Easy Spinach and Meat Manicotti

Cheese lovers unite! One of the easiest things to make for a large family gathering is a casserole dish like manicotti or lasagna. Manicotti is a cheese filled noodle topped with delicious marinara and you guessed it, more cheese! This easy spinach and meat manicotti is sure to delight the whole family. This recipe makes 2, 9 x 13″ pans so it’s perfect for a large gathering or to eat one now and freeze one for an easy meal on a busy day.

It’s important to note that I do not cook the pasta all the way. Just boil it for 4 minutes and add plenty of sauce and the noodles will cook to a perfect al dente in the oven.

If you’re not already aware salting your pasta water before cooking is a must. The water should be salty to the taste like a well-seasoned soup not the ocean. Do not add oil to the pasta water. I know some people insist that it keeps the pot from boiling over I have not found this to be true (maybe I’m just unlucky.) What it does do is create a barrier between the noodle and the sauce, so it doesn’t stick as well.

You can keep the noodles from sticking together before filling by placing them back into the packaging tray after they have been boiled.

Although this recipe only calls for spinach there are many other vegetables you can add to the filling. My favorites are sauteed bell peppers and zucchini. The ground beef can of course be substituted by another ground meat.

Easy spinach and beef manicotti

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 9×13″ trays


  • 32 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella separated
  • 3/4 cup Fresh grated parmesan separated
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sauteed spinach
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 large cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 64 oz pasta sauce of choice
  • 2 8 oz packages of dried manicotti noodles


  • pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom of 2 9×13" pans with a light layer of pasta sauce.
  • In a large saucepan add 1 tbsp olive oil and enough spinach to get to 1 cup cooked. After you have 1 cup cooked spinach set aside.
  • Boil the manicotti noodles in salted water for 4 minutes. (Do not follow package instructions.) Remove from water and set aside to cool.
  • In the large saucepan add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 chopped onion. Sautee for a few minutes and then add the fresh minced garlic. Add in 1 lbs. of ground beef and stir and chop until it is in small chunks and the beef is cooked thoroughly.
  • In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and chopped basil. Once combined add in 1/2 cup parmesan and 2 cups mozzarella. Stir in the spinach and ground beef and onion mixture and the manicotti filling is complete.
  • Place the manicotti filling in a piping bag or a large gallon Ziploc bag with a corner cut out. Pipe the filling into the half-cooked manicotti shells and then lay them down single layer in the pan. Repeat this until your pans are full.
  • Pour remaining sauce on top of the manicotti splitting evenly between the two pans. top with remaining parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Can be frozen up to 3 months.
Keyword easy, italian, manicotti, Pasta

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