I must admit, while reading the ingredients list, the addition of tilapia caught me a bit off guard at first. But then I remembered my husband and I eating a tasty meal our friends, Zach and Hannah, prepared for us using ingredients very similar to this recipe. I hoped that this meal would turn out to be nearly as tasty as the one they made for us.
Oh, before I forget, you don't have to use tilapia; the recipe is good with any other mild white fish. In fact, when I went to get tilapia, the only kind at the store was farm-raised from China. But I found wild flounder from the U.S., so I went with the local variety of white fish for this meal and it turned out to be delicious!
**Warning: the instructions may look long, but they just provide a lot of helpful details. The total prep time is approximately 35 minutes.
Baked Manicotti Bundles
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 3 to 4 green onions (enough to yield 10 layers)
- 10 whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 oz fresh tilapia fillets (or other mild white fish)
- 4 oz light cream cheese
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 oz reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
- Fresh dill for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. lightly mist an 8x8 inch glass pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- Rinse onions well, trim off white tops and discard. with the tip of a paring knife, score the upper end of the connected layers one by one so that each can be carefully removed and set aside
- Prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. During the final 90 seconds of cooking, add reserved onion layers. Then lift out layers with heat-proof tongs and set aside before draining pasta. Rinse pasta well and set aside.
- Grate carrot into a small bowl. Set aside
- Place a large nonstick pan on medium heat and add oil. Heat for 1 minute, then add tilapia, briefly shaking pan to prevent fish from sticking. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully flip fillets over and cook for 1 minute. Break fillets up with a heat-proof spatula. If pieces are not cooked through and opaque, cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add cream cheese, milk, dried dill and salt to a medium saucepan. Use a knife or spatula to break cream cheese up into smaller pieces. Place pan on low heat and cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 minute or until cream cheese has melted. Add half of mozzarella and continue heating and whisking for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and scoop out 1/2 cup cheese mixture; set aside and reserve
- Stir carrots and tilapia into pan with cheese mixture. Lay lasagna noodles out on a large cutting board with shorter edges parallel to bottom edge of cutting board. Place 2 tbsp tilapia-cheese mixture on bottom edge of each noodle. Gently roll each noodle from the bottom edge to the top, pressing lightly and making a bundle that stays together without squeezing the filling out. Tie each bundle with an onion layer and place in prepared glass pan.
- Spoon reserved 1/2 cup cheese mixture over bundled manicotti and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and beginning to turn golden brown. Garnish with fresh dill, if desired, and serve.
Myself, my mom, and my sister really enjoyed this meal. And the bonus: it made plenty for us to eat it for dinner one night and have leftovers for the next day! I can't wait to try it for my husband when he gets home.