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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.

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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

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85 Comments

  • Reply
    Lori @ RecipeGirl
    March 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Manicotti is definitely one of our favorite family dinners. I’m excited to try your recipe. Think I can sneak those roasted veggies by my veggie-hating kiddo??

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

      I have always been a veggie lover, but I think this is one of those recipes that even a veggie hater would enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, the eggplant might be a tough sell, but you can always replace that with something else!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving
    March 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Seriously awesome idea! I’m going to skip the shells – I know you’re shocked – and just melt some sauce and cheese over this.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Someone mentioned on my Facebook page that she’s gluten free & she was going to make “noodles” from eggplant or zucchini slices, so you could try that too!

  • Reply
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
    March 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    LOOKS SO good! I could dive in

  • Reply
    Emily Scarborough
    March 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Speaking of frozen pizza (which we just had last night), you can have half of the Paul Newman’s Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza for only 9 Weight Watchers PP if anyone else is trying to track what they eat.

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    March 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    this looks WONDERFUL!!!!

  • Reply
    Anne - Mommy Has to Work
    March 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Wonderful comfort food!!

  • Reply
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
    March 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I really love how this is freezer-friendly and a make-ahead type meal! Jason doesn’t eat much when he’s in SF so this here is just perfect for him!

  • Reply
    Ella
    March 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Wow! This looks so great! Gotta try them. Tomato and cheese is an unbeatable combo!

  • Reply
    Megan
    March 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    One of my best friends just had twins, so I made this tonight to bring them tomorrow. So great that it can be frozen for up to 1 month. A great dinner option for them on a busy night with the boys!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

      I hope they enjoy it–with newborn twins, having a meal ready-to-go will come in handy, I’m sure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    March 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I love anything that I can make ahead!

  • Reply
    Jenn @therebelchick
    March 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    These look amazing! I am getting ready to visit Italy for the first time next month and I am on an Italian-food kick…totally making this next week!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

      I hope you like them! I have a feeling they probably aren’t very authentic. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com
    March 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    I love to stuff manicotti with all kinds of fillings! Lovely recipe and lovely way to serve pasta!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    March 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    This looks great! I’m all about make ahead meals and love the addition of roasted vegetables to this!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    March 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    That looks amazing!!!

  • Reply
    HilLesha @To the Motherhood
    March 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I love manicotti. Great recipe!

  • Reply
    debra pearlstein
    March 10, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I always get hungry when I come here! Everything looks delicious and I’m bookmarking the Manicotti and hope to make it soon. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    March 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I find that cheese filled pasta dishes are usually a bit too rich for me, so I like how you lightened this up a bit with lower-fat ingredients. My dad just made a baked pasta dish for a family dinner last night that had lots of ricotta, parmesan and fontina cheese, and even though it also had some herbs in it, I found that it just didn’t have that much flavour. So I agree with you that the roasted veggies would be just what a dish like this needs to add more flavour and substance!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Have you tried using tofu instead of ricotta? My husband isn’t a big ricotta fan, so his mom used to make him stuffed shells with tofu. You still need to do something to add more flavor, but it takes care of some of the richness…

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    March 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    I just made this and placed in the freezer to enjoy next weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ After my veggies cooled, I gave them a few quick pulses in the food processor and then mixed them into the cheeses. I put that entire mixture into a Ziploc bag and piped it into the manicotti shells. I’m excited to serve these to my family! Thanks for the healthy post!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Oh yes, manicotti is definitely easier when you pipe the filling! I didn’t want to smash the veggies though, so you’re idea to pulse them is the perfect solution. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Notorious Spinks
    March 14, 2013 at 1:56 am

    I love manicotti! I will def try this and love that you can freeze them.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    March 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve never tried roasted veggies in my manicotti, what a great idea!

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    March 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Wow the Cheese & Roasted Vegetable Baked Manicotti recipe is awesome! You have the best ideas in the world.

  • Reply
    Pam Green
    October 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I can’t wait to make this soon! I love a reliable make-ahead meal. Awesome!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      I hope you like it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        Cierra
        December 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

        My boyfriend won’t eat mushrooms. Do you have any suggestions for other veggies I could add?

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          December 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm

          You could add more of one of the other veggies or maybe try broccoli broken into small (manicotti-stuffing sized!) florets. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Janice
    December 9, 2013 at 11:26 am

    The information I have is that parmesan cheese is never vegetarian due to the particular enzymes used. Is that right?

  • Reply
    Chantal
    February 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I replace some of the cheese with tofu, and my tofu “haters” didn’t know it was tofu. They loved it. Also, I don’t bother anymore with boiling the shells. It’s so much easier to fill them uncooked. I’ve done manicotti both way, and no one could tell the difference. I like the idea of adding veggies. I’ll definitely try it next time. Thx

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    March 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    This looks good!

    Question: I’ve never had or cooked with eggplant.
    Is there anything special I need to do with it for this recipe, or just dice it up?

    I remember reading that there were right and wrong ways to prepare eggplant…

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