Vegan Mushroom-Ricotta Cannelloni

Since we retired from teaching last year, most of our days up here at Sideways Cottage are pretty much perfect, but some days are more perfect than others.

Today was one of those perfect days.

We awoke to softly falling snow that had been falling all night and continued to fall all day.

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Most people on the West Coast are pretty sick of snow, but this is only our second real snowfall on this side of the island this year, so it’s still a treat. We were very cozy in front of the wood stove for most of the day, but decided to venture out for a hike through the woods to the lake this afternoon, and I was cursing myself for forgetting my camera because the landscape was stunning.

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Oh, and a hike that normally takes only an hour, took two hours!!

After watching me make sushi this morning, James seemed intent on having something–ahem–tubular for dinner. Likely he feels a bit hard done by that he was not on the receiving end of my apparently tubular lunch, not because I didn’t offer, but because he doesn’t actually like sushi.

Keep in mind that James has “food suggestibility” (think George Costanza): he looks a the moon and thinks of pizza.

In any event, he suggested cannelloni (which is definitely tubular) and, since I’ve been dying to try another recipe with my vegan ricotta, I was excited to give it a try!

So here we go!

Vegan Mushroom-Ricotta Cannelloni

First, get some of this marinara going!

Next, make the ricotta!

Mushroom-Tofu Ricotta:

Place in food processor and run until the seeds are in tiny bits:

  • 1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves

Next, add the following and mix until smooth:

  • 1 pkg. firm tofu (squeeze as much water out as you can beforehand)

Turn the above into a bowl and mix in well–use your hands!:

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan (see below–you’ll be using this as a topping as well!)

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Next, saute..

  • 1.5 TBS chopped garlic
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 3 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Add to the ricotta mixture and stir well. Taste and adjust with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Next, take some fresh pasta sheets and cut them in half. Soften them in warm water, dry them off, and place a nice chunk of the ricotta mixture in the middle. You want to make sure the pasta sheet doesn’t overlap–the ends should just meet when you roll the cannelloni.

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Put a little bit of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish, arrange the cannelloni (seam down) in the pan, and cover with the marinara sauce.

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Sprinkle with the vegan parmesan…

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And bake at 375 degrees for twenty-five minutes. Cover with foil for the first fifteen minutes and remove for the last ten.

Vegan Parmesan

(very slightly adapted from Thug Kitchen 101):

Throw the following into the Vitamix:

  • 2 tsp sea salt (Thug calls for only 1/2 tsp, but it ain’t enough)
  • 1 cup almonds (eh, I used whole–not blanched–almonds, which improves the colour!)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup chickpea/fava flour (you can use any kind of flour, but I used this to get more beans into my food!).
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

The recipe also makes a ton. I put it in a sprinkly-type container and use it constantly.

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Serve with a Caesar salad and some freshly made bread.

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This is DEFINITELY a recipe I would serve to guests! It’s absolutely delicious and I don’t even think carnivores would be able to tell that it’s vegan!

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And I’ve been listening to The Decemberists Radio on Google Play Music all afternoon as I cooked. Normally, I like to make my own playlists, but Google Play has great “radio” playlists. In addition to The Decemberists, this playlist includes all my favourites–M. Ward, Deathcab, The Postal Service, Wilco, Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens–but my favourite of the day was Rilo Kiley’s “A Better Son/Daughter,” which I haven’t listened to in ages.

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