Zucchini cannelloni is a healthier take on an Italian classic! The cannelloni has a creamy butternut squash filling and the whole dish is then drizzled with a delicious brown butter rosemary sauce! This gluten free and grain free meal follows the SCD diet. There’s also a dairy free and Paleo option!
Hi friends! Prior to going gluten free and starting the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), I was ALL ABOUT pasta! I had some form of it at least twice a week!
I’ve already recreated a gluten and grain free lasagna recipe that’s pretty incredible tasting, so more “pasta” dishes were inevitable.
I absolutely LOVE the simplicity and flavor of this vegetable cannelloni recipe!
What is cannelloni?
In Italian, cannelloni means “big tubes”. You typically start with a pasta sheet that has a dollop of cheese or meat on it before rolling it into a tube.
In the United States, cannelloni is typically referred to as manicotti.
This gluten free cannelloni uses thin slices of zucchini in place of the pasta!
How to make zucchini cannelloni with a butternut squash filling
Begin by roasting about two cups of cubed butternut squash. Once the squash is tender, remove from the oven and place into a blender.
I’ve also made the filling by using canned pureed butternut squash from Farmer’s Market Foods (my local Whole Foods carries it year round). It still turns out yummy, it just lacks that extra layer of flavor that roasting brings to the squash.
Add one egg yolk, cinnamon, and salt to the blender. Parmesan cheese can also be added, but that’s optional! Blend until the mixture is smooth, then set aside.
Take a zucchini (the straighter the better, it will make slicing it easier) and cut off both ends. Stand the zucchini up on the cutting board and slice it right down the middle.
Use a vegetable peeler to carefully cut the zucchini into ribbons. Each cannelloni will use three zucchini ribbons.
Put one ribbon down on the cutting board before placing another ribbon on either side, making sure they overlap a bit.
Place a heaping tablespoon of butternut squash filling at the bottom of the zucchini ribbons. Firmly roll the zucchini over the butternut squash and place in a greased baking dish.
Once all of the cannelloni have been assembled, they go into the oven to bake.
How to make brown butter rosemary sauce?
This brown butter rosemary sauce is SO GOOD! It’s simple to make and really does a nice job accentuating the flavors of the butternut squash filling!
While the cannelloni is baking, wash and dry two sprigs of rosemary. Melt one stick of unsalted butter in a small pot. Once the butter begins to foam, add the rosemary.
The butter will continue to foam and start turning brown. DO NOT TOUCH IT!
As the foaming subsides, remove the pot from the heat and add some lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
What if I’m avoiding dairy?
If you’d rather keep this meal dairy free, you can top the cannelloni with my Spinach and Sage Pesto!
It compliments the dish beautifully and the bonus is that you get EXTRA veggies!
Remove the cannelloni from the oven after about thirty minutes. Top with either the brown butter sauce or pesto!
The zucchini cannelloni is enough to fill me up, but I normally serve it alongside fish or chicken for my husband. Hope you enjoy!
More delicious main meals
Leave a comment and star rating below if you made this recipe!
Zucchini cannelloni is a deliciously healthier take on an Italian classic! The cannelloni has a creamy butternut squash filling and the whole dish is then drenched in a delicious brown butter rosemary sauce!
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, washed and dried
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking dish with the olive oil. Set aside.
Wash and peel a large butternut squash. Cut the squash into cubes (you need about 2 cups worth) and spread onto a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack and roast for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.
IMPORTANT: Decrease the oven temp to 350F once the squash is done! Don’t forget or your cannelloni will burn!!!!
While the butternut squash is roasting, wash the zucchini and cut off the ends. Stand the zucchini up on the cutting board and slice it right down the middle.
Use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini into thin ribbons. You’ll need 30 zucchini ribbons total for the cannelloni.
Once the squash is roasted, allow it to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a blender. Add the egg yolk, cinnamon, salt, and cheese. Process until the mixture is smooth (you should have about 1 cup of filling).
Put one ribbon on the cutting board (this will be the center of the cannelloni) before placing another ribbon on either side, making sure they overlap a bit.
Place a heaping tablespoon of butternut squash filling on the bottom of the zucchini ribbons. Firmly roll the zucchini over the filling until a tube has formed.
Place the zucchini in the baking dish with the loose ends facing down. Repeat the process with the rest of the zucchini ribbons and filling.
Put the baking dish on the middle rack of an oven that’s been heated to 350F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Once the butter begins to foam, add the sprigs of rosemary. The butter will continue to foam and start to turn brown…DO NOT TOUCH OR STIR IT!
When the foaming subsides, remove from the heat and add the juice of half a lemon and the salt.
Pour the brown butter sauce over the cannelloni and enjoy!
- If using pureed canned butternut squash, you’ll need 1 cup of puree. Skip to the 5th step of the recipe directions.
- Use a baking dish that keeps the cannelloni somewhat snug, this will prevent them from unraveling during baking.
- To keep this dish dairy free and vegetarian, top the cannelloni with this Spinach Sage Pesto.
* The calories in this recipe are just an estimate and were calculated with the brown butter rosemary sage sauce. If you decide to use the spinach sage pesto, the calorie count will be different.