Generally our recipes are quite simple and quick to put together. In honor of our more advanced chefs and your time practicing WILDFIT recipes, we have a slightly more advanced dinner recipe for those special occasions when you want to impress. The elements of the recipe are not difficult to create, but there are a few more steps to bring it all together. The good news is that almost everything can be prepared in advance, so you can break it down and do some food prep by doubling up the ‘cheese’ and sauce recipes. This leek and tomato cannelloni is a vegan recipe that most meat eaters will enjoy, however if you are a die hard carnivore you may want to substitute ground meat for the ricotta.
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cook time: 30 minutes.
Makes: 2-4 servings.
3 leeks, trimmed and halved width ways
4 brown cap mushrooms, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic (optional)
2 Tbsp herbs of choice (optional)
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
2 cups non dairy milk
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp mustard powder
salt & pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cloves garlic minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 large sprigs fresh basil or parsley
salt to taste
This is a multi step process to achieve a unique, fancy Italian dinner. Italian food is difficult to achieve without cheese or pasta, but I hope that this captures the essence of an authentic dish while staying completely plant based. To achieve this we need a cheese substitute, a creamy sauce, a pasta substitute and a vegetable sauce for color and flavor. Three of the elements: the bechamel, ricotta and tomato sauce may become staples in your other dishes, so it is good to learn how to make them and keep them on hand.
Begin by preparing the macadamia ricotta. Soak the nuts for at least 2 hours or overnight to soften them. Put the nuts in a bowl and cover with 2 inches of water. The nuts will absorb most of the water, then they will just need a rinse to finish. When the nuts are ready, put them in your high speed blender or food processor with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and garlic (if using). Both the nutritional yeast and garlic are optional, depending on your taste and season. Blend the ingredients until well chopped and combined. Add water ¼ cup at a time until the ricotta is soft and smooth. Set aside in an airtight jar until ready to use.
Next prepare the Bechamel sauce. Pour the milk into a measuring cup and stir in spices. In a small bowl, mix tapioca flour with a small amount of the milk and stir with a fork to dissolve.
Heat a small saucepan on medium low, and add olive oil to warm. Immediately pour in milk and spices slowly, whisking well to combine. Add tapioca mixture and continue to whisk gently as milk heats. After two minutes or so you will see the mixture thickening. Lower the heat to low/min and continue to stir an additional two minutes or so until thickened. You will know it is ready when the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Do not overcook or the milk or tapioca may separate. This sauce is not a necessary element of the recipe, but a cream sauce does add a richness to the dish that balances the tart tomato and leek flavors.
To prepare the ‘pasta’ itself, cut the white part from the green of the leek. Then cut each stalk in half to make two equal size rolls. Next gently push out the inner leaves of each piece of leek with your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon, pulling them once they stick out the other end. This will make 12 outer shells that resemble cannelloni tubes. The two outer layers will be suitable, and some may not work or will tear. Ideally you will finish with 9 good tubes. Bring a shallow pan of water to a boil, add the leek ‘tubes’ and blanch for 1-2 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh the tubes under cold running water. Drain them and set aside.
Finely chop all the inner leaves and mushrooms. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped leeks over a medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring frequently until they wilt down. Add mushrooms and fry over medium heat for a further 4 minutes until the leeks are soft. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the ricotta.
Place a silicone sheet or parchment paper on a baking tray, cover with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. Broil them for 8 minutes. When they are finished you will want to break some of the tomatoes open to combine it with the garlic and oil. You can do this by pouring them into your blender or food processor and pulse several times, or pouring together into a bowl and pressing with a fork.
Meanwhile, spoon the leek and mushroom mixture into each leek tube and place them side by side, in a small, well oiled ovenproof dish. This is most easily done by holding each tube nearly vertical and pinching the bottom, using a small spoon to add the ‘cheese’ filling. Fill to the point that each tube holds its form and is not rippled or wilted. Top with another light drizzle of oil.
Lower the temperature of the oven to 350, and put the cannelloni in the oven, Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Gently remove them from the dish with a wide spatula, as they will be delicate.
The final step for the leek and tomato cannelloni is to plate your masterpiece. Create a shallow bed of warm tomato sauce, then add your ‘pasta’ rolls. Spoon some tomato sauce over the top, add a generous drizzle of Bechamel sauce, finishing with a sprinkle of basil or parsley. Enjoy immediately. If there are extra cannelloni, they can also be reheated for up to two days.