Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stuffed Wild Mushroom Manicotti

This weekend we headed up to the Grand Canyon. If you have never been there, it truly is a wonder of the world. However, the food service outlets are average at best. For the second time at the North Rim, the restaurant greatly disappointed our group. Last year the service was deplorable and the food cold. This year we thought we'd give them another try. We had a 645pm reservation. At 645pm we were told that two tour busses had come in and we wouldn't be seated for at least an hour. Are you kidding me? You have to make reservations far in advance for the dining room. Our group was getting up at 3am to hike. This was completely unacceptable and we will not spend our hard earned money there again.

We opted for the deli which had very few vegan options...not really any on the menu itself, but you could work it out. I ended up eating a lot of fried vegetables and chips. Yuck!! I did finally find a nice salad and a baked potato to hold me over. So you can imagine when I got home I was ready for some real, tasty, vegan fare. I was planning on doing something quick as I was pretty sleep deprived. Then I got this bug to get a bit more creative. I've been wanting to develop my own version of tofu-cashew ricotta for an upcoming Valley Dish appearance...and so I did. I decided to take it for a spin in these delicious stuffed manicotti. I still need to do a little work on the sauce, but you really could use your favorite marinara sauce on these with great success. I used a red-pepper sauce that I am toying with and don't quite have perfected. It was fantastic on this! Below I have posted a different sauce than I used, but this one is already tested and really yummy!

Stuffed Wild Mushroom Manicotti

Makes 10 Manicotti

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons red wine
1/4 lb. Oyster Mushrooms, medium dice (about 2 cups)
1 large portobello, fins removed, medium dice (about 2 cups)
1 recipe Tofu-Cashew Ricotta (recipe below)
10 manicotti shells (cook up a few extra to compensate for any ripped pasta)
2 cups of marinara or your favorite red sauce* (or I have posted a recipe below)
Vegan Mozzarella or Vegan Parmesan (optional)

In a 12 inch cast iron pan or skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add black pepper, salt and oregano and combine. Deglaze with red wine. Saute until liquid is almost gone. About 2 minutes. Add diced mushrooms. Saute until they are almost dry, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare manicotti according to package directions. Drain and let cool. 

While the pasta is cooking, prepare Tofu-Cashew Ricotta (recipe below).

In medium bowl combine the cooled mushroom mixture and the Tofu-Cashew Ricotta. Put mixture into a large pastry bag with no tip. Using your best pastry bag skills. Fill each pasta tube with the filling by squeezing mixture in slowly. Place each stuffed tube in a lightly oiled 9 x 13 pan. When all 10 are filled and in the pan, spread sauce over the top. Sprinkle on cheese (if using). Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for the last 5 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

Tofu-Cashew Ricotta

1/3 cup raw cashews
1 – 14 oz. firm tofu, water squeezed out
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
½ cup loosely packed basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon oregano, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ black pepper

Place cashews in a small bowl with enough water to cover and come over about 1 inch. Let soak for an hour or longer.

Drain cashews. In large food processor bowl, place cashews and remaining ingredients. Pulse to mix ingredients. Process until smooth (about 5 minutes), scraping sides of processor bowl as necessary. 

Serve this with a simple salad or simple grilled vegetables for a nice filling meal.

* I like a lot of sauce, so if you are like me use 3 cups so you will have some on the side to slather on the pasta.

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Marinara

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 head roasted garlic, peeled and chopped fine*
1 28 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan over medium heat sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant, 30-45 seconds. Add red pepper and roasted garlic and sauté for another minute or so. Add remaining ingredients. Let simmer on low for about 30 minutes to let the flavors really develop and meld. If you like a smoother sauce, feel free to blend with a stick blender, in a food processor, or blender. This will be even better the next day.

* To roast garlic, peel outer white layers off of garlic head. Cut top of head off to just barely expose cloves. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the head. It is done when the garlic will feel soft like a sponge. Squeeze each individual clove to get the beautiful garlic "meat" out. A note of caution, make sure you let your garlic cool before attempting to squeeze the garlic out. It is extremely hot when it first comes out of the oven.


  1. I was going to send a variation of this one to you and see if you wanted to use it in the upcoming months.

  2. As Kim's Grand Canyon companion and fellow hiker, and although not a vegan, I can totally say that we were ready for some wholesome vegie food. Especially yesterday this must have been manna from heaven!

  3. Wow Kim! I've never heard of manicotti before, but this looks delicious!

  4. It's a big tube pasta and is perfect for stuffing.