Pesto Veggie Manicotti

 Pasta night just got a healthy twist! Try this uber-delicious Pesto Veggie Manicotti today!

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

Pesto Veggie Manicotti

Pesto Veggie Manicotti




Yield 4 -6


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


  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  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.
  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
  9. Enjoy!

special diets and swaps

  • To veganize, skip the dairy and stuff shells with grilled veggies
  • 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!

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! =)

  • Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

BONUS! Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe

  • 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

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!

This filling also makes ridiculously amazing stuffed shells + stuffed squash too!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

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


This looks amazing!! Both recipes 😉 oh, and the photos, too!

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

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

lindsay cotter

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

Katelyn Block


Kristina @ spabettie

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

Megan @ MackeyMadness

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


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

Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat)

THat looks ridicously amazing! Get in my belly!


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?


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


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!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

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?!

Sara K

Yummmm! That looks delicious, I love anything with pesto and cheeeeese oozin’ out the sides

Andrea @ Vegvacious

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

Amanda @ .running with spoons.

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 😀

Kate (What Kate is Cooking)

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


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

Lauren @ What Lauren Likes

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

Chelsea Elizabeth

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

Yosefa R. Huber

Boy that looks good!  Can you tell me where to get it at a take-out joint near me?


Uhh YUM!! I’ve just finished my breakfast but I’m seriously in the mood for this right now!haha!


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

Saving this one!

Brittany @ Ittybitsofbalance

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 😀

Corey @ Learning Patience

That looks great — and I just made my homemade pesto last week — think I might try this out tomorrow!!  Great idea!


Gahh your recipes continuously impress me, and the pictures are gorgeous 🙂 Thank you for posting this!

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 🙂


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! 🙂


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


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!

Erin Shipe

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


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. =)

(what runs) Lori

Beautiful photo!!! Seriously, it’s a beautiful dish! Looks damn good too.


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)!


wow is all i have to say. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm


wow that looks amazing! never seen that pasta before. 

Persnickety Hall

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

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Haha you just missed them! In my belly now =) Fly over for a fresh batch!


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

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

Brittany Arnold

I want it!!! So tasty. And yes, mother-in-laws will do that. Having a baby challenged me in the kitchen. I made baby food and some good stuff but my little one was quickly over it and wanted what we were having- therefore, I have to  make things good for the whole family. Thanks to these recipes- I get some help! xo
brittany @


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!

Sara @ Nourish and Flourish

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!

Alexa @ SimpleEats

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

lisa @ Healthful Sense

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


Stunning pictures, and yummi-sounding recipe 😀


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

Jenny Mendez

Oh wow this looks amazing! That pasta sauce has me drooling 🙂 

Jenny Houlahan

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

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

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!!


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

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Haha they’re running both our diets then! =) I can’t stop making them!
Thanks so much girl! you always make me smile =) Can’t wait for your WIAW
tomorrow! eee!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Score! You’ll love it!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

pesto is so hot right now 😉

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

I heard that! I wonder if it would please my cheese-seeking palate? hehe

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

I bet your homemade pesto will totally take it to the next level! Yum!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

awww yay thanks! =)


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

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!

Redo 101

Hi, thanks for sharing your recipe at Strut Your Stuff Thursday – today I’m visiting the links with recipes to add to my food options for my family. Your manicotti looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.


Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Hold the phone! Pesto in eggs!?!?! really? it rocks?


Jennnnnn this looks soooo good! Must stuff in face!


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! 😀

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!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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


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


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!!!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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

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!


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!


Sounds great! Cannot wait to try!


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


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

Rebecca M


Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.

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

Kiri W.

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


Looks delicious.  Baby spinach and pesto I love it.

Priscilla M

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


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

Rebecca Stone

Looks amazing!


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!!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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