Friday Foodspiration: Vegetable Manicotti {gluten & dairy free}


Lasagna, manicotti, and baked ziti have been long time favorites of mine. But, two things required for each of these dishes are noodles and cheese. Plus, they tend to be very high in calories and carbohydrates with not a whole lot of nutrient density.

This is where all of that changes!

When I found dairy free Ricotta by Kit Hill at my grocery store I was inspired to try one of my old favorites with a few healthy swaps. Zucchini for noodles, dairy free cheese, and the addition of spinach to boost the veggie count.

The key to not having a pile of mush that your family won’t eat is to cut the zucchini, sprinkle it with salt, and allow it to sit between paper towels to pull out the liquid. You may be surprised how much water comes out of a zucchini. It may seem labor intensive, but this part can be done several days in advance.

Here are all the details on gluten and dairy free Vegetable Manicotti . . .


  • 2 large Zucchini

  • 2 cups Spinach

  • 1 Egg

  • 1 cup Dairy Free Ricotta (I use Kite Hill brand)

  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt, plus additional for zucchini

  • Pinch Nutmeg

  • 1 cup Marinara Sauce, no sugar added

  • 1 1/2 cup Dairy Free Mozzarella, divided (I use So Delicious brand)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices with a mandolin, sprinkle with sea salt, place between two papers towels to absorb liquid and set aside.

  3. Prepare spinach by sauteing in a pan until wilted. You can chop the spinach before adding to the ricotta but I prefer pureeing it in the blender for a smoother filling.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, spinach, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.

  5. In a 8×8-inch baking dish, spoon just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Take a slice of zucchini and place a spoonful of ricotta on one end and roll it up. Place the zucchini in the baking dish. Continue with all zucchini slices or until you run out of filling.

  6. Pour remaining tomato sauce over the top of zucchini and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese on top is melted (I moved the dish under the broiler for the last few minutes so my dairy free cheese would be brown and bubbly like regular mozzarella.)

You could of course make this dish with regular ricotta cheese and mozzarella if you are not dairy free. I made one pan of each for my family.

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