Homemade manicotti is made with homemade crepes that are filled with creamy and rich ricotta cheese, vegetables then topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
This is a hearty vegetarian dish that both carnivores and vegetarians will just love.
Homemade manicotti with homemade crepes is the best tasting manicotti ever. If you have ever made it at home, you know that it takes time, so why not make the best version that you can?
Not to mention, those pre-made pasta tubes aren’t all that easy to fill with cheese.
I usually make up double batch of this and freeze it. Manicotti re-heats easily and it’s perfect to grab for a busy weeknight. This is also a great dish to serve to guests,make it ahead of time, and pop it in the oven when your guests arrive.
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What You Will Need
- Flour – I use a mix of whole wheat and white flour, you can use just white or whole wheat
- Olive oil or butter for the crepes, plus olive oil for cooking the crepes
- Milk or Water for the crepe batter – it’s up to you. I personally think the milk adds more flavor to the crepes.
- Ricotta cheese – whole milk or part skim will work
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh baby spinach – If fresh spinach is not available use frozen chopped spinach that has been heated and drained
- Mushrooms – We like baby bella or white mushrooms for this recipe
- Red bell pepper
- your favorite marinara sauce.
Here is How to Make Stuffed Manicotti
This recipe is worth the time it takes to make. The crepes are so light and you will feel delightfully full and not weighed down after eating these.
Total Estimated Time Needed to Make this Recipe is 90 to 110 Minutes
First make the manicotti crepes
- Whisk the eggs and milk or water together
- Stir in the flour and melted butter or olive oil
- Refrigerate the batter until it thickens
While the crepe batter is in the refrigerator, make the filling
- Cook the mushrooms, onions, garlic and peppers
- Cook the baby spinach briefly in a sauté pan until it wilts and drain it
- Add the spinach to the bowl with the vegetables and sprinkle with nutmeg
- Mix together the eggs, ricotta and Parmesan and then combine with the vegetable filling
Cook the Manicotti Crepes
- Heat a skillet or crepe pan over medium heat and coat it with olive oil
- swirl portions of batter around the pan to cover the bottom of the pan and cook for about 1 minute and flip cook one minute more
- Stack the cooked crepes on a plate
Fill the Crepes
- Fill each crepe with the cheese and vegetable filling and roll them up.
- Place the filled crepes into a baking dish, pour on the sauce and bake them.
- Just before serving add the mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese melts.
Tips For Making the Best Homemade Crepes
- Make sure the pan is coated generously with oil to avoid sticking, you may have to add more as you cook all of the crepes.
- As the crepes complete cooking, stack them on a plate separated with parchment or waxed paper to keep them from sticking together.
- Leave the vegetables out and use only cheese, or add 1/4 pound of ground beef or Italian sausage to the cheese mixture
- Change up the vegetables, and use diced and sauteed zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and red pepper
- Replace the ricotta cheese with cottage cheese
- Use Bolognese Sauce in place of marinara sauce
Make Ahead Tips
- Make the crepes ahead of time – stack them up, and cover them tightly and store in fridge for up to 2 days or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and stuff them with your favorite filing.
- Make the filling ahead of time – You can store it in the fridge for a day
- Meal planning tip – Freeze un-baked manicotti for another day. Assemble the manicotti in an oven proof casserole, cover and place in the freezer. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in refrigerator overnight. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Freeze left-over baked manicotti – Store it in an oven proof container with a cover in the freezer. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. When it’s time to eat, cover the manicotti and place it in a 350 oven and cook until it’s heated through.