Pumping iron, cannelloni style

I was a good little egg and donated blood this week. As much as I like helping others out, giving blood isn’t something I do very often because my non-gushy blood flow takes ages to fill up the bag and then I feel a bit woozy for a few days afterwards. Boo!

So in an attempt to boost my iron levels after donating, I thought a big hit of spinach would do the trick. Wanting to branch out and try something new, I decided to make a spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Then after chatting with one of the gals at the office, I decided to jazz it up by throwing some pumpkin and pine nuts into the mix. I was well chuffed with the result, it was far more delicious than I expected!

Making the cannelloni reminded me think of my childhood friend who, unfortunately for me, now lives on the other side of the country in Perth. She’s a great cook and was taught how to make some fabulous dishes by her Italian mother-in-law. This one’s for you Lyndal!

I didn’t have a piping bag to fill the tubes so I used a resealable sandwich bag and cut a hole in one corner. Next time I try my hand at cannelloni I’ll make the version from Vegetarian Bible 2 which has sweet potato, walnuts and goat’s cheese. Yum!

5 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin, spinach and ricotta cannelloni
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious pumpkin, spinach, ricotta and pine nut cannelloni.
Recipe type: Savoury
  • 800g Kent pumpkin, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g cans plain diced tomatoes
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 250g frozen spinach, thawed, excess liquid removed
  • 400g fresh low-fat ricotta
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 200g instant dried cannelloni tubes
  • 250g coarsely grated mozzarella
  • 2 Tbs pine nuts
  1. In a medium saucepan cover pumpkin with cold water and simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Drain pumpkin, return to the pan and mash. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Wipe the pan clean.
  3. Heat oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Stir in the tomato and chilli. Bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread ¾ cup of tomato mixture over the base of a 20 x 30cm baking tray.
  5. Add the spinach, ricotta, nutmeg and pine nuts to the pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
  6. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the pumpkin mixture into a piping bag. Fill cannelloni tubes with pumpkin mixture.
  7. Arrange filled tubes in a single layer, in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining cannelloni tubes and pumpkin mixture.
  8. Pour remaining tomato mixture over the cannelloni. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake for 40 minutes or until golden.

Pumpkin spinach cannelloni Adapted from a recipe on taste.com.au.


  1. Liv says

    Here’s a great hint I learnt from an old man in North Italy – when you don’t have time to cook your tomato sauce, heat an empty pan until really really hot then chuck in half a tin of tomatoes. Wait a minute, then add the rest. They’ll sizzle and spit but it helps to instantly get that ‘long slow cooking’ flavour. To get the garlic flavour you can add garlic infused olive oil at the end :)


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