Pesto Veggie Manicotti

Pasta night just got a healthy vegetarian twist with crazy delicious Pesto Veggie Manicotti!

Pesto Veggie Manicotti

This delish recipe has been in our family for ages, so it’s only fitting that I finally measure it out and type it up for you here. Yay!

There’s almost always a batch in my freezer at all times and my go-to when friends or family need a hearty vegetarian meal. Hopefully you’ll love it as much as we do!

special diets and swaps

T-Rex chefs, feel free to add ground turkey to the dish – it’s a delicious addition and frequently requested by my husband.  Simply brown the meat with your favorite Italian seasonings [parsley, oregano, basil, etc…] and a little garlic/onion powder to taste.  Mix into your cheesy veggie filling and you’re good to go!

No manicotti noodles? No problem! Simply boil up some lasagna noodles, spread them with the filling, and roll ’em up! The results are easy and delicious!

Feel free to use homemade or store bought pesto here. I love the one Buitoni makes and even have a few fun pesto recipes on ze blog. You can even make it with Kale Pesto!

update:

Hookay sooo… tried this with some sauteed mushrooms and it was INSANELY GOOD! Get on that. stat… and save me a piece while you’re at it! This filling also makes ridiculously amazing stuffed shells + stuffed spaghetti squash too!

Pesto Veggie Manicotti

Pesto Veggie Manicotti
5 from 8 votes
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Pesto Veggie Manicotti

Pasta night just got a healthy twist with crazy delicious Pesto Veggie Manicotti!

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pesto Veggie Manicotti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 431 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons

Ingredients

  • 8 oz box of manicotti noodles (one box)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots and/or zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan/romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2-1 cup mozzarella cheese for topping (add as much as you want!)
  • season to taste with black pepper, salt, parsley, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder.
  • 16 oz fire roasted marinara sauce [see post for recipe] or your favorite red sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Gently boil shells for approx. 11 min or until tender/al dente.

  3. Drain and arrange cooked noodles in a glass baking dish with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom.
  4. Fun fact: if you roll the noodles in the red sauce it will help prevent them from sticking/wilting! Dice and sauté, onions and garlic together with shredded carrots and 1/2 tsp of olive oil.
  5. In a large bowl, fold ricotta, parm/romano cheeses, pesto, and torn spinach together with all your herbs and spices. Season to taste.

  6. Next, add your veggies to the mix.
  7. You are free to use your fingers, but putting the stuffing in a bag with a hole cut in the corner and squeezing is muuuch easier! Stuff the noodles gently and pour a generous pile of sauce on top.
  8. Top with sliced or grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese [use as much as you'd like!] and bake for approx. 20-30 minutes at 350 F. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

A little Italian blend seasoning in the filing is an amazing if you have any handy! Mushrooms (chopped and sautéed) are also an excellent addition.

Nutrition Facts below are an estimate from an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Veggie Manicotti
Amount Per Serving
Calories 431 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 903mg 38%
Potassium 593mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 38g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 5g
Protein 23g 46%
Vitamin A 83%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 45.5%
Iron 13.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Vegetarian Pesto Veggie Manicotti

BONUS! Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe:

  • Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

ingredients

  • 28 oz can diced/crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2-4 oz of tomato paste (controls the thickness)
  • 1/2  tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1-2 tsp dried parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

instructions

In a blender or food processor, add tomatoes and blend for just a few seconds, until tomatoes look more crushed than diced.  Pour tomatoes into your crockpot, season, and walk away!  Set crockpot to low if you’ll be leaving the house and high if you’ll be around the house.  No crock pot? Simply add to a sauce pot and cook at low to medium-low on the stove-top.  Super easy!

so. . .  how was it?!

Face-stuffing good! I typically use jarred sauces for my pasta dishes but using my homemade fire-roasted sauce and a lil punch of pesto totally took it to the next level! I’m beyond ready for dinnertime now because its time for leftovers! Yay!

Pesto Veggie Manicotti

If you get a chance to try this vegetarian pesto veggie manicotti, let me know! Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation! I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

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Comments

  • Allison


    This is the type of meal my family loves. We like it extra cheesy – SO good!

    • So glad your family loves it Allison – thanks!

  • Shadi Hasanzadenemati


    This looks so delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Presleydiva


    Made this for dinner tonight! Thank you for this AWESOME recipes (I made the sauce and cheese mixture)! Can’t wait to heat this up and dig in! Lovely!!

    • eeee thanks! <3 Glad they were a hit!!! Hope you’re having a rockin’ weekend!

  • Rebecca Stone

    Looks amazing!

  • I’m dancing in my chair right now because these look SO good!

  • My kids would love this. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  • Looks delicious.  Baby spinach and pesto I love it.

  • Rebecca M


    Delicious!!!

  • Kiri W.


    Ooooh, that looks beyond amazing! I love manicotti, and pesto takes these to the next level. Yummy!

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.

    I love pesto and manicotti! I would be all over this!

  • Yum this looks amazing! I do love me some veggies…yum yum yum!

  • Spsalon54

    Looks so healthy…going to make it for dinner tonight my family loves pasta!

  • Maerucker

    Sounds great! Cannot wait to try!

  • Ashley@PeaceLoveYumminess

    MMMM! I love this and seems pretty easy too! You can never go wrong with pasta and cheese lol and i LOVE pesto i make it all the time!

  • The Housewife


    Making these right now — with tofu instead of ricotta {husband’s preference}. Excited to see how they taste! Thanks for the recipe!! We love pesto and had some that needed to be used — perfect!

    • LOVE the tofu swap! Pretty and plant-based – perfecto!

  • Jaclyn


    I made this last night for dinner.  I did add some crumbled Italian sausage to the cheese & veggies.  SO GOOD.  We have already added it in to our favorite recipes book!!!

    • Thanks Jaclyn!!!!! <3 I’m so stoked to hear you loved it! =) Comments like this are like a gold star for me! love love love it

  • BklynHeart

    This looks so good, I can’t wait to try this out!

  • Hesper Ponds Hubert


    I made it! I’m not a cook at all… and it took me probably way longer than it needed to prep-wise since I had to read the directions like forty times to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as yours, but it was delicious!

    These posts are going to make being a vegetarian SO easy! Thank you!

  • ahhhh yay! I’m so so so glad you liked it!!! Thanks for popping back in to let me know what you thought! That means the absolute world to me!!! =)

    I’ll keep the veggie entrees coming! Promise! <3

  • Kissmybroccoli

    Oh my gosh! Seriously girl…that first picture is making me drool all over myself! I haven’t had manicotti in YEARS!! Love the addition of the pesto too. I never would have thought to use it! Now let’s just see if I can bring Guido the basil plant back to life and make some of these babies! 😀

  • meg @ pinkgiggles

    Oh my this looks amazing. I just ate breakfast…and was feeling quite full…but after seeing this picture my tummy is ready for something more!

  • Face-stuffing is a great description.  It looks that good!

  • I’m so so so glad I can help! I’m honored that you find my recipes inspiring
    and if there is ever anything you want me to make or a certain ingredient
    you’d like a new use for — totally let me know! =) Thanks for the sweet
    note and fabulous shout out Brittany! <3

  • michaela

    Holy Canole! These look amazeballs (: I’m a total pasta girl!! YUM!

  • Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit

    omg it’s pasta day today! I just left Evan’s blog 2 seconds ago and he had a delicious looking manicotti recipe, but made with eggplant. Mmm I want Italian food for dinner!!

  • Jenny Houlahan

    HOLY YUM! Is what I have to say about that! 

    Clearly it’s been entirely too long since I’ve had manicotti 😀

  • Sam

    me and B will be flying in for leftovers. thank you.

  • Veganaphrodite

    Stunning pictures, and yummi-sounding recipe 😀

  • lisa @ Healthful Sense

    Beautiful and delicious pictures!!  Love the fire-roasted sauce 😀

  • Alexa @ SimpleEats

    This. looks. awesome. Your fire-roasted sauce and pesto combination sounds wonderful! 

  • Oh Jenn…everything you make is just so gosh darn delicious!! I looove me some manicotti! Especially manicotti made with HOMEMADE sauce! And you know I adore pesto…Those baked mozzarella sticks have become a staple in my diet!

  • Errign

    Yum.  Ricotta cheese is one of my very favorite things, and I love lasagna/stuffed shells/rollatini because of it.  You can make “ricotta” out of tofu too, though I’ve never tried it.  I might sometime, just because 🙂  Happy Tuesday!

  • Erin Shipe

    Giiiiirrrrrl. These pictures are drool worthy. I am definitely going to have to make these when I get home!!:)

  • YUUUUUUUM! You’re the best Jenn!!!!! Bookmarking this!

    And yes I read thru your Q &A comments…they made me smile 😀 

  • Helennaturally

    Wow that looks so good.  I wonder if I can find Manicotti in brown rice pasta 🙂

  • Hey there! I just wanted to let you know that i’ve linked to this post on my blog today. If there are any issues please do let me know! Thank you!

  • wow that looks amazing! never seen that pasta before. 

  • I’m pretty sure that this looks like the best dinner ever!  This is totally going on my grocery list (or at least the ingredients are)!

  • Mikalah

    YUM! I’ve been wanting to find a good manicotti recipe for a while, this looks amazing! And I am a sucker for anything with pesto in it these days. =)

  • Danielle

    This looks fantastic!  I’ve been craving stuffed pasta for a while now and this is the perfect way to add some veggies to it.  Love it!

  • This looks so good Jenn, I have bookmarked the recipe!

  • Dishnutrish

    I’m so glad you posted this! Manicotti is my BF’s favorite meal and I have been looking for the perfect recipe to try! 🙂

  • Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    looks great! i’m craving pesto right now (prior to your post) but this has only made the craving larger. in a good way 🙂

  • Oof  This looks too good!
     I’m going to have to sub some brown rice pasta but I feel like it will still be one delicious dish 😀

  • Maria

    I love the Brontosaurus and T-Rex references. Made me think at first, then I smiled 🙂

    Saving this one!

  • Katy

    It seems like the switch from jarred tomato sauce to fresh tomato sauce is a hot blog topic today.  I’m feeling inspired – there is pasta (probably this one) in my near future!

  • Alyssa

    damn you, Jenn. you always manage to make me want to throw my dinner out the window and drive to your house.

    come make this for meeee?

  • Your recipes kill me!! That looks so unbelievably good. I am a sucker for any kind of pasta

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes

    amazing photo’s and recipe girl 🙂 I wanna make the T-Rex and Brontosaurus version haha!

  • Wow, this looks wonderful! I want to try this with a tofu ricotta – yum!

  • Yummmm, I love ricotta cheese! I love the addition of pesto. I think it makes everything taste better!

  • Oh this looks so fantastic. Come cook for me, please? I’m a big fan of home cooked Italian, but I’ve been feeling too lazy to prep the meals myself lately, and as a result they’ve been missing from my life for far too long. I’ll cook my famous dessert oats for breakfast if you make these for dinner 😀

  • This looks like heaven!! Me thinks I’ll be pinning this recipe right now 🙂

  • I love the pesto addition!  That’s one I never remember to add but always love the pop it gives food.  Especially eggs… mmmm… why am I already thinking about breakfast?!

  • Ashleykrieger

    confession: i’ve never had manicotti! but this looks amazzzzeeeballs!

  • THat looks ridicously amazing! Get in my belly!

  • I am absolutely going to make this.  It looks ah-mazing!!!  Your pictures are gorgeous!

  • Megan @ MackeyMadness

    I absolutely LOVE manicotti!!!! YUMMMMMMM!!!! These pictures look amazing!!

  • this looks awesome – not only the recipe but the PHOTOS! they are stunning, girl! definite YESes, they have to be! XXO!

  • thats awesome. face stuffing good is what I need right now, hehe.

  • Ooh this looks good! Stuffed pastas are always so messy, but soooo worth it in the end.

  • Wow!  This looks incredible.  This page is totally bookmarked!!

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