I love raw Italian Food! There are ways to mimic spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, pizza, you name it—all using veggies, nuts and seeds. This manicotti is an impressive gluten-free and vegan dish that is a great way to introduce newbies to raw food. This makes quite a bit, so share the raw food love with family & friends!
Advanced prep: soak 2 cups of sunflower seeds in pure water for 4-6 hours. Drain and rinse. In a separate bowl, soak 2 cups of sundried tomatoes in pure water for 4 hours or longer. Drain.
For the Noodles:
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut off both ends of each zucchini. Using a mandoline, slice the zucchini the long way so that you have long, wide noodles. If a mandoline is not available, use a knife, cutting as thinly as possible. Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss very gently.
For the Spinach & Sunflower Cheese Filling:
- 2 cups of sunflower seeds (from above)
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 8 cups spinach
- ½ cup parsley
- 1½ tablespoons Italian Seasoning
In a high-speed blender, combine sunflower seeds, water, lemon, garlic and salt. Blend well until smooth. Scrape into a large bowl. In a food processor, process the spinach and parsley in batches until chopped but not puréed. Alternately, chop finely by hand. Pour into the bowl with the sunflower cheese. Add Italian seasoning and mix well.
For the Herby Tomato Sauce:
- 3 cups of sundried tomatoes, measured after soaking (from above)
- 1 cup water
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- ¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 2 teaspoons rosemary
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½-1 teaspoon salt, only if your sun-dried tomatoes are unsalted
- 2 tablespoons hemp seed, for garnish, if desired
To assemble, arrange 4 zucchini noodles horizontally on a cutting board, slightly overlapping one over the next by about ½”. Place ¼ cup of the spinach & sunflower cheese filling in the center and spread so that it covers the front to the back and about 1” in width. Roll the zucchini from left to right to create a filled manicotti. Place two manicotti on a plate and top with ¼ cup of tomato sauce. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of hemp seeds and/or Italian seasoning.