BEST Mushroom Spinach Manicotti (No-Boil!). Craving comfort food? Here is a delicious and filling vegetarian manicotti recipe you and the whole family will LOVE!
This is a great recipe for special occasions and easy enough for the family on a busy weeknight.
If you love baked pasta try these recipes: Leftover Ham Recipes- Baked Ham and Cheese Pasta, Creamy Sausage Baked Ziti "White Baked Ziti", and Classic Italian Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce.
Why this recipe works
Ready for this simply mouthwatering pan of mushroom, spinach and super creamy bechamel stuffed manicotti?
I am always ready when this pan of cheesy goodness comes out of the oven. The assembly is super simply with the no-boil pasta shells.
You will make this recipe for friends and family all year around it is that comforting and scrumptious! Perfect for Sunday supper or an easy weeknight meal!
Add this to your list of easy recipes! A healthy dinner without too much fuss.
- What does manicotti mean?
- No-boil pasta
- How do you fill manicotti noodles or pasta shells
- Sauces and Fillings
- What is Bechamel Sauce?
- How do you know when your bechamel sauce is done?
- What is the difference between manicotti and lasagna?
- What's the difference between manicotti and cannelloni?
- Serving Suggestions
- Top TIPS
- Manicotti Storage FAQ's
- Creamy Mushroom Spinach Stuffed Manacotti
- Homemade Bechamel sauce takes 5 minutes it's like a roux- see recipe box
- Homemade Tomato sauce easiest fresh tomato sauce (marinara sauce)
- Extra virgin olive oil for cooking.
- Mushrooms gives it delicious earthy taste you won't miss the meat at all
- Fresh Spinach fresh spinach adds healthy nutrients and a pop of color
- Onion gets sautéed with mushrooms and spinach to add a mellow sweet undertone
- Mozarella cheese adds that luxurious cheesy topping
- Parmigiano cheese classic Italian aged cheese that gives any a dish that final Italian touch! (or parmesan cheese)
See recipe card for quantities
What does manicotti mean?
Pronounced, "man-eh-COT-tee", manacotti, literally means "hand-warmers, muff," from the word Latin word manicae "long sleeves of a tunic, gloves; armlets, gauntlets; handcuffs.
This iconic pasta shape that is basically a large empty tube is excellent for stuffing and baking.
Should I use no-boil manicotti noodles? Yes! It will save you time and the shells will be much easier to fill with a lot less mess!
If you use no boil manicotti noodles it will be easier to stuff the shells since they won't be soft, hot, and risk sticking together or getting flat.
For this recipe I use no-boil noodles and I love the taste just the same!
How do you fill manicotti noodles or pasta shells
- Option 1 One way to stuff manicotti shells is the put the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag.
- Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell.
- Pipe the filling into one end of the noodle, then flip the noodle and fill the other side. This technique will ensure that the entire inside of the noodle is filled.
- Option 2 Another way to stuff your shells is using a small spoon with a long handle (think baby spoon or old fashion milkshake spoon).
- Simply take a spoon of the filling with the spoon and fill the manicotti shell half way then flip it to the other side and fill the other side of the shell.
- Don't overstuff the noodles. There is just enough filling to fill all 14 of the noodles. If you overstuff them, you may not have enough filling for all of the shells.
Sauces and Fillings
I always make my own red sauce or sugo recipe (our favorite spaghetti sauce) and I use it for many other recipes instead buying the pre made jared variety.
As far as the fillings, there are so many delicious options for stuffed manicotti recipe- from meat sauce to ricotta and spinach and this creamy bechamel mushroom and spinach recipe! Next time, try this pasta recipe a different way!
Authentic Italian Amatriciana Sauce (try this red sauce with bacon!)
Authentic Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna (Vegetarian) (use the filling of this recipe to stuff inside the manicotti)
What is Bechamel Sauce?
Béchamel sauce (besciamella in Italian) has French origin and has become part of Italian culinary tradition for a very long time. It is a smooth, white sauce made with just 3 ingredients: flour, milk, and butter.
If you want to make it the true Italian way, you also add a pinch of nutmeg.
How do you know when your bechamel sauce is done?
Know your béchamel is done: A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon.
Does the sauce wipe clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is done and ready
This is a recipe my mamma taught me years ago. It is so simple and traditional. I know you will love it. This is the key component that sets baked manicotti recipe apart from any other version.
STORING: You can make and store bechamel for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
What is the difference between manicotti and lasagna?
Manicotti is a large tubular pasta shell that is stuffed with fillings, while lasagna is a flat pasta that is layered with fillings.
Manicotti are easier to serve since they come out as individual portioned stuffed shells. They are both equally delicious.
What's the difference between manicotti and cannelloni?
Manicotti and cannelloni are different noodles that can be filled with the same types of fillings! You can use either for this recipe and you'll end up with very similar results.
Manicotti noodles are large tubes of pasta that are cut at an angle on each end. Manicotti has ridges on the outside giving them a very distinct texture that lets the sauce nestle into every nook and cranny of the noodle
Cannelloni is traditionally made with thin sheets of fresh pasta that are wrapped around the filling, creating a very similar shape to manicotti, but with a different process.
The key difference between manicotti and cannelloni noodles is that manicotti has distinct ridges while cannelloni noodles are smooth in texture.
Essentially, both large tubular pasta that will taste great when stuffed and slathered in sugo al pomodoro, or Italian tomato sauce.
This is about half the recipe the full recipe is for 14 manicotti shells.
All you need is a quality baking pan for this recipe. Here is a baking pan I use and love. I also use it for my Classic Italian Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce recipe.
This filling vegetarian meal pairs nicely with a simple salad and homemade bread! Don't forget dessert! Try these easy no bake recipes: Authentic Easy Italian Tiramisu Recipe and Frozen Lemon Dessert (Creamy Lemony Treat).
- Spice - add red pepper flakes to give it a spicy element (add with your cheese mixture).
- Garlic and Onion - If you like a strong garlic flavor add some chopped cloves garlic (even garlic powder) to the sauce or onion powder for a more intense taste.
- Meat - add some cooked Italian sausage or cooked ground beef to the mixture before stuffing the pasta shells.
- Herbs - feel free to add a little fresh basil and fresh parsley as a garnish.
- Cheese- ricotta cheese is a popular addition to any spinach manicotti recipe.
(see my recipe suggestions above in the section titled: sauces and fillings)
- Make sure to spread some sauce on the bottom of your baking pan. Your pasta can burn by touching the pan directly.
- Make enough red sauce and white sauce to coat the top so the pasta doesn't dry out on the top layer.
Manicotti Storage FAQ's
Store leftover manicotti in airtight containers for storage in the refrigerator. They will last for about 3 days.
To reheat leftovers, microwave for about 1 minute or until heated all the way through. Or, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cover with foil when reheating.
Yes, you can freeze manicotti. After assembling in your oven safe baking dish cover with foil and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can then take it out of the freezer and thaw it out overnight in the refrigerator. Then bake as directed in the recipe post.
From my Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
Made with Amore, Elena
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Ready for this simply mouthwatering pan of mushroom, spinach and super creamy bechamel stuffed manitcotti? I am always ready when this pan of cheesy goodness comes out of the oven. The assembly is super simply with the no-boil pasta shells. You will make this recipe for friends and family all year around it is that comforting and scrumptious!
- 1 recipe for my homemade tomato sauce, about 3 cups, you can also use store bought
- 1 package no boil manicotti noodles (14 shells)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow medium onion, diced
- 8 oz mushrooms (variety of choice), diced into small pieces
- ¼ cup frozen spinach, thawed and liquid removed
- 1 cup (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmigiano cheese
- Salt to taste
- 6 tbsp butter unsalted
- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour all purpose
- 4 cups milk
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- Prepare your tomato sauce and bechamel (white sauce) up to 5 days ahead of time and store in air tight containers in the fridge.The bechamel will become firm and you will need to microwave it for a few minutes to get it back to a creamy consistency.
- Make the Bechamel Sauce (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge): In a medium saucepan on low medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until well combined with butter. Keep whisking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients: milk, nutmeg and salt and whisk everything together. Cook for another 10 minutes and keep whisking as it gets thicker. You will know it is ready when it sticks to the back of the spoon. Turn off heat and set aside.*
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- In a medium skillet heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes. Add spinach. Saute spinach another 2 minutes until heated through and season with salt.
- In a medium bowl, mix ¾ of the bechamel (that you made ahead of time) with the cooked mushroom and spinach mixture. This is your filling. Reserve ¼ of the bechamel for later.
- Get out your prepared tomato sauce. Spread half the tomato sauce in an even single layer in the bottom of a 13" by 9" by 2" (inch) baking dish. Sprinkle half of the grated parmigiano across the tomato sauce.
- Transfer filling to a piping bag (a gallon Ziploc baggy works well too).
- Cut the tip off your piping bag about the width of the manicotti noodles. You can also fill the shells by using a long spoon. Fill each noodle with filling. Nestle filled manicotti into the baking dish in a single layer. The manicotti may be very close together. Then pour the remaining sauce in an even layer on top of the uncooked manicotti shells.
- Top manicotti with the remaining bechamel sauce and shredded mozzarella. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for about 50 minutes or until the noodles are just about cooked through. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the noodles are al dente.
- Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and grated parmigiano cheese and enjoy!
*Know your béchamel is done: A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon. Does the sauce wipe clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is done and ready.
Keywords: manacotti, pasta, mushrooms, bechamel, spinach, vegetarian, red sauce, stuffed pasta,