Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe

This savory dish is a perfect blend of taste and health. Fresh zucchini ribbons filled with a creamy spinach and ricotta filling, cooked until golden and bubbling. A great way to enjoy your vegetables with a touch of Italian flair. This recipe is simple to make, low-carb and utterly delicious. It is sure to be a hit at your dinner table.

Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe
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Photos of Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe

This recipe uses some common ingredients like zucchini, spinach, and ricotta. However, if you're not familiar with ricotta, it's a type of Italian whey cheese that's soft and creamy. It is widely used in Italian cuisine and can be found in the cheese section of your local supermarket. Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be found year round, but is best during the summer months. You can use a simple grater to slice zucchini into ribbons if you don't have a mandolin slicer.

Spinach and Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Ingredients

Zucchini: A low calorie vegetable, rich in vitamins and minerals.

Crushed tomatoes: They add a nice tangy flavor to the sauce.

Frozen spinach: A great source of iron and calcium. You can also use fresh spinach.

Ricotta: A creamy cheese that gives the dish its rich and creamy texture.

Eggs: They help to bind the ricotta and spinach mixture together.

Garlic cloves: Adds a powerful and aromatic flavor to the dish.

Mozzarella cheese: It melts beautifully and adds a deliciously gooey texture.

Salt: To taste, it enhances the overall flavors of the dish.

One reader, Gianna Bess says:

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This spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are so rich and satisfying, and the zucchini adds a lovely lightness. It's a great way to sneak in some extra veggies, and the whole family loved it. Definitely a new favorite in our household!

Gianna Bess

Culinary Techniques for Spinach and Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni

How to preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to prepare baking dish: Prepare a shallow baking dish with half of the pasta sauce and set it aside.

How to slice zucchini: Using a mandolin, slice the zucchini lengthwise to create wide ribbons and set them aside.

How to prepare spinach and ricotta filling: Place the frozen spinach in a large bowl and squeeze out any excess liquid. Mix in the ricotta, eggs, garlic, and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese until all ingredients are well combined. Add salt to taste.

How to assemble zucchini cannelloni: Place two zucchini ribbons on top of each other. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto the smallest end. Roll up to form a cannelloni and place it into the prepared baking dish, with the open end facing up. Repeat with the remaining zucchini and spinach mixture.

How to add sauce and cheese: Pour the remaining sauce over the cannelloni and top with the remaining cheese.

How to bake: Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling, and the zucchini is soft when tested with a fork or toothpick.

How To Make Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni

An amazing low-carb dish that’ll sure to fill you up! A wonderful baked dish of zucchini cannelloni stuffed with tasty spinach and ricotta cheese mixture!

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 2zucchinilarge, washed and unpeeled
  • 14ozcrushed tomatoes(or pasta sauce of choice)
  • 18ozfrozen spinachthawed
  • 18ozRicotta
  • 2eggs
  • 3garlic clovescrushed (or 2 teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • ¾cupmozzarella cheesedivided
  • saltto taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Prepare a shallow baking dish with half of the pasta sauce. Set aside.

  2. Using a mandolin, slice Zucchini lengthwise to create wide ribbons. Set aside.

  3. Place spinach in a large bowl and squeeze out any excess liquid and discard. Mix in the ricotta, eggs, garlic and ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese until all ingredients are well combined. Mix through salt to taste.

  4. Place two zucchini ribbons on top of each other. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto the smallest end. Roll up to form a cannelloni and place into a shallow baking dish, open end facing up. Repeat with remaining zucchini and spinach mixture.

  5. Pour the remaining sauce over the ‘cannelloni,’ and top with remaining cheese.

  6. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling and the zucchini is soft when tested with a fork or toothpick.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 325.85kcal
  • Fat: 21.14g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.69g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.94g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.13g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.93g
  • Fiber: 3.81g
  • Sugar: 5.53g
  • Protein: 22.80g
  • Cholesterol: 125.61mg
  • Sodium: 813.68mg
  • Calcium: 490.90mg
  • Potassium: 978.43mg
  • Iron: 4.07mg
  • Vitamin A: 601.67µg
  • Vitamin C: 42.15mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting Spinach and Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni

When preparing the zucchini ribbons, ensure they are sliced thin enough to roll easily, but not so thin that they tear. Using a mandolin can help achieve uniform thickness. Also, when squeezing out the excess liquid from the spinach, you can use a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth to help remove as much moisture as possible. This prevents the filling from becoming too watery, which could result in a soggy cannelloni.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the filling and sauce in advance and store them in the refrigerator until ready to assemble and bake. This will save time on the day of cooking.

Uniform shape: Use a mandolin to slice the zucchini into consistent, even ribbons for uniform cooking and presentation. This will help streamline the assembly process.

Substitute Ingredients For Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe

  • zucchini - Substitute with eggplant: Eggplant can be used as a delicious and hearty substitute for zucchini in this recipe. It has a similar texture when cooked and will hold the filling well.

  • ricotta - Substitute with cottage cheese: Cottage cheese can be used as a lower-fat alternative to ricotta, and it will still provide a creamy texture to the filling.

  • frozen spinach - Substitute with kale: Kale can be used as a substitute for spinach, providing a similar earthy flavor and texture when cooked.

  • mozzarella cheese - Substitute with provolone cheese: Provolone cheese can be used as a substitute for mozzarella, providing a slightly sharper flavor and good melting properties.

How to Beautifully Present Spinach and Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni

  1. Elevate the plating: Carefully arrange the zucchini cannelloni on the plate, ensuring they are neatly placed and visually appealing.
  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the dish with freshly chopped basil or parsley to add a pop of color and a hint of freshness.
  3. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction: Create a beautiful design on the plate using a balsamic reduction to add a touch of sophistication and depth of flavor.
  4. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan: Grate a small amount of high-quality Parmesan over the cannelloni to enhance the overall flavor profile and provide a luxurious touch.
  5. Serve on a bed of tomato coulis: Present the zucchini cannelloni on a vibrant tomato coulis to elevate the dish and add a burst of flavor to each bite.
  6. Accompany with a side salad: Serve the cannelloni with a side salad dressed in a light vinaigrette to provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Zucchini Cannelloni

  • Mandolin: A mandolin is a slicing tool used to cut vegetables and fruits into thin, uniform slices.
  • Shallow baking dish: A shallow baking dish is used to bake and serve dishes such as casseroles, gratins, and cannelloni.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is used to combine and mix ingredients for various recipes.
  • Baking dish: A baking dish is used to bake a variety of dishes such as casseroles, lasagnas, and cannelloni in the oven.
  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Zucchini Cannelloni

  • To store leftover spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni, allow it to cool completely to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the cannelloni. Wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, or transfer the cooled cannelloni to a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Label the container with the date and contents.

  • When freezing, it's best to freeze the cannelloni before baking. This way, you can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and bake it fresh for the best texture and flavor.

  • If you have already baked the cannelloni, you can still freeze it. However, keep in mind that the zucchini may become slightly softer upon reheating.

  • To reheat frozen cannelloni, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven until heated through, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to allow the cheese to brown and bubble.

  • If you're short on time, you can also reheat the frozen cannelloni directly from the freezer. Cover the baking dish with foil and increase the baking time to 45-60 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

  • Frozen spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni will keep well for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.

How To Reheat Leftover Cannelloni

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. This method helps maintain the texture of the zucchini and prevents the ricotta filling from drying out.

  • For a quicker option, use the microwave. Place the leftover cannelloni on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Check the cannelloni every 30 seconds to ensure it doesn't overheat and become rubbery.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can reheat the cannelloni for a crispy texture. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the leftover cannelloni in the basket. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until heated through and slightly crispy on the outside. This method works best if you have a small portion of leftover cannelloni.

  • For a stovetop option, place the leftover cannelloni in a non-stick pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add a splash of water or tomato sauce to the pan to create steam and prevent the cannelloni from drying out. Heat over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes or until heated through, stirring gently occasionally to ensure even heating.

  • If you want to refresh the flavors of the leftover cannelloni, consider adding some fresh herbs like basil or parsley before reheating. You can also sprinkle some extra mozzarella cheese on top for a melty, gooey finish.

Interesting Trivia About Zucchini Cannelloni

Zucchini cannelloni is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional pasta cannelloni. It's a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet while still enjoying a classic Italian dish.

Is Making Zucchini Cannelloni at Home Cost-Effective?

This spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as zucchini, spinach, and ricotta, are generally affordable and readily available. The addition of eggs, garlic, and mozzarella cheese does not significantly increase the overall cost. This dish offers a delightful combination of flavors and nutrients, making it a great option for a budget-friendly, wholesome meal. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its affordability and nutritional value. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly choice.

Is This Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe Healthy?

This spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional pasta-based cannelloni. Here's why:

  • Zucchini is used instead of pasta, providing a low-carb, nutrient-dense base rich in vitamins A, C, and potassium
  • Spinach is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering numerous health benefits
  • Ricotta cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, essential for muscle and bone health
  • The recipe uses minimal added salt, reducing the risk of excessive sodium intake

However, there are a few aspects that could be improved:

  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of cheese, which can be high in saturated fat and calories. Reducing the cheese quantity or opting for low-fat varieties could make it even healthier.
  • Adding more vegetables to the filling, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, or onions, would increase the fiber content and provide a wider range of nutrients.
  • Using a homemade tomato sauce instead of store-bought crushed tomatoes would allow for better control over the sodium content and the addition of fresh herbs for extra flavor.
  • Incorporating lean ground turkey or chicken into the filling would boost the protein content while keeping the dish low in saturated fat.

Editor's Opinion on This Spinach and Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe

The spinach and ricotta zucchini cannelloni recipe is a delightful and healthy twist on the classic Italian dish. The use of zucchini ribbons as a substitute for traditional pasta adds a light and fresh element to the dish, while the creamy ricotta and spinach filling provides a satisfying and flavorful center. The combination of flavors and textures creates a harmonious balance, making this dish a standout option for a nutritious and delicious meal. The recipe is easy to follow and offers a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet without sacrificing taste. Buon appetito!

Enhance Your Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears roasted to perfection with a crispy garlic parmesan topping.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Sweet and tender carrots glazed with a sticky honey glaze for the perfect balance of sweetness and crunch.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables: A colorful medley of grilled vegetables marinated in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette for a burst of flavor in every bite.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Zucchini Cannelloni

Grilled Vegetable Salad: Create a colorful and flavorful salad using a variety of grilled vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant, tossed with a tangy vinaigrette.
Mango Chicken Curry: Combine tender pieces of chicken with a rich and aromatic curry sauce made with ripe mangoes, coconut milk, and a blend of spices for a delicious and exotic dish.
Berry Chia Seed Pudding: Make a nutritious and satisfying dessert by layering chia seed pudding with a mix of fresh berries, creating a sweet and creamy treat packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Spinach and Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Bruschetta: Elevate the classic bruschetta by topping crispy baguette slices with a refreshing combination of diced tomatoes, basil, and balsamic glaze. This appetizer is a perfect way to start any meal with a burst of fresh flavors.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth after a delicious meal.
Apple Pie: Enjoy a classic apple pie, filled with tender, cinnamon-spiced apples and encased in a flaky, buttery crust. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a comforting and nostalgic dessert.

Why trust this Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a delightful dining experience with its wholesome ingredients. The zucchini and spinach provide a nutritious base, while the creamy ricotta and savory mozzarella cheese add richness. The use of garlic enhances the flavors, and the inclusion of eggs ensures a satisfying texture. The careful layering and baking process results in a mouthwatering dish that is both comforting and satisfying. Trust in the combination of these ingredients to create a delightful and wholesome meal.

Want to share your experience making this Spinach And Ricotta Zucchini Cannelloni Recipe or have any tips to share? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum!
FAQ:
How can I make this recipe vegetarian-friendly?
To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, simply ensure that the cheese you use is vegetarian-friendly and does not contain rennet. You can also substitute the eggs with a vegan egg replacer or omit them altogether, as the ricotta and mozzarella cheese will still bind the filling together.
Can I use fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach?
Yes, you can use fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach. Simply blanch the fresh spinach in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain and chop it finely before mixing it with the ricotta and other ingredients.
Can I prepare the cannelloni in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the cannelloni in advance. Once assembled, cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. This makes it a convenient option for meal prep or entertaining.
How do I know when the zucchini cannelloni is ready to be taken out of the oven?
You'll know the zucchini cannelloni is ready when the cheese is golden and bubbling on top, and the zucchini is soft when tested with a fork or toothpick. This usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I add other vegetables to the filling?
Absolutely! You can customize the filling by adding other vegetables such as sautéed mushrooms, diced bell peppers, or shredded carrots to the spinach and ricotta mixture. Just ensure that any additional vegetables are cooked and well-drained before adding them to the filling to prevent excess moisture.

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