Spinach Ricotta and Hearty Beef Manicotti, Greens with Anchovy Vinaigrette, and Garlic Bread

Spinach Ricotta and Hearty Beef Manicotti, Greens with Anchovy Vinaigrette, and Garlic Bread 3.80/5 (10 votes)

Our family loves pasta and for years I would make stuffed jumbo shells. But recently I've had a tough time finding them at our local grocery stores. And, I refuse to haul around town in search of one item, so I succumbed to using manicotti, which seems to always be available. The reason I mention the jumbo shells is because if you can find them, I would recommend them over the manicotti. They are much simpler to stuff and don’t tear as easily. Either way, you’ll need two boxes because the stuffing makes a quite a bit. You can halve it and just use one box; but I figure if I’m going to stuff shells I may as well do twice as many and freeze them for another night. Enjoy. This is a great meal.  

Hearty Beef and Spinach Manicotti



  • 16 oz manicotti tubes
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 28 oz pasta sauce
  • Spinach Ricotta
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • Beef Mixture
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook shells according to package and drain. Run cool water over them to cool to touch.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine Spinach Ricotta ingredients.
  4. Brown ground beef, drain, and place in a separate bowl.
  5. Add remaining beef ingredients to the bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Stuff cheese mixture into half of the manicotti tubes and meat mixture into other half. Be gentle so the tubes don’t tear. But, if they do, just place the torn side down in the dish.
  7. Arrange the stuffed manicotti in a 9x13 inch baking dish. (Or, you could use two smaller dishes and freeze one before cooking for another night.)
  8. Pour pasta sauce evenly over manicotti, making sure the pasta is covered.
  9. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese over top.
  10. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese browns slightly.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size 376g (2 manicotti) Calories 747 Fat 20 Sat Fat 10 Sodium 627 Carbs 91 Sugars 1 Fiber 4 Protein 51.

Mixed Greens with Anchovy Vinaigrette



  • 4 cups baby mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon shallot, minced


  1. Combine vinaigrette with blender stick or small food processor. If you don’t have either of these, shake or whisk.
  2. Drizzle vinaigrette over greens and top with parmesan and onion.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size 83g Calories 97 Fat 9 Sat Fat 2 Sodium 124 Carbs 2 Sugars 1 Fiber 1 Protein 2.

Garlic Bread



  • 4 slices French bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt butter with the garlic in the microwave.
  3. Brush one side of each slice of bread.
  4. Place on the top rack of the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until warm and slightly browned.


KID NOTE: The kids preferred the meat stuffed over the cheese stuffed. Instead of a salad I served carrot sticks.

VEGETARIAN TIP: Replace the meat with chopped mushrooms.

GLUTEN MODIFICATIONS: Use brown rice lasagna noodles. Spread mixture on 3/4 of the noodle and roll toward the uncovered end. Place seam side down and continue as directed. (And skip the garlic bread.)


  1. kdvrk says:

    It was a little dry for our taste, and we had this a weekend meal as it took a while to stuff the noodles.

  2. kgiles says:

    Delicious! My family loved this meal!

  3. Tara says:

    If you freeze for later, do you stop after #9 to freeze, or,leave the sauce and cheese for later? What do you recommend?

    • sstabenow says:

      I usually cook the whole thing and thaw in the refrigerator, cover with foil, and then heat in a 325 oven for about 20 minutes.

  4. afrancis says:

    We enjoyed the spinach and ricotta filled manicotti! The beef manicotti was dry and not nearly as flavorful. If I made this again, I would make the beef into meatballs instead.

  5. agnieszka1221 says:

    These were very good. I made the mushrooms instead of the beef after reading the reviews and it was perfect. 1 box of manicotti tubes sufficed, so now I have an extra box to make this next time! I think this dish fed about 7 people!

  6. sozaca52505 says:

    Do you cook the mushrooms at all before using them?

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