I recently stumbled upon a non vegan blog called Recipe Girl. It has some very interesting recipes including one for a pumpkin manicotti with bechamel sauce. The recipe called for cheese (a lot), heavy cream, milk and eggs. But I loved the idea and decided to come up with a vegan version and make it my own.
Mine ended ended up quite a bit different from the inspiration recipe and it was absolutely delicious. The flavors are delicate but somewhat complex and the sage with the pumpkin is such a great combination. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will defintiely make this again. I think it would be great for a dinner party with some Brussels sprouts or other green vegetable.
Pumpkin Cauliflower Manicotti with Bechamel Sauce
2 boxes manicotti
1 can pumpkin puree (make sure you get plain pumpkin and not spiced for pie)
1/2 cup steamed cauliflower
2 cups fresh spinach chopped
8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened (I used Tofutti brand)
1/4 cup sage, chopped plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella shreds (I used Daiya)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon yellow miso
1 cup non dairy creamer (I used So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer)
1 cup non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
4 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente (a minute or two less than the package directions). Drain and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, steamed cauliflower, spinach, cream cheese, mozzarella shreds, 1/4 cup sage, nutritional yeast, yellow miso, salt and pepper. Mix to incorporate. Set aside.
In a saute pan over medium low heat melt the earth balance. While the Earth Balance melts in a separate pot heat the non dairy creamer and non dairy milk in a pot until close to boiling. Add the flour to the skillet with the melted Earth Balance and whisk until smooth. Allow to cook, while whisking constantly until it starts to brown. Add the non dairy milk mixture one cup at a time continuing to whisk constantly. Once sauce thickens remove from the heat..
Lightly grease a large baking dish (or tow smaller ones) and spoon some of the bechamel sauce into the bottom. Stuff the manicotti with the pumpkin mixture using a small fork or spoon. Lay the manicotti in the baking dish side by side.. Cover with the remaining bechamel sauce.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 50 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 7 minutes of baking.
Allow to cools slightly, garnish with remaining sage and serve.