Vegan Tofu Manicotti Recipe

Vegetarians and vegans can still enjoy creamy and delicious Italian food. While the traditional Italian manicotti features large pasta tubes stuffed with cheese and meat, this vegan version adds a fresh twist with homemade tofu ricotta that rivals the real thing. We're using a combination of spices, an easy homemade marinara, and some fresh basil to top it off. 

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for vegan tofu manicotti and says, "Tofu has become a staple ingredient for me as I focus on plant-based eating. There are so many health benefits and because it is very neutral in taste, you can transform it into delicious recipes with the use of seasonings." This is one of those recipes that can be made ahead and baked right before serving, which is perfect for dinner parties, potlucks, and holidays. Get ready to make your new favorite Italian dish.

Gather the ingredients for vegan tofu manicotti

To make this recipe, you'll need some extra firm tofu, garlic, lemon, and fresh basil from the produce department. "You can also use firm tofu for this recipe, but I don't like using super firm here because we want the tofu to resemble soft ricotta cheese," Hahn explains. Then we'll need canned whole tomatoes, oil, and manicotti shells. Check your spice cabinet for oregano, coarse salt (Himalayan works well), dried basil, garlic granules or powder, thyme, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast. To finish things off this recipe calls for some dairy-free mozzarella.

Press the tofu and make the ricotta

Our tofu is going to transform into ricotta cheese, so to start that process we need to first remove the excess water in the tofu. If you have a tofu press you can use that to press out the water, but no worries if you don't. Just place the tofu into a shallow bowl and place a flat plate on top of it. Then place something heavy on top of the plate, and let it sit for 15 minutes. The excess water will collect in the shallow bowl. Once pressed, add the tofu to a food processor with nutritional yeast, oregano, salt, garlic powder, lemon juice, and oil. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Make the sauce

There's nothing like fresh homemade marinara sauce. Let's chop the garlic, so it's ready to go. Then put the canned tomatoes into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the remaining oil to a large pot and drop in the garlic. "Stir the garlic for three minutes on medium-high heat making sure it doesn't burn," Hahn explains. Add the blended tomatoes, basil, thyme, bay leaves, red chile flakes, and the remaining oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast. "Once this reaches a low boil, cover it and lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes. "We want to avoid letting the sauce reach a rapid boil because it may burn and affect the final taste," Hahn shares. Yes, your household will know Italian food is coming.

Stuff the shells

Preheat the oven to 350 F and get the manicotti shells cooking. While they're cooking, combine half of the dairy-free mozzarella with the tofu ricotta mixture and pour about ½ cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. When the shells are done, stuff each one with some of the ricotta mixture. "You can do this with a small spoon, or you can fill a Ziploc bag with the mixture, snip off a corner and squeeze in the filling," Hahn explains. As you fill the manicotti shells, place them into the prepared pan. Then top with about 1 ½ cups of sauce and the remaining cheese.

Bake and serve

Now we're ready to bake the manicotti. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. "When it comes out of the oven you'll want to let it cool before cutting into it so that the shells and stuffing hold together nicely," Hahn shares. Top with fresh basil, the extra sauce, and serve. The manicotti pairs well with a simple salad and crusty bread. Leftovers will last for up to four days if kept in a sealed container in the fridge and can be warmed up in the oven or microwave. 

Vegan Tofu Manicotti Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Using dairy-free mozzarella, this vegan tofu manicotti recipe is a creamy and hearty take on an Italian classic.
Prep Time
Cook Time
manicotti on tan plate
Total time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
  • 1 (16-ounce) package extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
  • 2 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, divided
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules (or powder)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 box manicotti shells
  • 1 cup dairy-free mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  1. Press the tofu (using either tofu press or by placing it in a shallow bowl, placing a flat plate on top of the tofu, then placing something heavy on top of the plate). Let the tofu sit for 15 minutes and collect excess water in the shallow bowl.
  2. Blend the pressed tofu in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt, the garlic powder, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of oil until smooth and set aside.
  3. Chop the garlic and put in a large pot with a tablespoon of oil. Cook for three minutes on medium high, stirring constantly.
  4. Blend canned tomatoes in a blender until smooth and add them along with basil, thyme, bay leaves, red chile flakes and the remaining oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast to the pot.
  5. Once it reaches a low boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F and cook the manicotti noodles in separate pot.
  7. Add half of the dairy-free mozzarella to the tofu mixture and stuff the cooked manicotti shells.
  8. Pour about ½ cup of the sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  9. Place the stuffed manicotti shells into the prepared baking dish.
  10. Top with about 1 cup of the marinara sauce and the remaining cheese.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes. Top with fresh basil, and serve with the extra sauce.
Calories per Serving 642
Total Fat 24.0 g
Saturated Fat 8.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 38.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 73.5 g
Dietary Fiber 11.7 g
Total Sugars 9.9 g
Sodium 1,125.4 mg
Protein 38.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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