Inspired Entrée: High Raw, Vegan Manicotti for Two

by Gena on July 19, 2011

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Great responses to the edamame hummus! I was excited to hear that some of you already tried it and loved it. Today’s raw-ish entrée—high raw, vegan manicotti—may not be quite so quick or easy, but it is delicious, and I’m hoping that you guys will be as quick to give it a shot!

Last Thursday, my friend Andrea came over for dinner at the Hobbit House. I love preparing meals for friends, because I have such an advantage: I knew already that Andrea loves my cheesy parsnip spread:


…and that she loves anything with Italian flavors. With a bag of parsnips (on sale!) on my hands, a ton of fresh summer basil, two ripe tomatoes, and more zucchini than a vegetable patch, I knew precisely what I wanted to make her for dinner:

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And I knew—or at least I suspected strongly—that the dish would be easy to prepare and very delicious.

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And it was.

High Raw, Vegan Manicotti (mostly raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 2

For the “pasta”:

2 large zucchini

For the pesto:

Hemp pesto (recipe to come later this week!) or any other pesto—give my walnut pesto a try!

For the parsnip “cheese” filling:

1 batch of my cheesy parsnip spread

For the sauce:

1 batch of my sweet red pepper marinara sauce (all raw—no simmering needed!)

For the cashew cream:

Use 1 batch of the recipe in this post

To prepare:

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

To assemble:

1) Lay three sheets of very thinly sliced zucchini (pictured below) with edges overlapping, and cover with a thin layer of pesto, a layer of parsnip spread, and a layer of tomato:

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Roll all three slices up from the edge to which the fillings are closer, to the far edge, and seal with a tiny smear of pesto. You should end up with nice, neat rolls (check out my hemp hummus zucchini wraps for an additional how-to):

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Cover with a heaping layer of sweet pepper marinara and a nice drizzle of your cashew cream. Serve!

I rounded out my meal with Andrea with a huge bowl of fennel, romaine, and tomato with my raw, vegan Caesar salad dressing:

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We also nibbled on the last of my black bean and quinoa salad with quick cumin dressing, making for two very messy—and very tasty—dinner plates:

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What a spectacular night of high raw, all vegan food!

This meal reminded me of how fun it is to work with raw-ish entrees. In these busy student days, my cooking is dictated more by necessity and efficiency than by artistry: I make dips, spreads, versatile grain dishes, raw snacks, and salads, and little else. But there is such joy to preparing a raw or high raw meal that’s complete and beautiful, and I hope that no amount of homework will ever keep me from this kind of dinner for long.

On that note, it’s time for this sleepy blogger to retire. My midterm was (I think) alright, but I’m running on < 4 hours of sleep. Night!


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie Smith July 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm

This looks like the entree that Revive Cafe (local raw cafe) had on special this past Sunday. Thanks for showing me how to make it!


Mama Pea July 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Beautiful food and an eloquent post on four hours of sleep? Something tells me you aced that midterm. :)


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) July 20, 2011 at 12:25 am

That looks so pretty, and tasty! I love manicotti. I also love the thin ribbons of squash pasta. Very colorful.


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 20, 2011 at 1:14 am

Ahhhh beautiful food is the cure of souls <3


Alissa @ Not Just Apples July 20, 2011 at 1:53 am

Yippee – that looks really very delicious! I wish once again that your blog food could come directly to my dinner table…


bitt July 20, 2011 at 2:16 am

someone was JUST asking me for a recipe for this and so glad I can pass it on to her now. perfect summer raw recipe!


Gopika July 20, 2011 at 5:11 am

Beautiful and creative dish. What did you use to get the squash slices so thin?


Gena July 20, 2011 at 7:41 am

A mandolin.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 20, 2011 at 5:19 am

“came over for dinner at the Hobbit House.”–I love that you’re still calling it the H.H. That’s so cute!

4 hours of sleep? Yep. That’s my usual for the past 5 years. Motherhood, a FT job, a FT blog, a FT household to run…I can’t get it all in in under about 19-20 hours per day.

But honestly, I do think a high raw and/or a high plant-based lifestyle totally fuels me and keeps me energized! And when that fails, there’s coffee :)

Your rolls look perfect! I love yellow summer squash. Mmmm, good!


alyce July 20, 2011 at 6:10 am

ooooh! i just bought a mandolin yesterday and have been thinking, “what exciting new possibilities could this bring to my kitchen?” and you do not disappoint! i must try this asap :)


Andy July 20, 2011 at 7:21 am

Does “high raw” just mean “mostly raw”?


Gena July 20, 2011 at 7:41 am



Evan Thomas July 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

Raw food certainly is beautiful


Gena July 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

Isn’t it? :)


Jen July 20, 2011 at 9:07 am

Oh my god, please sleep more! I yawned just reading that. Although, I guess you probably make up for it health-wise by being the most nutritious eater on the planet! Ugh, I wish I had a mandolin. And a dehydrator too, but that’s off topic. This looks delicious!

Speaking of raw vs. cooked, I’ve noticed (over time, not just recently) that you seem to be enjoying more cooked foods than you used to. That might be an unsupported assumption, but if it’s not, is there a reason (aside from convenience) for your inclusion of more cooked vegan food in your diet? Just curious. :)


Gena July 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

Ha! Actually, I don’t tend to need a lot more than 5 hrs, and I do attribute that to diet, but I *prefer* it when I sleep 6-7 hrs.

As for my diet: I started eating a little more cooked about 1 year after I started CR, but that was two years ago now. The proportion has stayed pretty constant since then, but the difference is that the cooked food I make — rather than being as simple as plain cooked grains or beans — is now interesting enough to be blog-worthy, too, and that’s because I’m dating a cooked-foods eater, and I like to make our mutual meals fun. So what you see is a combo of the raw food I enjoy solo, and the entrees I make for me and M together :)


Nolita July 20, 2011 at 9:40 am

This dish looks yummy and I just happen to have a couple of zucchini and lots of basil on hand so I might try it out. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and am inspired by your stories and recipes and I am TRYING to do the raw/vegan thing more often. I even got a dehydrator so we could extend the summer fruit/veggie options into the winter months. Thanks for sharing and hope you got some good sleep!


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats July 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

This looks lovely. It is even making me rethink my texture issues with raw tomatoes (I have few vegetable aversions, but raw tomatoes is sadly one of them, unless chopped super fine) :) Yay on being done with your midterm. :)


Mandi July 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

Wow, this looks delish. Now go get some sleep!


marianne July 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

Yuuum. Looks delicious.


Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather July 20, 2011 at 11:44 am

I can only imagine you rocking that midterm. Beautiful meal. What a lucky friend to be treated to such a yummy dish.


Meghan @ StruggleMuffins July 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Ohhh I want. This looks so beautiful – light and just filling enough for a summer meal. Love the bowl that the ‘caesar’ salad is in. Its nice you were able to restore yourself with a fun activity like cooking a high raw meal.


Christine (The Raw Project) July 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Just wow, this look gorgeous! I’ve gotta try it! Beautiful pics!


Ela July 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

What a beautiful meal! And the company also.
But get some sleep, girl!
Glad the midterm went ok.


Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles July 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I love reading these recipes! I definitely want to try to get into eating some more raw foods, but cooking is what I know best! I appreciate the help!

Hope the midterm went well and you got some SLEEP!


Kelsey July 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm

YUMMMM! And I love how easy to prepare this seems! I need to host more dinner parties….sounds lovely :)


daphna July 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Wow, looks amazing! I can’t believe you’re still putting out blog posts w/ such frequency! When I was doing summer school that was all I was doing. . . and it was enough. But that’s good you are balancing everything so well!!


pure2raw twins July 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Where is our plate? haha Looks amazing! We have not tried making raw manicotti yet, but now after seeing yours we are intrigued! :)


Lisa N. July 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I just made this for dinner! Delish! My 16 year old daughter liked it too! We are having vegan oat bars for desert!


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