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Spinach Manicotti Recipe – The BEST & EASIEST Manicotti Recipe

This Spinach Manicotti recipe is so easy and so cheesy – the whole family will love it! Prepare ahead meals like this manicotti recipe make great weeknight and any time meals.

Spinach Manicotti on white plate with fork showing a bite of spinach and cheese manicotti

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 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.

cheese and marinara sauce over manicotti noodles in white dish

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!

So if you want to add this stuffed manicotti to your menu, be sure to prep it the day before!

manicotti filling prepared with chopped spinach and ricotta cheese and shredded cheese in clear bowl with wooden spoon

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!

stuffed manicotti shells with ricotta cheese in marinara sauce in white dish

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!

Spinach Manicotti Prepare Ahead Meals on white plate with fork

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!

Spinach Manicotti long image showing prep steps

How to Cook Frozen 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.

  1. Take your pan of frozen prepared manicotti out of the freezer.
  2. If you have plans to cook frozen manicotti, take it out of the freezer and leave in your refrigerator for a day.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

spinach manicotti with cheese and spaghetti sauce on white plate with fork on table

And if you’re looking for a great side to serve with this Spinach Manicotti, check out this amazing Mediterranean Salad.

Spinach Manicotti

Spinach Manicotti Prepare Ahead Meals

Prepare ahead meals like this Spinach Manicotti recipe make great weeknight meals. Prep the meal when you have time and pull it out of the freezer on those busy nights for a delicious family dinner!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine Ricotta, Spinach, 1 cup Mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, Egg, Parsley, Onion Powder, Pepper, and Garlic Powder.
  2. Combine Marinara sauce and water. Spread 1 cup sauce in a 13x9x22 baking dish.
  3. Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with spinach mixture. Arrange over sauce.
  4. Pour remaining sauce over manicotti. Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella & Parmesan. Make sure all manicotti noodles are covered with marinara sauce.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The dish can also be frozen at this step.
  6. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until heated through.

Notes

Double the recipe and freeze one pan of the manicotti to pull out on a busy weeknight!

Julie Wood

Saturday 18th of February 2017

I want to make your Spinach Manicotti! It looks so delicious and fun to make. I love Newman's Own sauce. It tastes so good!

Amber Ludwig

Friday 17th of February 2017

Yummo!! One of my favorites!! I love the idea of prepping ahead of time!! Makes home cooked meals during a busy week so much more attainable!

Deborah Dumm

Friday 17th of February 2017

I love manicotti and I am sure I will love your version as well.

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