After that lovely living lasagne yesterday I was really in the mood for one of my favourite things I use to prepare with Marco before I stopped eating dairy. We use to often make spinach & ricotta or pumpkin & ricotta cannelloni together. I was originally going to make a spinach tofu filling with a creamy bechamel, but I had no unsweetened plant milk in the house. So I tried to make a filling of ‘ricotta’ using cashew and tofu with some fresh spinach and topped it with a home made tomato sauce. It definitely had the texture of ricotta. I was convinced it tasted like ricotta. Marco not so much, because he still indulges in dairy products, but he said it was still very delicious. He had seconds, so that’s always a good sign. Unfortunately I was not able to get a good picture of the cannelloni, but trust me what it lacks in aesthetics it made up for in taste. Looking forward to having leftovers again tonight!
Cannelloni with Cashew Tofu ‘Ricotta’ Spinach Filling (vegan, gluten free option)
Ingredients for Sauce and Pasta:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
750ml passata sauce
2 pinches raw sugar
sea salt & black pepper to taste
10 basil leaves, diced
250g cannelloni shells (use gluten free cannelloni if you prefer)
Ingredients for Filling:
1 cup cashews (raw/soaked)
1/2 cup water
250g firm tofu, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt to taste
4 cups chopped english or baby spinach leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Prepare the sauce first. Heat olive oil in a medium size pot and then add onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till transparent.
3. Add the passata sauce, water, raw sugar and season. Bring to a boil and then leave on a simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
4. If you haven’t soaked the cashews, cook in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, then rinse under cold water.
5. Place cashews in a kitchen processor. First break down the cashews a little, then add water while it is running. I used my processor instead of my Vitamix so that there would still be the texture of ricotta, rather then cream.
9. The sauce should be ready now, so add diced basil leave and leave to the side.
10. Put a couple of ladles of the sauce into a large baking tray, so that you can’t see the bottom.
11. Fill the cannelloni shells with the filling and place into the baking tray. I managed to use all the filling except for two shells.
12. Top with with the sauce and place into the oven for 40 minutes or until the cannelloni shells are cooked. If you have plenty of leftover sauce use to reheat leftovers the next day.