"I’m always optimistic about the amount of spinach I’m going to get through, meaning that I’m often left with a sad bag of it lurking at the back of the fridge. This is a great way to use it up, as well as any leftover bread that’s going stale. I’ve realised just how versatile tofu is during lockdown, and it’s featured in many a dish that I’ve cooked – from tofu scramble to tiramisu! It’s the star of the show again here, and I genuinely don’t think anyone will miss the cheese in this vegan adaptation of this delicious Italian classic." - Sophie Whitehead
Preheat oven to 200°c.
Finely chop the onion and 4 cloves of garlic.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat for around five minutes, until softened.
Add the chopped tomatoes and red wine vinegar and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 15 minutes. You want the sauce to have thickened but still be quite liquid, as this is what will cook the pasta when baking later.
While the tomato sauce is simmering, prepare the cannelloni filling. Firstly, you’ll need to wilt the spinach.
Finely chop the rest of the remaining garlic, and put half of this to one side.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the spinach, the other half of the garlic, and 25g pine nuts. Sautee on a high heat for a minute or two to ensure all of the excess water has been removed from the spinach. Add nutmeg and a generous amount of pepper.
When your tomato sauce has finished simmering, season to taste and add the roughly chopped basil. Use half of this to coat the bottom of a roasting tin.
Next, fill your cannelloni tubes with the tofu and spinach mix. Lay these on top of the tomato base.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the cannelloni, and bake this in the oven for 30 minutes.
While this is baking, combine the bread, thyme, vegan cheese if using, and the rest of the garlic and pine nuts in a blender. Season, then blitz.
Add this to the top of the pasta dish, lightly drizzle with olive oil, and roast for another 10 minutes, until the crumbs are golden.
Place this in a colander and pour boiling water over the top. Leave to cool, then squeeze to ensure the juices have run out. Roughly chop.
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