Italian dishes like cannelloni are a great way to try out some light and intense flavors, the main one being the cheese which can add thickness with the tubes or sheets you use, but here is where it gets interesting as there are many ways you can fill it.
Even if these don’t sound like traditional varieties, you can get a lot of balance and go for different textures, but how do you know what works and what doesn’t?
That is why we’re here to show you how versatile this recipe is and have provided sixteen of the best cannelloni recipes that are too delicious to ignore.
This is the cannelloni that is known and loved for its sweet ricotta and mild spinach, which can add a lot of herby tones to the recipe, and here You can also use zucchini in this recipe if spinach doesn’t sound appealing.
You can add shredded cheese, parmesan, nutmeg, garlic, and egg for the perfect bind that, when served, goes a long way, and the sauces on it spread the flavor in layers, so you’ll get bursts of taste in every forkful.
This recipe is the ultimate comfort food as it uses fresh lasagne sheets, beef mince, garlic cloves, celery, a bay leaf, chopped tomatoes, whole milk, and black pepper, and this is before you add the bechamel sauce, which makes this recipe creamier.
You can blanch the pasta sheets in salted boiling water and then use them with iced water, so each sheet holds its shape and is easier to spoon the mixture in, so you can make into rolls and prepare them for baking, where it becomes nice and bubbly.
If you want something a bit lighter and still has that iconic ricotta flavor, this is a great way to use some butternut pumpkin which you don’t have to wait for the colder seasons to find, and with some toasted pine nuts and some parmesan, you’ve got the perfect cannelloni.
You can use cannelloni tubes for this process, which may be easier to work with as you can use a piping bag to fill each tube so you can avoid mess while getting a good spread, and while it cooks, you can see how it turns a golden brown color.
For this, you can prepare some mixed chargrilled veggies that you could get from a tin or make a batch yourself, and here is where you can experiment and use different types, as long as you don’t use too many heavy ones like broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage.
You can prepare some tomato passata, which is like a thick sauce that you can lay on your dish as a base which is absorbed nicely by the cannelloni tubes.
If you want a savory and earthy kind of cannelloni, this one is worth looking into as you can use swiss brown mushrooms and some lean pork mince that blinds with the herbs, and here, you could add some oregano or cumin if you want a bit of a flavor kick.
You can use some red wine and tomato paste while heating the pork, and here you can unlock more flavors that you didn’t think were possible, so you can try this out and get a delightful result.
You can get a creamy cannelloni without the meat and complex textures by following this recipe which may sound quite simple but allows you to use different kinds of mushrooms so that you could stick with button, or you could try cutting up a portobello mushroom.
For the bechamel, which is the best part, you can add high-quality butter, nutmeg, saffron powder, salt, and some flour which is where the thick consistency comes from and makes a richer taste.
This works well because you have chicken breasts seasoned with garlic, basil, and nutmeg, which gives you more of a profile that becomes more distinct the more you season it, and that’s before we turn to the tomato sauce.
For the sauce, you can expect minced garlic, ripe tomatoes, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and some chili flakes for good measure.
You want cannelloni that follows the traditional recipe and doesn’t deviate too far from this. If so, you can still get a lot from this recipe as you can prepare your own filling that you can mix in with cheeses like parmesan or goat’s cheese for the perfect ensemble.
Suppose you want a hearty cannelloni that warms you up fast in the colder evenings. This one is perfect as you have ground veal, ground pork, and chicken thighs for a heavier consistency balanced by the veggies and the creamy tomato bechamel.
For this, you can use some tomato paste that works well with the cinnamon, garlic powder, and dried oregano which all give you a natural kind of mix.
10. Vegan Cannelloni
This recipe uses tofu ricotta and some help from baby spinach and oregano, so you have a dish that is just as tasty and fulfilling as the meat-based kind, which is a relief when looking for vegan alternatives.
The cheese sauce is made with olive oil, nutritional yeast flakes, soy milk, onion powder, garlic powder, and some dijon mustard to kick things up a notch and give your tastebuds something to relish.
Suppose you prefer the flavors of seafood, this one. In that case, you can use scallops, raw prawns, and fish fillets, which are boned and chopped for a cocktail that can bring some interesting results, and that’s before you include the chopped tomatoes, basil, button mushrooms, peppercorns, and some dry white wine, which all make an excellent pairing.
You can cut the seafood so it’s small enough to fit into each tube, or you could go down the traditional route and use sheets that you can spread and roll to your liking.
If you thought regular cannelloni wasn’t enough, you could try this recipe that uses cottage cheese and parmesan, which, when baked together, gives you a crunchy and savory flavor that works really well in this recipe.
You can mix the spinach with these cheeses and the garlic, pepper, and red pepper flakes, so you can have a bit of tanginess to it without this being too overwhelming.
Cannelloni doesn’t just have to be for the main course, as these sweet treats are evidence of, so you can use golden caster sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, dry marsala, dark chocolate pistachios, and icing sugar, so this has to be made to be fully appreciated.
Suppose you want something that resembles bolognese but has more of a flavor kick. In that case, you can add carrots, celery sticks, ground beef, Italian seasoning, oregano, dried chili flakes, tomato puree, vegetable stock, and some heavy cream for something that tastes more Italian.
If you’re looking for a low-fat cheese option for your cannelloni, you can use goat’s cheese as one of your main ingredients, and you could add some low-fat cottage cheese if you want a creamier recipe that isn’t as fattening.
If you’re mad about cheese, you can also add fresh mozzarella and parmesan, which all make up for the absence of savory meat ingredients.
16. Tuna Cannelloni
We finish with a simple tuna cannelloni that takes under an hour and thirty minutes, and all of your ingredients sit nicely in a baking dish, and here you can use fresh ripened tomatoes or ones from a can, which depends on the time you have to prepare them.
This is a great recipe that you can customize with different cheeses. You can use oregano and some garlic to raise the recipe’s taste without the tuna becoming the dominant feature.
With these ideas, you can have a cannelloni recipe that is both authentic to the original while having a few tweaks that make all the preparation worth it.
You also have deep flavors that go all the way through and leave you and your guests satisfied after every bite, so you have a lot of potential to make some fun and interesting recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
When looking at cannelloni, you can use manicotti, which is like the pre-prepared rolls you can use with any of the above recipes.
You may have heard this pasta has recipes of its own, but these are similar to cannelloni, so you’re getting all the unique flavors.
You can also use lasagne sheets which are more widely available and easier to prepare, but there is the worry that if not prepared right, they could lose their shape when rolled and spill out onto the rest of the dish.
Suppose you’re looking for something to pair cannelloni with and want something a bit different.
In that case, you could prepare a Caprese salad, parmesan zucchinis, lemon broccoli, kale crunch salad, cheesy garlic bruschetta, antipasti skewers, or even a pesto pizza if you have room left.
When hosting a dinner for guests, it can seem challenging to know if these pairings will work, but as long as you stick to Italian-type ingredients and keep spices and herbs simple, you can have a successful spread while using some exotic flavors that you can add twists to.
Using a spoon or a piping bag can be inconvenient for some as they may not have access to these tools, but you can use a simple trick, and all you need is a sandwich bag.
Fill this bag with your filling, get it tight, cut the corner so you have something like a piping bag, and squeeze it into each half of the tube.