Zucchini “Ravioli” en Casserole

I’d like to thank my friend Dina for this recipe inspiration! She shared a picture of her version of this dish and the original recipe with me after her family raved. I’m always looking for creative ways to lighten things up and get extra veggies into my peeps! This recipe delivers on both those points for sure. It’s a tiny bit tedious but it’s worth the effort. It not only presents beautifully, it tastes terrific! To save time at the end of the day, I actually prepped everything a few hours prior to baking. One note of caution, zucchini contains it’s fair share of water so be warned that it can be a little soupy, depending. By uncovering it after it bakes a bit, some of the moisture has time to cook off and that can help. 

Ingredients: Makes 12 – 14 ravioli

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • 20 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 baby zucchini (each approx. 8 inches long)
  • cooking spray
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown the ground chicken and garlic, seasoning it with a pinch of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Drain any fat and set meat aside to cool down.
  2. Meanwhile, make the cheese mixture by mixing together the ricotta, egg, a pinch more of salt, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and the chopped parsley. Set that aside as well.IMG_0468
  3. To prepare the zucchini, trim off the ends. Using a sturdy vegetable peeler, press firmly and pull the peeler down the length of the zucchini, creating a long, wide “zoodle” reminiscent of a lasagna noodle. Repeat using each zucchini. Throw away the first and last zoodle from each zucchini as they will have too much skin and will likely be too narrow.IMG_0467
  4. Lightly grease a 9x13in casserole dish with cooking spray. Ladle about 1/2 a cup of marinara sauce into the dish and spread evenly across the bottom. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. To make the zucchini ravioli, lay 2 matching zoodles side by side (overlapping slightly), lengthwise. Take an additional 2 zoodles and lay them side by side perpendicular to the first 2, essentially forming an “X”.IMG_0472
  6. Dollop a teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the center of the X. Top it with a teaspoon of meat and then follow with another teaspoon of cheese mixture. Carefully fold over each “arm” of the X towards the center, starting with zoodles that are on the bottom layer and working clockwise until a “ravioli” square is produced. Trim excess zucchini if pieces are too long.
  7. Place each “ravioli” seam side down in the casserole dish. Repeat previous step until all the zoodles are used and your casserole dish is full.
  8. Sprinkle any remaining meat and spoon any remaining cheese throughout the dish. Top each ravioli with a generous spoonful of marinara. Sprinkle dish with a handful of shredded mozzarella, some additional parmesan cheese and any left over zucchini scraps.
  9. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Bake an additional 10 minutes uncovered and then broil for 2 – 3 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.
  10. Let sit 5 – 10 minutes before serving. Serve with garlic bread and green salad.

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