There’s only thing I like better than a healthy, easy dinner, and that’s a healthy, quick, simple dinner I can make ahead of time. That way, when dinner times rolls around, all I have to do is preheat the oven and bake, and this Cannelloni Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Cheese in one of my favorite make ahead meals.
Since I have a small family (my two little girls aren’t exactly big eaters), I like to make a whole batch of this, and freeze it in two separate, 8-inch square stoneware dishes. I bake them directly out of the freezer, covered with foil. I extend the baking time for an additional 20 minutes, baking covered. Then I bake it for an additional 10 minutes without the foil.
I make a homemade simple tomato sauce for this Cannelloni Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Cheese, but to make it even easier, you could use your favorite prepared sauce.
My kids love spinach and mushrooms, but you could use any vegetables. It’s actually the perfect dish to sneak in a variety of vegetables because the cannelloni is smothered in cheese. I often like to add red bell peppers and zucchini as well as the spinach and mushrooms.
I would say that the most difficult part of the dish is boiling the pasta. Since you have to boil the pasta sheets and then separate them, it can be a bit difficult not to rip them. My solution is two part – 1: Place a table spoon of olive oil in the pasta water while it boils. 2: Boil a few extra sheets because some will inevitably rip.
This Cannelloni Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Cheese is one of my all-time favorite make ahead meals. It’s so satisfying, hearty, and delicious. But the best part is that you can throw it in the oven on a busy afternoon, and it’s a full meal ready by dinner time!
- For the Filling:
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1½ cups ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1tbs fresh basil, chopped fine
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the Sauce
- 3 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbs coarse chopped basil leaves
- ¼ tsp granulated sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the Pasta
- 1 box, no-bake lasagna sheets
- 1 tbs olive oil
- For the Topping
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- For the filling, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Then add the garlic, and cook for about a minute, Then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until nice and golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add all the spinach, and allow it to wilt.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Set aside while assembling the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese, egg, vegetable mixture, oregano, nutmeg, and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
- For the sauce, add the olive oil in a large stock pot. Heat on medium high.
- Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomatoes, basil, sugar, and salt and pepper.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes, until thick.
- While the sauce simmers, boil the pasta.
- In a large stock pot, boil salted water. Add the olive oil to the water. Cook pasta for about 3 minutes.
- Remove pasta from the water. Place each pasta sheet on a cooling rack.
- To assemble the pasta, spread about ½ a cup of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Taking one sheet of pasta at a time, on the short of the sheet, place 3 tbs of filling topped with 1 tbs of sauce. Roll the pasta sheet up.
- Place the cannelloni in the baking sheet, seam side down. Continue to fill the rest of the pasta sheets.
- Top the pasta with the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Cover with a piece of foil and bake for 30 min.
- Remove the foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned.
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