This spinach manicotti is filled with fresh ingredients; mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and spinach, then topped with a light homemade marinara sauce! This is a great recipe to serve for special occasions like a family birthday celebration, but also not too difficult to put together for the family on those busy weeknights.
Both vegetarian and meat lovers will enjoy this casserole. I always find that recipes calling for fresh ingredients just taste better, and this recipe doesn’t disappoint at all.
You can’t go wrong with this dish as it tastes amazing, but also packs a punch of nutrients from the green leafy veggies. Trust me when I say that this dish will have everyone coming back for seconds because you can never go wrong with spinach, cheese, and simple homemade marinara sauce!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE SPINACH MANICOTTI
Hearty and comforting – With mozzarella, ricotta, tomato sauce, and seasonings, this manicotti recipe is comforting food.
Easy to make – No need to waste time trying to stuff manicotti shells. I used lasagna noodles instead for an easy manicotti roll-up.
Fresh Spinach – We use fresh spinach that cooks quick. There is no need to thaw and drain spinach or cook it in advance. Plus, according to Healthline, spinach is a good source of iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
Family-friendly – Kids love it and so will adults! Feed the entire family with this surefire recipe.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR SPINACH MANICOTTI
- medium-sized saucepan
- large mixing bowl
- large saucepan
- 9×13 baking dish
INGREDIENTS NEEDED SPINACH MANICOTTI
This ingredient list may seem long, but you should have the spices and even some of the pantry staples on hand already. After one quick trip to the grocery store for the cheeses and noodles, you will be ready to make this flavorful dish. I promise you will be so glad that you did.
HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE
- medium onion, chopped
- olive oil for sautéing
- crushed tomatoes
- tomato paste
- garlic cloves, minced
- Italian seasoning spice mix
- red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles or manicotti noodles
- ricotta cheese (low-fat is fine)
- Italian blend cheeses, shredded OR (mozzarella, provolone, shredded)
- egg, lightly beaten
- black pepper
- baby spinach, finely chopped
HOW TO MAKE SPINACH MANICOTTI
STEP 1: PREHEAT THE OVEN
Place oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 375°F degrees.
STEP 2: MAKE THE SAUCE
Over medium heat, sauté onion in a medium-sized saucepan until soft and fragrant. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian spices, and tomato paste. Sauté for 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes combining all the sauce ingredients, simmering for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: MAKE THE CHEESE FILLING
Reserve 1 cup of cheese to top the manicotti casserole. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the remaining 3 cups of cheese, egg, salt, pepper together. Add chopped spinach.
STEP 4: SOAK THE PASTA
Soak the no-boil lasagna noodles in hot water (about 5 minutes). Drain water from the noodles and remove some of the water on the noodles by placing them on a clean kitchen towel or drain on paper towels.
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE THE SPINACH MANICOTTI
Spread half of the sauce on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Fill each noodle with about a 1/4 cup of the cheese/spinach mixture, rolling from the short side of the noodle. Place the rolled manicotti, seam-side down over the sauce in the baking dish. Spread the remaining sauce over the manicotti and cover with foil.
STEP 6: BAKE THE MANICOTTI
Bake for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
Sauce – Jarred pasta sauce can be used to make this recipe if you prefer but try the homemade sauce it tastes so much better than jarred sauce, simple ingredients and note that there is not sugar added to this homemade sauce.
Noodles – Can’t find no-boil noodles? Regular lasagna noodles can be used however, you will need to boil them until they are al dente before stuffing them with the cheese mixture.
Spice – Don’t like a spice in your pasta sauce? Leave the red pepper flakes out. Or you can add in more red pepper flakes for an extra spicy sauce.
Protein – The cheese adds plenty of protein to this casserole, however, if your family is a fan of meat dishes, you can add browned Italian sausage, ground beef, or even ground turkey to this dish.
Low Carb/Keto -Want to make a low-carb swap for this recipe? Use egg or cheese wraps in place of the noodles. Another option is to use thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant in place of the noodles.
TIPS AND TRICKS MAKING SPINACH MANICOTTI
Make sure to spread some sauce on the bottom of your baking pan. You don’t want your noodles to burn by touching the pan directly.
Put the edge of the lasagna that you rolled up on the bottom of the pan to prevent your noodles from unwrapping during baking.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with a side salad or garlic bread or even a glass of your favorite wine.
Store leftover manicotti in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Will last for 3 to 4 days.
To warm up, 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. If you are reheating a larger portion it will take more time to reheat.
Yes, you can freeze manicotti. After assembling the casserole 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 above without thawing.
MORE SPINACH RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
I hope you love this cheesy spinach manicotti as much as we have! Let me know if you made any changes. I’m always looking for inspiration!
- 1 small onion, chopped
- olive oil for sautéing (approx. 1 1/2 Tablespoons)
- 2 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian spices mix
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 16 no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles
- 3 cups ricotta cheese (low-fat is fine)
- 4 cups pre-packaged Italian blend cheeses, shredded
- OR (2 1/2 cups mozzarella, 1 1/2 cups provolone, shredded)
- 1 large egg, lighten beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 loosely filled cups baby spinach, finely chopped
Oven-ready Lasagne are flat 7" x 3 1/2" noodles that do not require boiling. I used a 9 ounce package of Barilla, which comes with 16 in the box. Other brands may come with less noodles.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 709mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 27g
Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine, Baked Manicotti with Meat Sauce, page 12.
This recipe was first shared March, 2014. It has been updated with new photos and addition instructions for a better user experience.
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