Keto Cheese & Tomato Cannelloni (Manicotti). 5.5g carbs and super yummy!
There are multiple elements in this recipe. But each one is very simple and easy. My favourite approach is to make the ‘pasta’ and tomato sauce up to 3 days ahead, then finish the dish on the day I want to bake it.
I love it as a main course for 4, with some meat protein alongside. But I’ve also served it as starter, which is plenty for 6 people. In all honesty, whether you follow the keto / low-carb lifestyle or not, you will absolutely love the flavour combination.
How to Make Keto Cheese & Tomato Cannelloni (Manicotti)
Your cannelloni ‘pasta’ comes first. Mix all ingredients, spread the resulting paste on a silicone baking sheet and bake for a few minutes. A silicone sheet is kind of essential for this step, as it will enable you to peel away the pasta sheet with ease.
Once cooled, you’ll be able to just cut the pasta sheet into 12 sections (I use kitchen scissors). Then, unless you intend to make up the whole dish on the same day, pile your cannelloni ‘squares’ over a plate, wrap it all up in cling film, and keep it refrigerated. You can do this up to 3 days in advance.
The Tomato Sauce (Marinara)
Why buy something in a jar when you can make your own, healthier version in no time at all? It takes 5 minutes to prepare your ingredients and 5 minutes simmering time. It isn’t a shortcut. Research shows that cooking tomatoes for a short period of time reduces Vitamin C loss and increases their powerful antioxidant content.
You can prepare this sauce up to 3 days ahead, but transfer it to a non-metal container to prevent oxidisation, and keep it refrigerated.
No cooking necessary. Mix all ingredients and voilà, done.
This is the fun part. I have a useful tip for you to ensure that you fill your pasta tubes with equal amounts of filling.
With the filling weighing 360g, and 12 tubes to fill, you’ll want 30g in each one. Place the bowl with filling over weighing scales and zero them (tare). Take a heaped tsp and check the weight on the display. It should show -30g. Fill your first tube and place it in the baking dish, then zero (tare) the scales again and repeat until all 12 tubes are complete. Easy-peasy. Scales can sometimes be slightly inaccurate, so if you’re left with some filling after the final tube, just spread the remaining mixture in the centre, as you can see in the image above.
The Final Step
Once you’ve done this, it is simply a case of spreading the crème fraîche + tomato sauce mixture over the top of the cannelloni, sprinkling freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and baking.
As previously mentioned, this recipe will create 4 main courses (3 tubes each – 5.5g carbs) or 6 starters (2 tubes each – 4.5g carbs).
Keto Cheese & Tomato Cannelloni (Manicotti)
- 250 g ricotta - drained
- 50 g extra mature cheddar cheese - grated
- 40 g mozzarella - dry type, shredded
- 20 g Parmigiano Reggiano
- a sprinkle of white or black pepper
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg - grated
- ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 100 g crème fraîche
- 25 g Parmigiano Reggiano
- tomato sauce see above
Make the Cannelloni
- lay a silicone baking sheet (28cm x 38cm/ 11" x 15") over an oven rack and pre-heat oven to 160 °C static.
- beat cream cheese to soften it, then incorporate eggs, one at a time, using a manual balloon whisk (don't use an electric tool - you don't want air in this).60 g cream cheese, 4 large eggs
- weigh and mix dry ingredients, tip them into the egg mixture and whisk immediately to avoid lumps - again, do this manually.⅛ tsp fine himalayan pink salt, 10 g fine coconut flour, 10 g fine psyllium husk powder, ¼ tsp guar gum
- pour the mixture over your silicone sheet, spreading it to a very thin, even layer edge to edge.
- bake for 10-12 minutes - until the edges start to golden and shrink away.
- remove from oven, flip the whole thing upside-down over the oven rack, peel the silicone away, and you'll be left with a lovely thin pasta sheet.
- once cooled, cut your pasta sheet (2 cuts across and 3 cuts down) into 12 equal square-ish pieces and set aside.
Make the Tomato Sauce
- pour the oil into a small saucepan (best if not aluminium), add minced garlic and shallot, and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat.10 g extra virgin olive oil, ½ shallot, 1 garlic clove
- add sieved tomatoes, seasoning and spices, and simmer for 4 minutes.200 g sieved tomatoes, ⅛ tsp Himalayan pink salt, 1 sprinkle white pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves
- remove from heat source, taste and adjust seasoning if required, stir in chopped basil and set aside.1 handful fresh basil
Make the Filling
- put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a fork to combine.250 g ricotta, 50 g extra mature cheddar cheese, 40 g mozzarella, 20 g Parmigiano Reggiano, a sprinkle of white or black pepper, ⅛ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
Assemble and Bake
- pre-heat oven to 180°C Circo-Roast (combination grill and fan oven - see Notes below)
- spread ½ tomato sauce (see Notes below) onto the base of an appropriately-sized baking dish - mine is a 20cm/8" square Pyrex dish, measured at the base.
- the filling should weigh 360g total; spoon 30g over the long edge of a pasta piece and use your fingertips to mould it into a sausage shape, roll to form a tube and place it, seam down, into the baking dish - read post for an easy tip to ensure equal amounts of filling.
- repeat until you've used all the pasta pieces - you may need to squash up the filled tubes to make them fit, but that's actually a good thing, as you want them nice and snuggly in a single layer; if you have some leftover filling, just squeeze it between the tubes in the centre (see image in post).
- stir crème fraîche into the remaining ½ tomato sauce and spoon the mixture over the cannelloni.100 g crème fraîche, tomato sauce
- dust with Parmigiano and bake for 15 minutes ; if not caramelised at that point, switch to grill (broiler) mode for 1-2 minutes.25 g Parmigiano Reggiano
- serve piping hot.
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