Sunday, March 11, 2012

Greens and Pea Manicotti

When elder daughter came home from university that first summer, she surprised me with the news that she had become a vegetarian.  But I guess I really wasn't that surprised since I knew that her new best friends were mostly vegetarian and that sort of thing rubs off on a person.  So when her little sister followed in her footsteps, not just to the same school, but into vegetarianism, no surprise at all there.  Frankly, I think it's a great thing - I'm not ready to go there yet, but I fully support their choice.  When they are home, we eat a lot less meat because there are so many tasty meatless meals and it is easier to cook just one dinner each night.  The other day, while I was wasting time researching recipes on the internet, I came across what sounded like a rich, satisfying vegetarian dish and I couldn't wait to give it a try.  I had to make a few changes because of what I have available here but it was very tasty.  I hope to make this again for my girls, someday soon.  Providence, here I come!

For the filling:
3 oz or 85g goat cheese
4 1/2 oz or 125g fresh ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
5 oz or 140g raw greens of your choice (spinach, kale, silver beets, etc.)
6 oz or 180g frozen peas, thawed
1 large clove garlic
1 whole egg
Zest of one lemon
Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 oz or 225g freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup or 60ml whipping cream
Sea salt
Black pepper

For assembly:
1 1/2 cups or 240ml tomato sauce – store bought will work if you have a favorite or make this sauce, from my eggplant parmigiana recipe.   It freezes very nicely so the extra will come in handy for future meals.
10 6-inch or 12cm crêpes (recipe here)
1 oz or 55g freshly grated Parmesan

Clean your greens thoroughly and remove any thick stems.  Rinse them at least three times.   

These are silver beet greens.

Yes, I know the package says pre-washed.  It’s lying to you.  Just like when I told my mother I had vacuumed but I really just ran the vacuum cleaner around to make the lines on the shag carpet without turning it on.  (Fact: It’s much easier to move when it’s not sucking.) 

Steam the greens for several minutes.

Then put the lid on!

Remove and cool by immersing in some cool water.  Spin them dry in a salad spinner or a dry tea towel.  If they still feel too wet, give them a squeeze with your two hands.

Thoroughly squeezed.

Using a fork, break your goat cheese and ricotta up into small crumbles.  Chop your clove of garlic.

Add the greens, peas and garlic to your food processor and pulse.  If you hear a clank, clank, clank at this point, realize that your peas are still frozen.

Pour the whole mess into a microwaveable bowl and thaw properly this time.  Jeez.  Okay, try again.  You are looking for a rough mixture that still has lumps and bumps.

Now add the lemon zest and Parmesan to your other cheeses.

In a bowl big enough for thorough stirring, add the cheese mixture to the greens and pea mixture.  Sprinkle on your salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir.  Taste it and add more salt, if necessary.

 Now add the egg and stir again. 

Add the cream and stir again.  Your filling is ready and just needs to hang out for a while in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to develop.   

Time to get on with the tomato sauce and the crêpes.  By the time you have those two done, the filling should be ready to use.  Follow these two recipes here and here.  Make double the crêpe recipe and you can easily half the tomato sauce.   Or make the full batch and freeze some.  Go ahead, get on with them.  We’ll wait here.

Just twiddling while we wait.

Okay, so, when you are ready to fill your crêpes and bake, preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Spray a little Pam in your baking dish or drizzle in a little olive oil and rub it around.  Cover the bottom of your pan with about a 1/2 cup or 120ml of your tomato sauce.

Put about a 1/4 cup or 60ml of filling on the top crêpe and spread it along the middle.  Fold one side over and then the other side. 

Lay it in the pan, ends side down.  Continue filling the crêpes until all the filling is gone.  Extra crêpes can be wrapped in cling film and frozen.

Top the manicotti with another cup or 240ml of tomato sauce and then a good sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the sauce and cheese are bubbling.  Serve with a side green salad.


Adapted from this recipe here.  I love her writing.  She's funny and she has great recipes so go check her out.  Here's my favorite post!


  1. You are really doing a good job with this recipe posting thing!

  2. Thanks, Cynthia! I am having a lot of fun with it.


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