Christmas Honeycomb Cannelloni

by | Dec 23, 2011 | 32 comments

Cannelloni Tubes
Christmas lunch should be a certified course at a stress management school. It tests nerves and is probably up there with planning a wedding or having a baby. Well, maybe I am being a tad overly dramatic. But if you think about it, the Christmas lunch has all the hallmarks of a life changing event like planning weeks in advance, organising, shopping, preparing, cleaning, presenting and maintaining social obligations while doing all that. At the end of which you feel spent, exhausted, overwhelmed and thankful that you don't have to do it again. At least not for another year.
Assembling the Cannelloni
This is the first year that I am doing a Christmas lunch and a dinner. The dinner was a week ago and went quite well. One of the dishes I cooked for the dinner has rooted so deeply in my heart that not only am I making it again for Christmas lunch but I think this one has the potential to become a family tradition here on. It is called the Christmas Honeycomb Cannelloni. Doesn't it have such a festive ring to it?
Red and white sauce
This is a very special dish. It needs your undivided attention for an hour and then you can put it away for a couple of hours and forget all about it. All you need to then do is put it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes before you want to serve it. It is vegetarian and is a main dish. How many Christmas mains can boast of that? It easily serves 10 people too.
Christmas Honeycomb Cannelloni Assembled
I made this dish up as I went along with it. So bear with me. The Christmas honeycomb cannelloni is based on the lasagne concept but instead of layering horizontally, you layer vertically. You can use mince meat, go meatless and fill it up with veggies and legumes. It can truly become your signature dish. I am making this again Christmas morning for our yearly special Christmas lunch. What will you be cooking for Christmas?
Christmas Honeycomb Cannelloni
Wish you and yours a very merry, safe Christmas!! Eat, drink and don't forget to say Ho! Ho! Ho!



No ratings yet
(adapted from Delicious Magazine December 2010/January 2011 Issue)
Print Recipe Rate / Comment
Author: Sneh
Course // Christmas, Dinner, Mains
Cuisine // Vegetarian
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 -10


  • 500 g-600g cannelloni tubes
  • for the red sauce
  • 2 X 400g cans chickpeas, drained
  • 2 X 400g cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 X 400g jar pasta sauce of your choice, I used Portobello mushroom and garlic
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 250 g button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • small bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • handful of oregano leaves, chopped
  • handful of basil leaves, torn
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • for the white sauce
  • 500 g English spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 300 ml light pouring cream
  • 400 ml sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • for the topping
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • few sprigs of fresh rosemary


  • To make the red sauce
  • Heat oil on medium in a large casserole. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon twill, red chilli, garlic and onion. Sauté for a few minutes until onions are tender. Add carrots, mushroom, chickpeas, olives, rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil. Sauté for 5 minutes, mixing constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low. Add the canned tomatoes, pasta sauce and red wine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom. You may at this point add 1/4 or 1/2 cup of water to get the right consistency (slightly loose but still thick pasta sauce consistency). After 25 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Pick out the red chill and bay leaf. Discard. Pick also the cinnamon quill and reserve for assembling later.
  • To make the white sauce
  • Wash and pat dry spinach leaves. Chop them finely. In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium and add spinach. Toss spinach around for a couple of minutes until leaves start wilting and look glazed. Remove from heat. Season with nutmeg. Place in a large bowl. Add cream, sour cream and parmesan. Add lemon rind, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
  • To assemble
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Take a large 23cm wide and at least 12cm deep ovenproof casserole pan. Grease the insides with a light oil spray or melted butter. Add half the red sauce. Stand cannelloni upright in the sauce, making sure the tubes are next to each other and quite snug. Press down gently to make sure they are touching the base of the pan.
  • Spoon in half the white spinach sauce over, around and into the tubes. Sprinkle over some parmesan. Spoon over the remaining red sauce around, into and over the tubes. Repeat with the white spinach sauce. With the palm of your hand, gently push the cannelloni tubes further down into the pan. Top with the remaining parmesan and rosemary sprigs. Insert the cinnamon quill next to one of the cannelloni tubes. Cover the pan and rest for at least 30 minutes (this helps to soak up some sauce into the pasta tubes, making them soft).
  • When ready to bake, place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Bake covered until browned and cooked on top. Serve hot with a chunky basil pesto and salad greens.
Did you make my recipe?I'd love to hear how you went! Tag me on Instagram @cookrepublic



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Grishma

    this looks soooo beautiful!Might give it a try very soon but already bookmarked! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    What a great way to make it! I've never seen anything like this before.

  3. la domestique

    Wow- what a gorgeous dish for Christmas! My mom always made lasagna on Christmas eve, and I carry on the tradition. The husband loves roasted turkey on Christmas day with all the fixins, but this year I've convinced him we should have roast duck glazed in balsamic vinegar. Merry Christmas to you too!

  4. rebecca

    this is a fun dish, I had lasagna for super

    Merry Christmas

  5. Gaby

    I've never seen something like that before (and I mean it in a good way!) Very impressive to the eye and I bet delicious. Very good for exercising patience, too 🙂

    • Sneh

      It is, isn't it? Ou tof all the Christmas back issues of magazines I was scouring for recipes, this one looked unusual, fancy and actually quite easy. I think patience wise it is the equivalent of assembling lasagna.

  6. Barbara

    I love this. What a great idea. Happy Christmas Sneh.

  7. beti

    it's so beautiful! i just love how it looks

  8. jess white @athriftyfoodie

    uh-mazing! cannelloni is one of my favourite italian dishes! (always better vegetarian!)

  9. a spoonful of yumm

    this is a fabulous recipe sneh, so many delicious ingredients. love that you made them stand vertically 😀 merry christmas!

    • Sneh

      The cannelloni meal is a traditional Italian dish for St Stephen's day. There are many versions of the cannelloni both horizontal and vertical, the vertical one made popular by Jamie Oliver a few years ago with a recipe that called for anchovies. 🙂

  10. Devina Divecha (FooDee)

    What an interesting idea! Nice one. Have a great Christmas.

  11. Shannon

    this is such a great idea! absolutely love it

  12. julia { see you in the morning }

    oh la la how wonderously beautiful!

  13. julie

    I saw this in one of jamie oliver's cookbooks a while ago, I've been meaning to make it ever since.

    • Sneh

      I think it is in Cook With Jamie. He has 2 versions of this recipe, one that has anchovies and one that has chickpeas and is vegetarian. This one here is adapted from the vegetarian version. I am not sure which version he has in his cookbook.

  14. chocolatesuze

    beautiful presentation! hope you and your family have a very merry christmas!

  15. Stella

    The pictures and the list of ingredients were so appetizing that I had to make this immediately! Wow, both sauces are wonderful and I enjoyed this pasta dish immensely. Thanks for the recipe, love from Holland

    • Sneh

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed Stella 🙂

  16. sara

    This is such a cool idea! So beautiful and festive! 🙂

  17. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    I saw this in a delicious magazine feature by Jamie Oliver last year focusing on vegetarian Christmas food. It's such a beautiful and unique way of presenting cannelloni and looks so much prettier than the traditional way.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Sneh!

    • Sneh

      Yes, this is adapted from his vegetarian version. I believe he has an anchovy version as well. Thanks Jen. Hope you had a lovely Christmas too.

  18. chinmayie @ love food eat

    What a beautiful bake! Love this idea.It looks very fancy and i ma sure tastes good too!

  19. Kiran @

    A very creative cannelloni that's so festive!

    Happy New Year, sweetie 🙂

  20. Rashmi

    This is stunning! Can't wait to try it out. But I don't have 10 people to feed!

  21. Petra

    Thank you, for sharing the recipe - it was absolutely delicious! I love the photo with the Christmas tree light bokeh in the background, very appropriate.

  22. Culinary Collage

    This is such a creative way of serving pasta. It's such a beautiful dish......thanks for sharing!

  23. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    What a meal! Looks fabulous, darling!

  24. Nic@diningwithastud

    What a stunning way to present cannelloni!! Happy New Year 🙂 its been such a pleasure reading you blog. Cant wait for more in 2012!! 😀 x

  25. Martyna @ WholesomeCook

    Lovely shots Sneh, and the dish sounds delicious!

  26. gopalgang

    Hello, I am planning on making this soon. Do you place the pasta tubes in the pot cooked? If so, do you boil for a few minutes and let the baking do the rest? Thank you for your lovely recipe. I am excited to see how it turns out.

    • Sneh

      No, the pasta is dry when you arrange it. The sauce and moisture from the dish cooking is what cooks it 🙂



  1. 19+ Christmas Lunch ideas That are Easy & Festive! - The Cheerful Spirit - […] Get the full recipe from Cook Republic […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.