Tofu, No It Doesn't Suck (Tofu Spinach Manicotti)

So it occurred to me recently that I really don’t know that many vegetarian main course dishes. To be fair, I know a lot of soups, salads and roasted vegetable varieties (or, at least I eat a lot of roasted vegetables). But when you take all those away I realize that I have a rather slim repertoire.

Time for change. Time for something new, something inventive. And by new and inventive, I mean new and inventive for me. Tofu and I don’t really get along that well. To be honest, I’ve never had much luck with the stuff. It always struck me as something created to mollify wistful former carnivores who haven’t quite been able to let go. Psh. When prepared properly, fruits and vegetables (with the occasional accompaniment of grains or legumes) offer a myriad of flavorful meals to enjoy. But hey, gotta keep an open mind. Try new things. Expand horizons.

Tofu Spinach Filling

This is a pretty classic tofu dish. I scoured the web for a handful of vegetarian recipes and let them flow into me as inspiration (deep, huh?). It is from this very zen moment that I was able to craft today’s recipe: Tofu Spinach Manicotti. No applause, please.

The dish was good. Not knock-my-socks-off great, but definitely something I’ll do again. Next time I’ll sweat or saute the bell pepper and perhaps add some onion into the mix as well. I’m a saucy guy, so if you’re not as big on tomato sauce, cut back on the amount.

Tofu Spinach Manicotti

Got a tofu dish you’re proud of? E-mail me and I’ll be sure to try it out.

Tofu Spinach Manicotti
5 ounces firm tofu
3 ounces chopped spinach; thawed
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
1/3 cup mozzarella and a sprinkling on the side (part skim for me)
1 clove garlic; minced
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups tomato sauce; approximately
7 manicotti shells

If making tomato sauce from scratch, make it first. Set aside and let it cool. Boil the manicotti as directed on the packaging. Drain and set aside. Toss with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.

Filling and Baking:
Crumble or chop the tofu into small pieces (think cottage cheese). Combine with the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, garlic bell pepper and salt. Poor about a cup and a half of the tomato sauce into a 9″x13″ baking pan. Stuff the manicotti noodles with the filling and line in the pan. Cover the noodles with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with some additional mozzarella. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

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