingredients. S0 without wasting any more time, let’s get to it!

Serves – 6

You will need: for Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni 

300g fresh spinach
1 medium onion
2 tbsp oil
1.5 tsp of minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
1 tub of ricotta cheese
80g hard cheese (vegetarian option available from Tesco)
18 lasagne sheets (you may need more/less depending on the size of your dish)
150g grated cheddar

For the tomato sauce:
1 cup of passata
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Method:

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Wash the spinach leaves in water several times to remove any soil and allow to drain.

Peel and dice one medium sized onion.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Roughly chop the drained spinach.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, once hot add 1.5 tsp of minced garlic.

Once the garlic is brown add the diced onion and allow to saute….

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

….till the onions are a light brown colour.

Next add 3/4 tsp of salt, followed by the chopped spinach and allow the spinach to cook until all the moisture has evaporated and the spinach is almost dry.

Once cooked, leave the spinach to cool to one side.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

In a large saucepan bring to boil a pot of water, add a splash of oil and 1/2 tsp salt too.

When you have a rolling boil (the water is rapidly boiling and bubbling), add the lasagne sheets and USE A TIMER to boil them for 1.5 minutes – if you boil them for too long they will lose their shape and the cannelloni won’t hold it’s shape.

Boil them in 2 batches to stop them sticking together.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Once the time is up, promptly remove the lasagne sheets, drain and then place them on a clean tea towel – this step is important as otherwise the sheets will stick together once they start to cool down.

Transfer the cooked spinach to a large bowl.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Add the ricotta, along with 80g of hard cheese and mix together.

Leave to one side till needed.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Next prepare the tomato sauce needed for the recipe.

Measure 1 cup of passata into a small bowl.

Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix the ingredients together.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

When you start to assemble the cannelloni, select a dish that can neatly hold three rows – my dish about measured 20 x 30 cm and neatly held three rows of the lasagne sheets.

Take a generous amount of the tomato sauce made earlier and spread over the base of the dish.

Lay flat a cooked lasagne sheet and add some of the mixture (it’s a good idea to try and divide the mixture into 18 portions to make filling the sheets even), then slowly roll the sheet up.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Once you’ve rolled the sheet up place the seam of the pastry bottom down, into the dish.

Continue rolling the cannelloni up and placing them into the dish, till it’s full.

Once all the cannelloni are all in, take the tomato sauce and spread sauce over the top.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Finish by sprinkling a generous amount of grated cheddar over the top and bake for 25 – 30 minutes in a pre heated oven at gas mark 6 (200 degrees Celsius electric, 180 degrees Celsius fan assisted).

The cannelloni is ready when the cheese has melted and is golden on top.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Enjoy the cannelloni with a mixed salad or some steamed vegetables!

Bon Appetit!

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 300g fresh spinach
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1.5 tsp of minced garlic
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese
  • 80g hard cheese (vegetarian option available from Tesco)
  • 18 lasagne sheets (you may need more/less depending on the size of your dish)
  • 150g grated cheddar
For the tomato sauce:
  • 1 cup of passata
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
Method
  1. Wash the spinach leaves in water several times to remove any soil and allow to drain.
  2. Peel and dice one medium sized onion.
  3. Roughly chop the drained spinach.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, once hot add 1.5 tsp of minced garlic.
  5. Once the garlic is brown add the diced onion and allow to saute....
  6. till the onions are a light brown colour.
  7. Next add ¾ tsp of salt, followed by the chopped spinach and allow the spinach to cook until all the moisture has evaporated and the spinach is almost dry.
  8. Once cooked, leave the spinach to cool to one side.
  9. In a large saucepan bring to boil a pot of water, add a splash of oil and ½ tsp salt too.
  10. When you have a rolling boil (the water is rapidly boiling and bubbling), add the lasagne sheets and USE A TIMER to boil them for 1.5 minutes - if you boil them for too long they will lose their shape and the cannelloni won't hold it's shape.
  11. Boil them in 2 batches to stop them sticking together.
  12. Once the time is up, promptly remove the lasagne sheets, drain and then place them on a clean tea towel - this step is important as otherwise the sheets will stick together once they start to cool down.
  13. Transfer the cooked spinach to a large bowl.
  14. Add the ricotta, along with 80g of hard cheese and mix together.
  15. Leave to one side till needed.
  16. Next prepare the tomato sauce needed for the recipe.
  17. Measure 1 cup of passata into a small bowl.
  18. Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sugar and ½ tsp salt. Mix the ingredients together.
  19. When you start to assemble the cannelloni, select a dish that can neatly hold three rows - my dish about measured 20 x 30 cm and neatly held three rows of the lasagne sheets.
  20. Take a generous amount of the tomato sauce made earlier and spread over the base of the dish.
  21. Lay flat a cooked lasagne sheet and add some of the mixture (it's a good idea to try and divide the mixture into 18 portions to make filling the sheets even), then slowly roll the sheet up.
  22. Once you've rolled the sheet up place the seam of the pastry bottom down, into the dish.
  23. Continue rolling the cannelloni up and placing them into the dish, till it's full.
  24. Once all the cannelloni are all in, take the tomato sauce and spread sauce over the top.
  25. Finish by sprinkling a generous amount of grated cheddar over the top and bake for 25 - 30 minutes in a pre heated oven at gas mark 6 (200 degrees Celsius electric, 180 degrees Celsius fan assisted).
  26. The cannelloni is ready when the cheese has melted and is golden on top.

 

 

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Comments 2

  1. ally
    Reply

    Please keep updating your website, love reading your blogs and recipes! X

    4 December, 2017
  2. Sophia
    Reply

    What’s hard cheese? and do I really need it? I only have cheddar at home.

    3 December, 2017

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