Cannelloni is a typical Italian dish, which can be made with minced beef, cheese and/or vegetables. Cannelloni is typically made with a cylindrical type of pasta or with fresh lasagne sheets that are rolled over around the filling. Cannelloni is typically sitting on tomato sauce and sometimes either tomato or béchamel sauce is used on the top of the dish. Most of the time, cheese is sprinkled on its top and then the dish is baked so that the flavours mingle and the topping turns brown and slightly crispy.
There is little to know about the origins of cannelloni. Probably it originates from the 19th or early 20th Century and it is associated with the name of Nicola Federico, an Italian chef. It is thought that he created the cannelloniin a small restaurant in Naples. From the little restaurant, the cannelloni spread all over the world. It became very popular; so much that probably most Italian restaurants offer it on their menu.
I often make cannelloni based on the below vegetarian recipe that I found on BBC Good Food. It is very healthy and nutritious as it uses spinach and tofu for filling. The dish is sitting on a bed of tomato sauce and tomato sauce is used on its top, too. Instead of cheese, nuts and breadcrumbs are used to achieve the crispy finish.
The dish contains ample amount of vitamins and nutrients. Thanks to the spinach, vitamin K, A, B2, B6, E, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper and calcium are included in the dish, amongst other nutrients. The tofu mostly contributes calcium, manganese, copper, selenium and protein and also includes other minerals and vitamins to a lesser extent. Nuts and the ample amount of tomato sauce used in this dish provide additional valuable nutritional content.
This spinach & tofu cannelloni serves 4 people. Serve it with steamed or stir-fried French beans, broccoli or okra or mix them all up for a lovely side dish. Try it today and enjoy both the health benefits and the lovely taste of this dish!
50 grams of pine nuts or walnuts (roughly chopped)
400 gram bag of frozen spinach (defrosted)
350 gram pack of silken tofu
300 gram pack of fresh lasagne sheets
4 tablespoons of fresh breadcrumbs
Salt (according to taste)
Pepper (according to taste)
Basil or oregano or Italian mixed herbs (according to taste)
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Sweat the onion in half of the oil in a saucepan. Add one-third of the garlic and fry until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and basil / oregano / Italian mixed herbs. Bring the sauce to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius.
Heat half the oil in a saucepan and fry one-third of the garlic for 1 minute. Add half the pine nuts / walnuts and the spinach. Wilt the spinach and tip out the excess liquid.
Whizz tofu in a food processor until smooth. Add it to the spinach & nut mixture. Add the nutmeg and some pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Pour half of the tomato sauce into a 20 cm x 30 cm ovenproof dish. Divide the spinach, nut & tofu mixture between the lasagne sheets. Roll the lasagne sheets up and lay them on top of the tomato sauce in the ovenproof dish.
Pour half of the tomato sauce over the lasagne sheets, cover with aluminium foil and bake the dish for 30 minutes.
Mix breadcrumbs with one-third of the garlic and half of the pine nuts / walnuts. Sprinkle this mixture over the dish, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 10 minutes uncovered until the crumbs and nuts are golden.
Cold pasta salads can offer really good solution for light and quick lunches, picnics or even for parties. As they are served cold, they can be pre-prepared, which is a huge advantage in a number of scenarios.
I often make this pasta salad not only because of practical considerations. My husband simply loves it! I love it too not only because it is so easy to prepare but because it is full of fresh and tasty vegetables. The goat’s cheese or feta gives it a bit of a “binding” agent while the pine nuts or walnuts make it slightly crunchy. I normally serve it with a simple egg sandwich or with rustic bread with pesto, guacamole or hummus spread.
The recipe originates from the BBC Food website but I made minor changes to it. Ever since I found it, this dish has been an essential part of my household. Everyone who tasted it so far, instantly fell in love with it. So, don’t hesitate to try it and impress your family and friends with it.
300 gram pasta (preferably durum penne, farfalle or fusilli)
250 gram cherry tomatoes (quartered)
100 gram black olives (stoned and sliced)
225 gram baby spinach leaves
1 bunch of fresh basil (alternatively 1 tablespoon of dried basil flakes can be used)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
200 gram goat’s cheese (crumbled) or feta cheese (squared)
2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts or walnuts (if walnuts are used, chop them roughly)
Salt according to taste
Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water. Set aside to cool.
In a large salad bowl, add the quartered cherry tomatoes and sprinkle them with the salt. Add the olives and the baby spinach leaves. Sprinkle the mixture with the olive oil and the juice of the lemon. Add the crumbled goat’s cheese and mix well. Add the cold pasta to the salad mixture and mix gently but thoroughly.
Sprinkle the salad with the toasted pine nuts or walnuts.
Serve immediately. Alternatively, you can keep it for a few days in the fridge in a sealed container.
Serve it with sandwiches, eggs, spreads and the success of this quick meal will be guaranteed. Offer some old-fashioned lemonade, lemon water or ginger beer with it and the meal will be complete & unforgettable.
I love delicious food that also has history. The Waldorf Salad is a prime example of such a dish. It is associated with the famous Waldorf Hotel (the precursor of the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel) in New York City, where it was first created sometime between 1893 and 1897.
The Waldorf Salad is known to be first made by Oscar Tschirky, who was the head waiter of the Waldorf Hotel at that time. Mr Tschirky was known about his culinary creativity. He never worked as a chef, but he developed many of the hotel’s signature dishes. His cook book entitled “The Cook Book” contains the original recipe, which was fine tuned later, when it appeared in “The Rector Cook Book” in 1928.
The traditional Waldorf Salad contains fresh apples, celery and walnuts and it is served on a bed of lettuce. It is often served with mayonnaise. Sometimes chicken, turkey, grapes and dried fruit appear in the salad’s contemporary versions. Healthier interpretations tend to use a yoghurt-based sauce instead of the mayo.
The vegetarian version that I like to prepare is based on the traditional recipe, but it contains chickpeas for a bit of protein boost. I tend to use a yoghurt-based sauce and I normally serve it with baby spinach leaves instead of lettuce.
120 ml plain full-fat yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1 teaspoon of mustard, preferably Dijon type
1 teaspoon of honey or agave nectar
Salt according to taste (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
Freshly ground black pepper according to taste (approximately 1/4 teaspoon)
400 gram can of chickpeas (drained)
2 ribs of celery (finely chopped)
1 apple (chopped into small pieces)
1 medium-sized bunch of red grapes (cut the grapes into halves)
1 medium-sized red onion (diced into small pieces)
1 bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
100 grams of walnuts (roughly chopped)
1 bunch of fresh baby spinach leaves
Chop up the celery, apple, red onion, grapes, parsley and walnuts and combine them with the chickpeas in a large salad bowl.
Add the spinach leaves and combine with the salad mixture.
Prepare the dressing by combining the yoghurt, mustard, honey, salt and pepper and mix the ingredients well.
Stir in the dressing gently but thoroughly.
Refrigerate the salad for half an hour before serving.
The salad is perfect as a light meal. Alternatively, it can be offered as a side dish with more substantial oven-baked meals, pastas or risottos.
I am a big fan of Italian flavours and I believe that there is nothing better than an easy pasta dish for a light, weekday dinner. I often browse recipes on the website of “Forks over Knives”, where I have recently come across this pasta dish. When I prepared it for the first time, it was an instant hit for us. It has fresh, spring-like qualities and it is an incredibly well-balanced dish, in my view. The vegetables just work perfectly well in its sauce and the dish is simply very delicious.
When I looked at the recipe more closely, I discovered that it was developed by Ella Woodward, the author of the popular food blog “Deliciously Ella”. She deserves full credit for this marvellous spaghetti. Nevertheless, I made some minor modifications to the original recipe due to the fact that some ingredients are not always available in the area where I live.
Let’s see how to make this marvellous mediterranean spaghetti with my minor changes.
1 packet of durum pasta
1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into small pieces
2 plum tomatoes, deseeded and sliced into eights (if plum tomatoes are not available, other types can be used)
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
Juice of 1 lime
1 large or 2 smaller aubergines, sliced into small rounds and then quarters (alternatively use 1 zucchini, as per the original recipe)
1 bunch of spinach
Handful of olives (use deseeded and sliced ones if possible)
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Salt according to taste
2 tablespoons of Italian or French dried herbs
Pepper according to taste
200 ml water
Boil the pasta, according to packet instructions. Once it is ready, set aside.
Put the sliced aubergines in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and olive oil. Set aside.
Put the peppers, tomatoes, salt and dried herbs into a saucepan. Add the water to the saucepan and simmer the vegetables slowly. In case the vegetables start to brown, add more water and stir gently. Slowly cook for a few minutes.
Once the vegetables wilted, add the tomato purée and the juice of the lime.
Cook the vegetables for a few more minutes and let it slowly combine to form the sauce.
Once the sauce is ready, add the cherry tomatoes, aubergine slices (or zucchini slices) and the spinach leaves. Cook gently until the ingredients mix well.
Add the olives and additional dried herbs according to taste.
Combine the sauce with the pasta and mix well. Cook for a further a few minutes as the pasta will need to be heated.
This pasta dish is perfect on its own. If you prefer, you may serve it with parmesan.