Canelones de carne (beef cannelloni)

I know you are going to say ‘surely Cannelloni are Italian and not Argentine’ and you are not 100% incorrect however Argentine version, canelones are NOT exactly the same as Italian cannelloni and therefore certainly earn their place in the Argentine kitchen!

By now, I am sure that you have noticed that I often write about how Argentine food is largely influenced by our European heritage, mainly Spanish and Italian. This recipe is not an exception!

Canelones in Argentina are very popular and there are many fillings that can be made to fill them, from spinach and ricotta, sweet corn and béchamel sauce or as in today’s recipe – beef and spinach!

You may be asking yourself, what is the difference between Argentine canelones and Italian ones and the difference is BIG. Argentine canelones are made with CREPES and not with pasta sheets!!! These canelones are much more fluffier and delicate in flavour and I absolutely love them!

This recipe is an absolute crowd pleaser and pure comfort and happy food!! This is definitely also a go-to recipe for when you have guests over and want to impress!


This recipe makes 4 good portions!


For the beef and spinach filling:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 chopped onions
  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g chopped spinach (frozen or fresh. If fresh, first steam cook)
  • 100g grated mozzarella cheese (or mild cheddar)
  • salt and pepper – according to taste
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 100g beef mince
  • 350g passata
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 250g milk
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in a bit of milk (if you do not have cornflour, add 2 tbsp of plain flour)
  • 50g soft salted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • grated nutmeg.

For crepe pancakes:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 medium sized eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 300 ml milk
  • a knob of butter


For the pancake crepes:

  1. In a clean bowl, whisk the 2 eggs and add the salt, vegetable oil and half of the milk. Whisk well with an electric whisk (or with lots of elbow grease).
  2. Add the flour and the rest of the milk slowly and little by little. Continue whisking until a homogeneous (and without lumps) pancake batter is formed.
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to rest for 1 hour. If you are going to let it rest for longer, place the batter in the fridge.
  4. Whilst the batter is resting, start preparing the beef and spinach filling.
  5. When the batter has rested, melt the knob of butter on the base of a pancake pan
  6. When the pan is hot, pour a ladle of batter in the pan and spread it around until a large thin (but not too thin!) crepe is formed. Cook on one side and then flip over. Ensure that it doesn’t over cook so that they crepe is soft and does not break.

For the beef and spinach filling:

  1. Heat the oil and cook the chopped onions for a few minutes until they are transparent.
  2. Once the onions are cooked, add the beef mince and stir until it is browned.
  3. Add the chopped and cooked (steamed or boiled beforehand) spinach to the beef mince and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Season generously with salt, pepper and mixed herbs.
  5. Add the grated cheese, mix well and remove from heat. Allow to cool.

For the quick tomato sauce:

  1. Heat the oil and cook the chopped onions and garlic until transparent and cooked.
  2. Add the beef mince and stir until it is browned.
  3. Add the tomato passata and puree and stir well.
  4. Season well with salt, pepper, sugar and mixed herbs.
  5. Reduce heat and allow to cook for 20 minutes, adding a few tablespoon of water if needed so it does not dry up.

For the béchamel sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornflour in a small amount of milk (from the 300ml of milk). This is important so that clumps are not formed.
  2. Heat the 50g of butter in a pan and when hot, add the tbsp of plain flour and dissolved corn flour and stir together.
  3. Add the milk to the pan slowly and continue to whisk continuously so that clumps do not form.
  4. When the béchamel sauce has began to thicken, season with salt, pepper and lots of grated nutmeg.

To construct the canelones:

  1. Start preheating the oven to 180 Degree Celsius
  2. Fill each crepe pancake in the middle with the beef and spinach filling and roll into a tube.
  3. Place each tube next to each other on a large baking pan.
  4. Once all the canelones have been laid next to each other, cover the canelones with the tomato sauce.
  5. On top of the tomato sauce, cover the canelones with béchamel sauce and PLENTY of more grated cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven at 180 Degree Celsius for 20-25 minutes until the cheese has gratinated.
  7. Pour a large glass of red wine and ENJOY! 🙂

This canelones recipe is easier than it seems and absolutely delicious! I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and see your versions!

Buen provecho! 🙂

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