With countless combinations of creamy fillings and rich sauces, ravioli is one of the most versatile types of pasta. If you are worried about carbohydrates or are looking for something lighter with the same cheesy texture, try this healthful substitution.
Rather than folded pockets of pasta, try baked zucchini strips as your base. Zucchini is full of fiber and has no cholesterol or unhealthy fats. It is also rich in potassium — more than even bananas.
Try adding sundried tomatoes, sausage, butternut squash or lemon zest to your filling.
Yields 4 to 6 servings
4 medium zucchini
1 cup spinach, chopped
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to season
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
Optional additional fillings: sundried tomatoes, sausage, butternut squash, lemon zest
Heat oven to 370° F. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut off the ends of each zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin, flat strips for your "noodles."
Make your filling: Briefly microwave or braise spinach until wilted. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, 2 tablespoons basil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Lay 2 strips of zucchini so they overlap lengthwise. Lay 2 more strips on top, perpendicular to the first strips. The result should be a "t" shape. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of the zucchini. Bring the ends of the zucchini strips together to fold over the filling. Turn the "ravioli" over and place in the baking dish seam-side down.
Repeat with remaining zucchini and filling. Pour marinara around the ravioli and top with mozzarella.
Bake until zucchini is "al dente" and the cheese is melted and starting to brown on top, around 25 to 30 minutes. Top with remaining basil and Parmesan to serve.
Recipe adapted from delish.com.