Let's be honest here. Who needs a clear, brothy soup when you can have parmesan sausage and escarole stuffed manicotti, baked in a creamy "chicken" rue?
I know what you're thinking -- what the heck is escarole?
I don't really have the answers for you, I could pretend to and go Google it, but I'd rather not lie to you. I can tell you this much, though; it's green, looks a little like curly bib lettuce and people use it a lot in Italian Wedding Soup.
Escarole not tempting enough? Picture this: your favorite creamy, homey, chicken noodle soup with (surprise!) savory sausage and a rich paremesan flavor. Ready to try it now? Good.
Italian Wedding Manicotti
One box of manicotti (mine came with 16 in it)
1 package of Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage (probably my favorite sausage replacement)
32 oz carton of Imagine Organic No Chicken Broth (this is essential, plain old veggie broth just won't do)
1 cup shredded escarole
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (or nutritional yeast suffice)
1 large onion diced (I used the sweet variety)
4 TBS vegan butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup minced garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Boil your manicotti (mine took seven minutes). Once cooked, allow to bathe in cool water for two minutes. Drain and get ready to stuff!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium to large saucepan, bring your butter and no-chicken broth to boil. Whisk in whole wheat flour and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat. (Your liquid should be getting creamy). Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, mix gimme lean sausage, Italian seasoning, diced onion, shredded escarole, parmesan and minced garlic. Mash all the ingredients together until well blended.
Take the sausage mixture and roll into an oversized golf ball, then roll into a link, see picture below. (I know, it's a little on the chunky hot dog, kind of phallic side of things).
Place sausage link into the empty manicotti and then place in a greased casserole dish (mine was a 9x13). Continue until all the shells are stuffed.
Pour creamy chicken rue on top and bake for 20 minutes.
Make this for your friends and astound them with your thinking-outside-of-the-box mentality.