Think a “pasta” made without pasta can’t disappear from your plate? These Zucchini Ravioli will fool you like an Italian Houdini! Rich with ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses and packed with Italian flavor, your taste buds will insist you’re dining in Florence.
The magic trick? These ravioli are wrapped in… zucchini! Abracadabra, indeed.
This zucchini ravioli with ground turkey (you can also make zucchini ravioli with chicken if you prefer) is a lightened-up version of a classic Italian comfort food.
By replacing the flour pasta dough with thinly sliced zucchini strips, zucchini ravioli calories are much lower than in traditional pasta.
Yet the familiar Italian flavors of oregano, pepper, and garlic—plus creamy, classic ricotta filling—maintain the tasty illusion.
Using Vegetables to Create Healthy Italian Comfort Flavors
Seasonal vegetables are a magical vehicle for making over Italian classics, like these Italian Stuffed Peppers do.
Stuffed Zucchini has a similarly seasoned ground turkey filling, using hollowed zucchini boats instead of the sliced zucchini here.
You can also lighten up ravioli’s cousin, lasagna, with this Eggplant Lasagna, which uses thinly sliced eggplant in place of pasta strips.
Making zucchini ravioli is quicker though, as the zucchini doesn’t need to precook. Simply slice it thinly (I have tips for you below) and pat it dry with paper towels to remove excess water.
Or even be so bold as to transform Italy’s Holy Grail… pizza! These Zucchini Pizza Boats offer picky eaters the comfort of a pizza flavor but with a more nutritious “crust”.
Like zucchini ravioli, all of these recipe adaptations elevate to the starring role a vegetable that is often pigeonholed as a side dish.
Thus, you have a one-and-done meal: your serving of vegetables built right into the main dish.
The detective you are, you may have clued into my love of zucchini twists. I’m caught red-handed, and you can view the abundant zucchini evidence in my full list of healthy zucchini recipes.
How To Make Zucchini Ravioli
This recipe comes together in 2 parts: preparing the filling and slicing and folding the zucchini. Assembling the zucchini around the filling is a fun step if you want to have kids participate in the kitchen.
- Zucchini. The low-carb pasta alternative that will fool you into thinking you’re enjoying a much more decadent meal. Zucchini is rich in Vitamins A and C (which aid vision and immune systems) and antioxidants (which may benefit the heart). See more about zucchini’s health benefits here.
- Ground Turkey. I wanted to keep things lighter by using lean ground turkey. It will appease the meat-eaters at your table and help make the dish more satisfying. If you prefer, you can swap Italian sausage (try turkey sausage!) or make the recipe with ground chicken.
- Seasonings. Onion powder, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes are the ideal combination of flavors for our ravioli filling.
- Cheeses. I used part-skim ricotta, part-skim mozzarella, and grated Parmesan. The ricotta gives the ravioli filling nice body, and the mozzarella and Parmesan help add melty, cheesy goodness to both the filling and the tops of the ravioli.
- Sauce. A key to making great Italian food is keeping a jar of good-quality, store-bought pasta sauce in your pantry for a moment’s notice. In fact, I have a section in my cookbook that mentions dozens of other pantry staples and recommended shortcuts to elevate home cooking. Check it out!
- Fresh Herbs. The best way to finish off an Italian-inspired dish like this.
- Trim and slice the zucchini (see “How to Cut Zucchini for Ravioli” below for more tips).
- Lay the zucchini slices on a paper towel-lined baking sheet, and sprinkle salt over the top. Lay another paper towel over the top, and repeat with a second layer of slices. Make sure it’s nice and dry.
- Brown the turkey with the spices. Sauté the garlic.
- Add the ricotta and part of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Time to assemble!
- Arrange two zucchini slices to make an “X”. Arrange another two to make a “+” over the “X”. Now you have a star.
- Pile the filling in the center of the slices. Pull opposite ends of the zucchini pieces together, until you’ve created a packet.
- Lay the packet in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat these steps with the remaining filling and zucchini.
- Spread more sauce over the top of the ravioli, and finish with the remaining cheeses.
- Bake the zucchini ravioli at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Top with fresh herbs, and DIG IN!
How to Cut Zucchini for Ravioli
When cutting zucchini for ravioli, you want long, thin (about 1/8-inch-wide) strips that will resemble pasta noodles in both appearance and texture. To achieve this, start by trimming off the ends of the zucchini, then use one of the methods below to slice down the length of the zucchini.
- Mandoline. The best and easiest way to cut uniform zucchini slices for the ravioli. Slice the zucchini lengthwise on a mandoline like this one for long, thin slices.
- Sharp Knife. While this one will require a bit more time, you can create zucchini slices by cutting very thin strips down the length of the zucchini. Lay the zucchini flat on a cutting board, and trim from top to bottom.
- Vegetable Peeler. Use a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to shave off long, thin slices from the zucchini.
Zucchini Ravioli Storage Tips
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover zucchini ravioli in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat ravioli in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. While you can freeze zucchini ravioli, know that it may be soggy once thawed. Freeze ravioli in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Italian-Inspired Recipes
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Skillet Lasagna with Basil, Italian Sausage, and Butternut Squash
- One Pan Italian Sausage Butternut Squash Gnocchi
- Sheet Pan Italian Chicken
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
Recommend Tools to Make This Recipe
- Mandoline. My favorite way to create perfect, easy zucchini ravioli noodles.
- Baking Dish. This one will cook beside you for a lifetime.
- Deep Skillet. An essential kitchen tool that you’ll use on repeat.
These zucchini ravioli are kitchen-tested and Italian-in-law approved. How’s that for a magic trick?
- 4 medium or 3 large zucchini or summer squash
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt - divided
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese - or a blend of mozzarella and provolone, divided
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese - divided
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) prepared marinara-style pasta sauce of choice - I used a roasted garlic flavor
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil - thyme, or parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Trim off the ends of the zucchini. With a mandolin or vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch-wide strips. Arrange half of the slices on a large, paper towel-lined baking sheet in an even layer; you'll have some overlap, but try not to have too much. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Place a second layer of paper towels on top. Arrange the second half of the zucchini slices on top of the paper towel the same way. Sprinkle with1/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the lasagna.
- In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the turkey, onion powder, oregano, black pepper, red pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until the turkey is completely cooked through.
- Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Stir in the ricotta, 1/3 cup of the mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan.
- Spread a thin layer of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Assemble the ravioli: With fresh paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, blot the top of the zucchini dry (by this point, the salt should have drawn out water). Working 4 strips of zucchini at a time, arrange the first 2 to make an “X”. Use the second 2 to make a “+” that overlaps the "X" crosswise, so that the 4 strips create a star.
- Mound 3 generous tablespoons filling onto the center. Bring two opposite ends of the zucchini together, laying them over the filling. Repeat with the remaining strips to create a packet.
- Place the packet in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining zucchini and filling, arranging the packets in a single layer in the baking dish.
- Spoon the remaining pasta sauce over the top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with the remaining 2/3 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until warmed through. Sprinkle with basil and enjoy hot.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover zucchini ravioli in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently reheat ravioli in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: While you can freeze zucchini ravioli, know that it may be soggy once thawed. Freeze ravioli in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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