Manicotti Stuffed With Cashew Ricotta and Spinach

recipe by John Fothergill

  • 1.5 cup soaked cashew
  • Lemon juice of 1 large lemon
  • S&P
  • 1.5 TBSP nutritional yeast

The Rest

  • EVOO
  • 2 bunch spinach
  • Parsley, basil, dill
  • Manicotti shells
  • Mushrooms
  • Splash white wine
  • Strained tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Vegan cheddar style cheese


  1. Soak 1.5 cup cashew for approximately 3 hrs.
  2. Dice a bunch of shallots and garlic.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F and boil large pot of water (add salt once boiling).
  4. Saute 2 bunches of spinach (washed and stems removed) then set aside in a colander to remove excess water.
  5. Saute some shallot in EVOO till translucent then add garlic. Continue sauteing until shallots are slightly browned. Season with S&P. Add to mixing bowl for stuffing.
  6. Rough chop spinach then add to stuffing mixing bowl.
  7. Half cook approximately 10 Manicotti shells (approximately 7 minutes) in the boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  8. Zest a lemon. Set zest aside to use for mushrooms.
  9. Make the cashew ricotta by blending the cashews with juice from a large lemon and 1.5 tbsp of nutritional yeast. Season with S&P. Blend until creamy in texture adding cashew soaking water as needed.
  10. Add ricotta to stuffing mixing bowl. Combine.
  11. Saute shallots and garlic (as in step 5) then add 1 jar or 2 cans of strained tomatoes (no skins and no seeds). Simmer on low.
  12. Fine chop some dill and tear some basil. Add to tomato sauce.
  13. Coat bottom of large glass baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce.
  14. Stuff the cooled manicotti shells with stuffing mixture. Arrange each in the baking dish. Try not to squeeze them together.
  15. Stir sauce then cover Manicotti with it. If you totally cover pasta it won’t dry out when baking. Grate some cheddar style vegan cheese over Manicotti. Bake for 30mins.
  16. Rough chop a bunch of mushrooms of your choice and some parsley. Saute shallots and garlic as in step 5. Add mushrooms. Deglaze with white wine. Add some parsley saving some as garnish. Cook down.
  17. Remove cooked Manicotti from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
  18. Serve Manicotti on warmed plates. Top manicotti with mushrooms. Circle Manicotti with warmed EVOO. Garnish with remaining parsley.


Why go vegan?

  • Animal agriculture results in the suffering of over 100 billion animals each year.
  • Animal agriculture is the 2nd leading cause of climate change.
  • Animal agriculture is the cause for 90% of rainforest deforestation.
  • Animal agriculture is the cause of 75% of antibiotic resistance.
  • Animal agriculture is the cause of at least 50% of heart disease and diabetes cases.
  • Animal agriculture is the cause of at least 50% of most cancers.
  • Animal agriculture uses at least 50% of our water reserves.
  • Animal agriculture runoff is the leading source of water pollution and causes the majority of ocean dead zones.

Lamb Bolgonese

Bolgonese: known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. (Wikipedia)

This lamb bolgonese recipe is easy to make if you have time for a bit of prep work.  It requires a few simple ingredients to create a mouth watering dish in the end.  The key to this dish is to not over complicate things by adding too many ingredients.


1/4 cup pancetta – finely chopped
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1-2 large carrot – finely diced
1-2 ribs of celery – finely diced
1 yellow onion – finely diced or you can use 2 shallots and 1/2 a yellow onion if you want to mix it up a bit
2-3 cloves of garlic – finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary – finely chopped
a bit of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
a pound of ground lamb
1 cup red wine

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and fry the pancetta until it turns brown.  Add in the carrot, celery and onion and season with salt and pepper.  Allow enough time for the vegetables to sweat, approximately 5-10 mins.  Stir in the garlic and fry for another 1-2 mins.  Add in the lamb and fry until brown.  Stir in the tomato paste and add the cup of red wine.  Stir the mixture and reduce the sauce over low to medium heat.  You want to aim for a dry sauce (ie. little liquid left).

While the sauce is reducing, cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package (spaghetti or tagliatelle pasta works well with this sauce).  Once the sauce is reduced and the pasta is cooked, toss to combine.  You can garnish it with Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Enjoy!

Simple Yet Tasty Spaghetti Sauce

San Marzano Tomatoesa variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best paste tomatoes in the world. (Wikipedia)

San Marzano tomato

San Marzano tomato

The key to a delicious spaghetti sauce is keeping it simple and using the correct type of tomatoes.  I’ve tried different types of tomatoes but the best tomatoes I recommend are san marzano tomatoes.  These types of tomatoes have thinner skins versus other tomatoes with thicker flesh and fewer seeds.  On it’s own these tomatoes have a stronger taste, sweeter and less acidic, perfect basis for a spaghetti sauce.


2 thin slices of pancetta (if you want a vegetarian version feel free to omit this as it will still be tasty)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
fresh parmesean
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil leaves

Chop the pancetta into small pieces and fry over medium to high heat.  While it is cooking, mince the garlic.  Add it to the pan without draining any of the fat.  If you feel there is too much fat or want a healthier version by all means, drain the fat prior to adding the garlic or skip completely as it will still taste good.  Stir the mixture approximately 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the San Marzano tomatoes including the liquid being careful not to splatter yourself.  Mash the tomatoes in the pan and cook the sauce over medium to high heat until the sauce is reduced by two thirds – you want to aim for a dry sauce.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Cook spaghetti noodles according to the package (unless you feel motivated to make fresh pasta) and toss with the sauce.  Plate the spaghetti, sprinkle shredded Parmesan over the dish and slices of fresh mozzarella.  Add torn basil leaves for garnish.  If you want to kick it up a notch, drizzle a bit of basil oil over the dish and enjoy.

Spaghetti With Garlic And Peppadew Peppers

Peppadew: is the brand name of sweet piquanté peppers (a cultivar of Capsicum baccatum) grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa. (Wikipedia)

If you’re pressed for time, this is the perfect pasta to cook for your family that’s full of flavor and quick to make.  The addition of peppadew peppers in the pasta adds both a sweetness and mild heat to the pasta.  You can find peppadew peppers in your deli section or in a jar within the condiments section.

Spaghetti with garlic and peppadew

Spaghetti with garlic and peppadew peppers

2-3 cloves of garlic
1 large shallot
4-5 peppadew peppers (depending on how much heat you want)
chili flakes
parmesan reggiano
fresh basil

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box or make your own pasta to take this dish to another level.  While the pasta is cooking, mince the garlic, finely chop the shallots and roughly chop the peppadew peppers.  Once the pasta is cooked toss it with the garlic, shallots, peppadew peppers and a pinch of chili flakes.  Plate the pasta and top with shredded parmesan reggiano and torn basil leaves.

Fresh Pasta

pasta [ˈpästə]: A dish originally from Italy consisting of dough made from durum wheat and water, extruded or stamped into various shapes (Wikipedia)

I love fresh pasta. I could almost eat it everyday. I enjoy making fresh pasta from scratch as there are only 2 ingredients required instead of ones you can’t pronounce and it takes less time to cook. A downside is that it does take a bit of work.

Marcaro Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker

Marcaro Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker

If the idea of making fresh pasta sounds daunting to you, don’t let it.  I highly recommend investing in a pasta machine like the one I have – the Marcaro Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker. The recipe is easy to follow, like I said just 2 ingredients, and the machine is foolproof.

Fresh Pasta

500 g soft wheat flour
5 eggs

That’s it! To start, be sure to let the eggs come to room temperature.  Measure the flour into a mixing bowl, sifting it if you have to.  Create a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs.  Mix with a fork until blended. Continue by kneading the flour with your hands until homogeneous. If you find the dough is dry and crumbling, add a bit of water. If the dough is sticking to your fingers, add a bit more flour. The perfect dough is one that stays together but doesn’t stick to your fingers. The more intensive work is now complete and you’re ready to use the machine.  When using the machine, don’t despair if you find the dough breaking apart or sticking. You can always add a bit more water or keep a bowl of flour beside your work station should you find the dough too sticky. Another trick when first starting out is to start with small bundles of dough  and if you find your sheet of dough too large to handle, cut it in half. As the machine comes with its own easy to follow instructions I’ll leave you at this part to make your own delicious creation.

Pasta & Lamb

Rosemary Lamb With Mint Sauce and Homemade Pesto Pasta