This Spinach Manicotti recipe is so easy and so cheesy – the whole family will love it! When you prepare this manicotti recipe ahead of time, you don’t have to boil the pasta noodles – making it a great weeknight or any time meal!
You know those nights that you are just so tired, so pressed for time, and just don’t feel like cooking a big family dinner?
Those nights were made for prepare ahead meals. Sure, you have to plan ahead and do the preparation on a different day, but your prep day can be one when you’re not pressed for time.
It’s so tempting on those busy weeknights to just head out and pick up something that you’ll regret feeding your family the next day. So, don’t do that – make this spinach manicotti recipe instead!
Instead, make a plan… and in your plan should be this Spinach Manicotti recipe, trust me.
But first, I know what you’re thinking – what is manicotti?
Manicotti pasta is simply a hollowed out shell type of pasta. Instead of shell shaped pasta, uncooked manicotti shells remind me of a cannoli shaped pasta. And the name literally means “sleeve” in Italian. Because of it’s size and shape, it’s easy to make stuffed manicotti dishes.
Prepping this manicotti dish ahead of time means you have a healthy dinner ready for your family any time because it can be prepared and ready to bake on those busy nights.
It’s actually one of those prepare ahead meals that actually needs to be prepped ahead because you’re relying on the sauce to soften the manicotti noodles. That’s right – no need to boil these noodles! This is a stuff it and bake it EASY recipe – you know I like easy recipes!
What happens if you want spinach manicotti and didn’t plan ahead?
It’s ok if you’re like me and having a craving for spinach manicotti. You’ll simply want to boil your noodles before stuffing them. This doesn’t change the recipe at all, just makes for 1 extra step in the assembling process.
That also makes it a great option for a manicotti freezer meal because after you prep, you can simply put it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. Or do like me and double the recipe so you have one to eat now and one to keep in the freezer!
While this recipe does take some prep time, it really is an easy manicotti recipe! You literally mix all the ingredients together and stuff your manicotti shells, topping with the marinara sauce of your choice. You could make homemade marinara, or buy jars from the store. I do the latter just to make it easier on myself.
And the fact that you don’t have to boil your manicotti pasta before baking makes this a WINNER of a recipe! It’s a great one to make when you have people over as dinner guests because it tastes amazing and always looks great, right out of the oven – the colors are even more vibrant after baking the manicotti!
While my girls often turn up their noses at anything green [what happened to their willingness to eat veggies?!] they don’t even notice the spinach in this dish because… pasta, cheese, and bright red marinara sauce! And that red and green make this baked manicotti a great option during the holidays!
I prefer to stuff my manicotti with a mixture of ricotta and spinach, found in this recipe, there are so many variations you could do with it. Other additions you could add to your manicotti recipe:
- Meats like: Italian Sausage, Shredded Chicken, or even Turkey
- Chopped Vegetables: Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers, or even Grated Zucchini
- Speciality Cheeses: Asiago, Provolone, and I love using Boursin Cheese!
- Even changing up the sauce you use can make a big difference in flavor of this manicotti recipe
In fact, if you try something different in your noodles, please come back and leave a comment and tell me so I can try it too!
I love a delicious pasta dish that doesn’t require cooking the noodles and this is one of those kinds of dishes.
This is one of my favorite recipes because it can literally be prepped when I have extra time and then frozen for later – or the next day, whenever I need it! It’s so great to know that I can pull it out of the freezer on those busy nights for a delicious family dinner!
How to Cook Frozen Spinach Manicotti:
If you choose to freeze a pan of the manicotti, you’ll definitely thank yourself later! It’s so easy and honestly may taste BETTER because it’s been marinating together for a longer time.
- Take your pan of frozen prepared manicotti out of the freezer.
- If you have plans to cook frozen manicotti, take it out of the freezer and leave in your refrigerator for a day.
- If you didn’t plan, it’s ok! Just remove the frozen manicotti dish out of the freezer and leave on your counter to thaw for a couple of hours before baking.
- Bake just as the below recipe calls – 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
You’ll prepare the manicotti to be frozen in the same way you prepare it to eat the next day. Simply follow the manicotti recipe below.
And if you’re looking for a great side to serve with this Spinach Manicotti, check out this amazing Mediterranean Salad.
- 15oz Ricotta Cheese
- 10oz pkg Frozen, Chopped Spinach [thawed & squeezed dry]
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese [divided]
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese [divided]
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp minced parsley [+ a bit more for garnish]
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 jars marinara pasta sauce
- 1 package Manicotti Shells
- In a large bowl, combine Ricotta, Spinach, 1 cup Mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, Egg, Parsley, Onion Powder, Pepper, and Garlic Powder.
- Combine Marinara sauce and water. Spread 1 cup sauce in a 13x9x22 baking dish.
- Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with spinach mixture. Arrange over sauce.
- Pour remaining sauce over manicotti. Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella & Parmesan. Make sure all manicotti noodles are covered with marinara sauce.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight. The dish can also be frozen at this step.
- Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until heated through.
Double the recipe and freeze one pan of the manicotti to pull out on a busy weeknight!