Alice’s Healthy (Low Fat) Cheese Manicotti

Serves: 4

Total time: Approximately 1 ¼ hours. 

    45 minutes (prep); 30 minutes (cook).

 

Alright, I admit it.  This recipe contains tofu… But it still tastes good. Trust me!  And it’s very good for your health.  But if you simply can’t abide tofu or are highly allergic to it, see other workable variations.

 

INGREDIENTS:

 Filling:

·         8 ounces firm tofu, drained

·         2 egg whites

·         ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese

·         ¼ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

·         1 tablespoon minced parsley

·         ½ teaspoon salt

·         ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·         2 tablespoons minced garlic

 Sauce:

·         1 – 14.5 oz. can diced, stewed tomatoes — one that contains onions, green pepper, celery and other aromatics.

·         1 - 4 ounce can tomato paste

·         1 cup dry, red wine

·         2 teaspoons dried basil

·         1 teaspoon cinnamon

·         2 tablespoons minced garlic

 

Other ingredients:

·         8 manicotti shells, cooked and drained

·         ¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

 

PREPARATION:

·         While you cook the manicotti shells, preheat oven to 350°F.

·         Drain and pat the tofu dry.

·         In a large bowl, mash the tofu with a fork to break it up.

·         In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg whites, and then add them to the tofu.

·         Stir in the ricotta cheese, Romano (or Parmesan) cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper to the tofu/egg white mixture.

·         Place a 13 X 9 X 2 baking dish — preferably glass — on the counter near your bowl of filling.

·         Spoon 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each manicotti shell. Arrange the filled shells in the baking dish.

·         Cook the sauce.

·         In a medium pot, stir together the undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, basil, cinnamon and minced garlic.  Let it simmer for 1015 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.

·         Pour the sauce over shells.

·         Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes until well heated.

·         Sprinkle the cooked casserole with mozzarella and let it stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

Variations:

·         If you simply can’t abide or are allergic to tofu, then substitute either:

·         10 ounces of cooked frozen spinach — that have had all the cooking liquid pressed out; OR

·         1 cup of cooked wild mushrooms — sautéed in just a little bit olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

 

Copyright 2007, Alice C. Dames, www.alicedames.com.  All rights reserved.  This recipe cannot be published elsewhere without expresspermission.