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Very Veggie Cheesy Manicotti

Nathan Congleton
Cook Time:
40 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins

Chef notes

My favorite dish that my mom made when I was a kid was her manicotti so this recipe feels very nostalgic to me.

Technique tip: I like to fill a resealable plastic bag with the ricotta filling, snip off the end with scissors and pipe the filling into the shells. It’s much easier and less messy than trying to spoon it into the shells.  

Swap option: You can add browned ground meat to the sauce or swap out the veggies for your other family favorites, like spinach or broccoli. You can also swap the tomato sauce step for store bought. 


Special equipment: A food processor will help if you're making your own sauce. This dish is also best served up in a classic casserole dish.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 manicotti shells
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, finely diced
  • One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Tomato Sauce
  • One 28-ounces can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper



 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with oil or cooking spray.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook 3 minutes less than the package instructions.  


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and yellow squash, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash softens but is not mushy, about 4 minutes.


Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and let cool.


 Add the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the cooled vegetables. Stir to combine.


 Transfer the filling mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Snip a large hole out of one corner of the bag with scissors and use the bag to pipe the mixture into the cooked manicotti shells.


If making tomato sauce, in a food processor pulse the tomatoes with their juices until they are coarsely ground or chop the tomatoes by hand. Transfer them to a bowl, add the salt and pepper, then stir in the basil. Alternatively, use a store-bought option. 


Spread about 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Place the manicotti shells into the baking dish. Spread the remaining sauce over the manicotti. Top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.