Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni


Who doesn’t like pasta? And when it’s got a melting spinach and ricotta filling and a chunky tomato sauce on top AND it’s easy to make it seems even more lovely. The recipe can easily be altered but i find  it easiest to make a batch and freeze any leftovers for another day. The lentils in the tomato sauce just add a hit of protein for us vegetarians, but aren’t strictly necessary and can be omitted.


Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

16 lasagne sheets (fresh if possible, but if not dried)

rapeseed oil

a good chunk of parmesan for grating


1 red onion, finely chopped

1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped

500g spinach, washed and roughly chopped

500g ricotta cheese

Grated nutmeg

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat a large frying pan and cook the onion gently in the rapeseed oil until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then turn up the heat and cook the spinach quickly for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Stir through the ricotta cheese and a really good grating of nutmeg. Season and set aside to cool.


Chunky tomato sauce:

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, finely chopped
400g tin tomatoes
2 tsp light muscovado sugar

300ml vegetable stock

(50g red lentils – optional)

Sweat the onion, celery and garlic in a large saucepan with the lid slightly ajar until softened but not coloured – stir occasionally and if sticking, add a splash of water.

Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar, stock and red lentils and stir well. Bring to the boil then simmer until the lentils are cooked – about 15-20 mins. If the sauce is really thick it may be necessary to add a little more vegetable stock.

If you like a really smooth sauce, whizz it in a blender, but I prefer it chunky.



Cannelloni tubes are available, but they are really fiddly to fill. I find using dried lasagne sheets works just as well if you soak the pasta sheets in boiling water as follows:

Fill a large flat Pyrex dish with boiling water and place the lasagne sheets in, moving them around to prevent them sticking. Soak for 3-5 minutes until pliable, then lift out, spread out and dry on a flat, clean tea towel. The sheets can then be easily rolled and used in place of cannelloni tubes.


To assemble:

Place a dessert spoonful of the ricotta mix on the end of each pasta sheet, then roll and arrange in an oven proof dish. Pour over the tomato sauce and add a generous layer of grated parmesan on the top. Bake at 200c for 25-30 mins. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.