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Make-Ahead Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti

Make-Ahead Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti Recipe

Make-Ahead Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti

There’s a whole lot to love about this Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti recipe.

1. Roasted vegetables! The best kind of vegetables! I like cheese manicotti, but it’s never been a favorite of mine because the filling is a little bit boring. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. Roasted vegetables make this baked manicotti recipe more flavorful, more filling, and they up the nutrition a little bit too.

Roasted Vegetables for Manicotti

2. It can be made a day in advance. I’m a fan of any recipe that will let me assemble everything the night before and then pop it in the oven to cook the next evening. Sometimes I know I’m going to have an especially busy day and won’t have time to make dinner–I love that we can still have a filling homemade meal and don’t have to rely on takeout or frozen pizzas. (I’m not hating on frozen pizzas, of course, but if I eat 1/3 like the package always says, I’m hungry 20 minutes later. Also, dividing your pizza into thirds just isn’t right. It’s not!)

3. It can be frozen too. Yes! You have 3 options with this recipe! Assemble and bake right away, assemble, refrigerate and bake the next day, or assemble and freeze. And the best news is that it doesn’t just freeze (because technically, you can freeze anything, right?), but it freezes well. When I was testing this recipe out, we had it all 3 ways and it was nearly impossible to tell the batch I baked right away from the frozen or refrigerated batch.

This post was originally published on March 7, 2013.


Make-Ahead Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti

Make-Ahead Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti Recipe

Roasted vegetables add flavor and a nutritional boost to traditional baked cheese manicotti. This recipe is perfect to make in advance–either refrigerate it for a day or freeze it for up to a month!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: about 4 servings


  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 small (or baby) eggplant, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 package manicotti shells (14 shells)
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese (I use low fat or fat-free)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 c. jarred marinara sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, or until vegetables are softened and just starting to brown. Set aside.
  3. If you’re planning on eating the manicotti the same day you make it, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Otherwise, turn oven off.
  4. Cook manicotti shells al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and run under cold water until shells are cool enough to handle.
  5. While shells are boiling, in another large bowl, stir together ricotta, egg, salt and pepper. Fold in roasted vegetables, 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, and 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese.
  6. Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish (use a freezer-to-oven safe dish if freezing). Using a small spoon, carefully fill each manicotti shell with cheese and vegetable mixture. Place finished manicotti in baking dish. Once all manicotti are filled, top with remaining sauce and cheese.

To make right away:

  1. Cover casserole dish with foil. Bake manicotti at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 10 minutes more.

To refrigerate:

  1. Cover casserole dish with foil and refrigerate for up to one day. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until heated through, then remove foil and bake 10 minutes more.

To freeze:

  1. Place plastic wrap directly on top of manicotti to minimize freezer burn, then cover casserole dish with lid. Freeze for up to 1 month. To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees; remove lid and plastic wrap and cover with foil. Heat for an hour, then remove foil and bake about 15 minutes more or until manicotti is heated through and cheese has melted.


If you don’t have a freezer-to-oven baking dish, you can use a disposable aluminum baking tray instead.

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  • Reply
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
    March 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

    This looks delicious!!! Can’t wait to try this manicotti – and I will feel so healthy while I’m eating it with all those yummy veggies!!!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Okay, this is just amazing! I totally agree with you! When I think of cheese manicotti I just think it is too boring and needs just a little “something”. You figured it out! Any advice on a substitute for eggplant? I’ve tried but I just can’t. Would more mushrooms work?

    • Reply
      March 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      You can double either the mushrooms or zucchini. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    March 7, 2013 at 9:36 am

    While I’m perfectly content with cheese manicotti, there’s also nothing wrong with changing it up now and then. Yum!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

    i was never a big fan of cheese manicotti, but one filled with roasted vegetables sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    March 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Oh this looks so good… Perfect comfort food for a day like today.

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    March 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    What a marvelous idea to add roasted veggies! Much healthier, and I’m sure it tastes way better than it’s overly-cheesy counterpart. I’m a fiend for make-ahead meals – especially make-ahead *freezer* meals – adding this one to my list.

  • Reply
    anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    March 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I looove manicotti and since I just went through the last of the stuffed shells, I’m going to see if I can find some whole wheat ones. YUM!

    • Reply
      March 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      I can never find whole wheat manicotti shells. Or the jumbo shells for stuffing either! Let me know if you have better luck…

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Play 2 Learn with Sarah
    March 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

    This sounds amazing! I’m going to have to start stalking your site…every night when I say “Dinner’s ready!” They reply “There’s no meat, is there?”

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
    March 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I’m gonna try this because it looks and sounds delicious. And having dinner ready ahead of time is the best feeling. But I have to ask, how can cheese be boring?!

    • Reply
      March 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Ha! Well, most cheese is never boring, but I find the ricotta filling that’s used in stuffed shells & manicotti a little bit meh. I know some people eat it with a spoon with a little honey or fresh fruit and I’ve tried it, but I just can’t get into it!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    This looks delicious – cheese and mushrooms, you can’t go wrong! I’ll probably make two smaller pans at once, so I can have one in the freezer for another day!

  • Reply
    Pam @Mommacan
    March 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    This looks divine! I was thinking of you when looking at a Dominican dish online with meat. I need to find it , I bet it would be great with lentils. It was kind of like Sheppard’s pie only the mashed potatoes where mashed plantains.

    Happy Day to all of you and yours!


  • Reply
    March 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Oh my, this sounds so amazing! I wonder if my veggie haters would eat this…I mean, it’s stuffed in pasta! How can you go wrong with that?

    • Reply
      March 8, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Well, my ricotta hater loves it for the veggies, so maybe your veggie haters will love it for the ricotta? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        March 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

        I’ll give it a shot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    March 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Oh yum, this looks gorgeous. So tasty.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    March 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    This sounds like a perfect weekend lunch for me. I love roasted veggies!

  • Reply
    dixya @ food, pleasure, and health
    March 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    love roasted veggies!!! and idea of adding to manicotti is just fantastic. I am glad you mentioned the flexibility with the recipe. I will make a great weeknight dinner or when I have to feed crowd ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      March 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

      It’s definitely a great recipe for a crowd! If you serve it with a salad on the side, you could probably get 6-7 servings out of it.

  • Reply
    Sara @my less serious life
    March 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    this is so brilliant. can’t wait to make this ahead and whip up for my boyfriend and i on busy friday nights. i’m always looking for something quick like this b/c i don’t get home from the gym until 7ish and on friday’s i like to make something special, but that doesn’t require a lot of time. this is perfect and the boy will love the cheeeeese.

    • Reply
      March 8, 2013 at 10:42 am

      I’m trying to do more make ahead and freezer recipes. They take a little more time to develop, but so many people (myself included–and I do this for a living!) don’t have time to cook dinner everyday. I hope you like it if you make it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    a farmer in the dell
    March 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I love that you loaded these guys with some roasted veggies. Perfect!

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    March 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti…OH MY…that looks so good! My daughter loves to make manicotti and I can’t wait to forward this post to her! Thank you for creating the most wonderful things to eat and sharing them with the rest of us.

    • Reply
      March 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Aw, thank you Brenda! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    March 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    This is a great weeknight meal! Yum yum.

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    March 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    How does your hubby hate ricotta?? That’s just nuts! It’s so yummy! These look really good – haven’t had manicotti in forever!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

      I know, right? And he’s Italian too!

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    March 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    This looks really really delicious, and I LOVE the convenience of being able to make it ahead. What a time saver :).

  • Reply
    Honey What's Cooking
    March 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    such a great vegetarian blog… i eat fish/chicken, but at home I primarily cook veggie. love manicotti, but never made it at home. looks so simple and tasty.

  • Reply
    Courtney Jones
    March 8, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Oh my goodness….this looks like my perfect dinner! Pasta, cheese and veggies. Mmmmm! This is definitely going on my meal plan for next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    March 8, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I love this idea! I almost never make/eat manicotti because I feel so unhealthy eating all the carbs and cheese, but adding vegetables cancels everything out, right? (Say yes.) Plus I just love roasted vegetables.

    • Reply
      March 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Yeah, regular manicotti is just TOO MUCH CHEESE. ๐Ÿ™‚ Adding vegetables definitely makes it feel much more virtuous.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    March 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Ooo girl, great idea to add all those lovely veggies!

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