MEATLESS BAKED MANICOTTI WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE

If baked ziti and standard pasta dishes have you a little 'meh' and you are looking for another meatless option that everyone will love, this recipe is ideal. Soft long tubes of pasta get stuffed with a delicious meat-free mixture of veggie meat crumbles, ricotta and Parm cheese, and herbs, and baked underneath a pungent red sauce and melty cheese. It is filling and downright fantastic.


If you are feeling meat-y this recipe is also good with ground beef or turkey, in place of the veggie crumbles.


Notes: Veggie crumbles are Morning Star Farms Grillers Crumbles, found in the frozen section of the supermarket. Roasted red peppers are Trader Joe's.


MEATLESS BAKED MANICOTTI

WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE

Ingredients: 1 (8-ounce) box manicotti noodles, 25 ounces marinara sauce, 10 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, 2 cloves garlic, 1 beaten egg, 15 ounces ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, 2 cups veggie crumbles, 1 1/2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning, 1 tsp. dried or fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6.


1. Preheat the oven to 375* F. Lightly spritz a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. 2. Add roasted red peppers, garlic, 1/2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning, and marinara sauce to a blender. Blitz until smooth. Set aside. 3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook noodles until very al dente, about 2-3 minutes less than called for by the package instructions. (They should be softened enough to stuff, but not so soft that they split.) Drain and briefly rinse with cold water. 4. Warm the veggie crumbles in a small saucepan, if frozen. Add to a bowl with the ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the beaten egg, the remaining Italian herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. 5. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of red sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Stuff each manicotti tube carefully with the ricotta filling until full, but not bursting. Lay stuffed noodles in the baking dish.

6. Pour the red sauce over the manicotti. Top with grated mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake covered, for 30-35 minutes, until hot and melty. Sprinkle parsley over the top before serving.


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