When it comes to comfort food you have probably noticed that many dishes that come to mind include noodles and cheese. Like Chili Mac, Baked Ziti,Lasagna, Baked Stuffed Shells and Mac and Cheese. We’ve got all of those, too, of course, but we thought it was time someone made a low FODMAP manicotti. There is something about those large tubular pasta shells that just beg to be stuffed with all sorts of delicious ingredients.
Is Ricotta Low FODMAP?
Let’s talk about ricotta, because there are a few ways to approach this recipe. We have designated this recipe as appropriate for Elimination because we recommend that you make and use our low FODMAP, lactose-free ricotta. It is easier to make than you think, but if you do not want to take that extra step, you can use commercial ricotta, with some provisos.
We have probably noticed that you have to get comfortable with a fair amount of math when working with the low FODMAP diet.
The recipe calls for 15-ounces of ricotta. This is equal to a 425 g container. Monash University has lab tested conventional ricotta cheese and the low FODMAP amount is 2 Australian tablespoons or 40 g. If you do the math, we learn that 10.6 servings of the ricotta called for in the recipe will be low FODMAP. Bear in mind that the FODMAP in ricotta is lactose (which is represented by the “D” in FODMAP for “Disaccharide”.
There is also mozzarella and Parmesan in the recipe, but those cheeses are extremely low in lactose and the amounts per serving are minimal, especially when compared to the ricotta. It is the ricotta we really need to pay attention to. (Brush up on cheese with our, Is Cheese Low FODMAP? article).
The Pasta Comes Into Play
We have to consider the shells when we are discussing manicotti portions, because they are typically served whole, so you would serve 1, 2 or 3 manicotti, for instance.
Serving Size If Lactose Is An Issue
The math tells us that if you use conventional ricotta that you could have a serving of 1 whole manicotti, with its stuffing of cheeses, and the portion would be low FODMAP. This is a very small portion.
But we have taken you through this math exercise for a few reasons.
- Lactose might not be your issue, in which case you can use conventional ricotta and determine your own serving size.
- This is a great dish to serve non-FODMAPers. Perhaps you want to make the dish for a crowd using conventional ricotta and want to know what you can serve yourself?
- The math might put you over the edge, in which case we circle back around to our original thought, which is, why not try making our low FODMAP ricotta?
Making Low FODMAP Ricotta
I know the idea of making ricotta sounds crazy, but hear me out. All you need is:
You will be done in way less than an hour. 30-minutes if you are organized!
Before you start you have to decide whether you will be using our homemade low FODMAP Ricotta or commercially prepared.
As far as tomato sauce, you can use a low FODMAP marinara (we are partial to Rao’s Sensitive Formula Marinara) or our FODMAP Everyday Quick Tomato Sauce.
The rest is easy to shop for.
The baby kale usually comes in a package, triple-washed and ready to use.
How To Make Low FODMAP Manicotti
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
Cook your manicotti shells in a large pot of salted water.
Only cook for FOUR minutes.
Drain and set aside.
Sauté scallion greens in your Garlic-Infused Oil in a large skillet or sauté pan for a couple minutes until softened.
Add the kale. It will look like a lot at first.
Sauté for a few minutes and it will wilt and cook down dramatically.
Set that aside to cool.
Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl then stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, parsley and cooled scallion/kale mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
It will look like this once everything is mixed together.
Spread a generous amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish to cover. The image below shows a work-in-progress. You want to add even more so that it covers the bottom.
Scoop ricotta filling into pastry bag and cut the bottom to create a ½-inch (12 mm) round opening.
Pick up the manicotti one at a time and pipe the filling into the manicotti, taking care not over fill. Start laying the manicotti in the dish as you go using images to help you. Repeat with manicotti and filling and creating a single layer of manicotti. For serving purposes it helps to remember your manicotti arrangement.
Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top evenly over the manicotti, then sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.
Cover with foil.
Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for about 10 minutes more or until the cheese has lightly browned.
Let sit for a couple of minutes and serve with a green salad.
To be able to serve whole manicotti, you have to remember how they were arranged in the pan so that you can remove them as neatly as possible. But don’t fret. If they end up in pieces they will still taste delicious!
Low FODMAP Manicotti with Kale
Low FODMAP gluten-free manicotti shells stuffed with low FODMAP ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan and chopped baby kale for added color and nutrition.
Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Serves 4 to 6 if using low FODMAP ricotta
Pasta & Filling:
- 7- ounce (198 g) box low FODMAP gluten-free manicotti shells, such as Jovial
- 2 tablespoons Garlic-Infused Oil, made with olive oil, or purchased product
- ¼ cup (16 g) chopped scallions, green parts only
- 3- ounces (85 g) baby kale, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 15- ounces (425 g) low FODMAP ricotta
- 2/3 cup (65 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 2- ounces (55 g) mozzarella, shredded
- ¼ cup (8 g) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pastry bag; I use disposable
Assembly & Topping:
- 3 cups (720 ml) low FODMAP marinara or tomato sauce, such as our Quick Tomato Sauce
- 8- ounces (225 g) mozzarella, shredded
- ¼ cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Have ready a 13-inch by 9-inch (33 cm by 23 cm) oblong ceramic baking dish.
For the Pasta & Filling: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the manicotti shells for 4 minutes, no longer. Drain.
Heat a large sauté pan over low-medium heat and sauté scallion greens for a few minutes until softened but not browned. Add the baby kale and sauté for a minute or two until wilted. Set aside and cool.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl then stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, parsley and cooled scallion/kale mixture. Season well with salt and pepper.
Assembly & Topping: Spread a generous amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish to cover.
Scoop ricotta filling into pastry bag and cut the bottom to create a 1/2-inch (12 mm) round opening. Pick up the manicotti one at a time and pipe the filling into the manicotti, taking care not over fill. Start laying the manicotti in the dish as you go using images to help you. Repeat with manicotti and filling and creating a single layer of manicotti. For serving purposes it helps to remember your manicotti arrangement.
Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top evenly over the manicotti, then sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for about 10 minutes more or until the cheese has lightly browned. Let sit for a couple of minutes and serve with a green salad.
Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.
- Cheese: Many cheeses have low FODMAP serving sizes. The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. Hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano have been lab tested by Monash University and are low FODMAP in 40 g amounts.
- Garlic-Infused Oil: Make your own Garlic-Infused Oil or buy a commercial equivalent for the easiest way to add garlic flavor to your food. Fructans in garlic are not oil-soluble, so garlic-infused oil is low FODMAP.
- Kale: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested kale. Monash pictures Lacinato type kale and says that kale is Green light and low FODMAP in servings of ½ cup, chopped (75 g). FODMAP Friendly depicts curly kale and gives it a “Pass” at ½ cup chopped (30 g).
- Pasta: You have to read labels, but there are many low FODMAP gluten-free brands of pasta available. Use what is called for in individual recipes. Our go-to is rice-based pasta. Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both tested “gluten-free” pasta, but they do not specify what the pasta was made from. Monash says gluten-free pasta is low FODMAP at 145 g or 1 cup cooked; FODMAP Friendly lab testing suggested 2 cups or 146 g cooked is low FODMAP. Monash has also lab tested pasta made from rice, which they list under “rice stick” and it is low FODMAP at 220 g, which no Moderate or High FODMAP amounts given.
Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.