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Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni

Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and SO tasty!

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

Thank you, ADA Mideast, for sponsoring this post! All opinions are always 100% my own.

Cheesy chicken stuffed cannelloni baked to a creamy and tender perfection. A classic recipe made EASY. These lovely bundles of joy will melt in your mouth!

This cannelloni is a quick recipe that comes together with some fresh spinach, chicken, and ricotta cheese, all topped with an easy creamy sauce.

The sauce on its own is Half & Half, seasonings, and parmesan. The addition of all the cheese in this cannelloni makes the flavors pop even more. Besides, one serving of milk, cheese or yogurt provides 8 grams of protein and 9 essential nutrients.

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

The flavors of cheese and milk and yogurt run pretty deep on this blog, including one of my all time favorite recipes, Spinach Artichoke Chicken.

We’re also celebrating June Dairy Month, so you’re free to eat up all the cheese and milk that your heart desires! 😉 

June Dairy Month is a time to celebrate America’s dairy farmers, who provide us with healthy dairy foods. If you have a minute, please hop on over to Drink-Milk.com and meet some of Ohio and West Virginia’s dairy farming families.

You can also check out my own Ohio Dairy Adventure and see me in dairy farming action.

feeding-calf

Just in those two States, dairy farm families raise more than 274,000 dairy cows on about 2,500 dairy farms. In an average year, Ohio and West Virginia dairy cows produce approximately 5.6 billion pounds, or about 656 million gallons of milk. 

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

To get the full benefits of milk, according to the USDA, adults should consume three servings of dairy – milk, cheese, or yogurt – each day. A serving size is 1 cup of milk or yogurt, and 2-ounces of cheese.

My point is that you need this Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni in your life. Especially in June! The cows will appreciate it.

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

HOW TO PREPARE CANNELLONI

Bonus tip about this recipe? You don’t have to precook the pasta! Say whaaaat?! *raising the roof*

Edit: Some commenters have said that their tubes needed to be precooked because they were still crunchy after baking. I suggest to precook the cannelloni tubes in boiling water for 5 minutes before filling with the chicken mixture.

  • The cannelloni tubes are filled with a warm mixture of chicken (use cooked leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken), cheese, and fresh spinach.
  • The prepared cannelloni are then transferred to a baking dish and arranged over some pasta sauce. Use your favorite pasta sauce, homemade or store bought.
  • For a finishing touch, the cannelloni are topped with a combination of Half & Half and cheese, a liquid that the cannelloni will cook in while baking.

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

20-ish minutes later, din din is served! The entire recipe should not take longer than 40 to 45 minutes, from start to finish. The dish is easy to make, kid friendly and makes for some great leftovers.

The ricotta gives a deliciously creamy texture and the sauce results in a beautiful golden crust. Just go make it, dinner-makers!

MORE CHEESY PASTA RECIPES:

To meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, learn more about how farmers care for their cows and follow milk’s journey from farm to fridge, visit Drink-Milk.com, and follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

ENJOY!

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TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS USED IN THIS RECIPE

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!

Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni

Katerina | Diethood
Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
4.53 from 21 votes
Servings : 6 Serves
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 5 mins
Total Time 45 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 12 cannelloni tubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
  • 1 bag (8 to 10 ounces) baby spinach
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook cannelloni tubes for 5 minutes in boiling water; rinse and set aside to cool for a few minutes, or just until cool enough to handle. 
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions and saute for 2 minutes; stir in garlic and chicken and continue to cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add milk and simmer for 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir in ricotta cheese until well blended.
  • Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes, or until wilted.
  • Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
    Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
  • Spoon pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
  • Using a spoon, your hands, or even a piping bag, stuff the prepared chicken mixture into cannelloni tubes.
  • Arrange the cannelloni in a single layer on the bottom of the previously prepared baking dish. Set aside.
    Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
  • In a mixing bowl, combine half & half, parmesan, basil, oregano, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the half & half mixture over the cannelloni.
  • Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the cream is reduced.
    Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni - Cannelloni pasta tubes packed with a cheesy ricotta and chicken filling, and topped with a creamy and delicious tomato sauce. Simple, super easy to make, and they're SO tasty!
  • Remove from oven and let stand 3 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened.
  • Spoon the sauce over the cannelloni and serve.

Notes

WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 14
  • For those keeping track of their WW points, try using fat free Half & Half, as well as fat free Ricotta Cheese, and this will cut down your points to 11. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2 Cannelloni Tubes + Sauce | Calories: 434 kcal | Carbohydrates: 25 g | Protein: 38 g | Fat: 19 g | Saturated Fat: 10 g | Cholesterol: 122 mg | Sodium: 411 mg | Potassium: 545 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 675 IU | Vitamin C: 5 mg | Calcium: 248 mg | Iron: 2.5 mg | Net Carbs: 23 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked cheese recipe, cannelloni, cannelloni recipe, chicken pasta, chicken pasta dinner recipe, easy baked pasta recipe, pasta dinner, potluck pasta recipe
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56 comments on “Creamy Ricotta Spinach and Chicken Cannelloni”

  1. I made this pretty much following the recipe except I added b
    Chopped mushrooms and more onions to the chicken plus a dash or two of cayenne pepper. Must have worked as the plates were all but licked clean. I will definitely be using this recipe again! I also made my own tomato sauce, which I admit, is pretty darned good 😊. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. I wish I had read more of the reviews before making this because it was undoubtedly one of the worst things I’ve ever made (and I am no stranger to the kitchen). There is a lot of potential, but the method is disastrous. I used manicotti because I couldn’t find cannelloni and cooked it for 8 minutes (1 minute more than what was on the Barilla box) and it was still undercooked and chewy in spots. So blame that one on Barilla, it really needs more like 10 minutes. Then, both the milk and the ricotta cheese curdled when added to the pan and heated and the filling was watery (it definitely did not end up like the photo). I used 2% milk and as called for, part-skim ricotta. If you’re going to make it and insist on making it as written, I’d recommend using full-fat dairy to at least try and prevent curdling and maybe that would also cut down on some of the wateriness. I’m also not sure I understand the point of adding milk and simmering it until it’s evaporated so would definitely skip that step. Chopped chicken was a nightmare to try and wrestle into the shells so if I were to try this again, I’d use shredded chicken instead. As far as the filling goes, it makes more sense to cook the onions, garlic, and spinach, and then let it cool for a few minutes before mixing with the ricotta and shredded chicken. It holds together better and I think would prevent some of the wateriness. And finally, I used fat free half and half and that was too thin, though I’ve never had a problem making that substitution with other recipes. The ratio of pasta sauce to half and half mixture seemed off as well. Next time, I’d use full fat half and half, or heavy cream, but less of it, along with the parmesan and spices, and mix them together with the pasta sauce, then pour over the pasta before baking. It took far longer than 20 minutes at 400 degrees (I don’t know what kind of oven can heat and reduce 1.5 cups of, presumably cold or at least cool, half and half in 20 minutes. Beyond that, it sounds like the recipe originally intended for the pasta to be cooked in that cream mixture in 20 minutes. There’s no way). Probably should go more like 45-55 minutes, at least. Overall it was bland, watery, and far more complicated than it needed to be and while I recognize that my use of low fat dairy products could have contributed to that, the only specification on fat percentage to use was the part-skim ricotta. We choked it down for dinner and I threw out the rest. I may try again with a different method and manicotti that’s more cooked or even stuffed shells.

  3. This recipe sounded great. My Mom can’t eat tomato products, so I was wondering if Alfredo sauce might be a good substitute for the marinara. Thoughts?

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