American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition


15 Minute Meal: Skillet Ravioli

15 minute Skillet RavioliIt seems like every night lately (with the exception of Thanksgiving), a 15-minute meal is all I could manage. Once Halloween happens, it is like the starting gun goes off for the race to New Year’s. Holiday after holiday, party after party, shopping, cooking, wrapping, carding, all while regular life keeps moving too. It is exhausting and fun and wonderful, in that I love this but I’m glad it doesn’t last forever kind of way. 

These busy days call out for a quick meal that actually tastes better than take-out. This is the one I’ve been turning to the past few weeks, and it is time to share it with you. I  adapted this from Smitten Kitchen’s Skillet Ravioli with Spinach. It cooks in one pan, requires very little chopping, and satisfies on a cold night. 

It is always a good idea to keep some ravioli around, for this recipe, Lazy Lasagne, or even just to serve with some make-ahead sauce. Frozen are fine, and the fresh can be frozen in a freezer bag for at least a month without sacrificing texture. 

This 15 MInute Meal Skillet Ravioli can actually be on the table in 15 minutes flat, no matter how inexperienced a cook you may be. It is flexible with the ingredients you have on hand and can be adapted to feed a picky eater or vegetarian.  

Here’s how you make it:

Skillet Ravioli With Spinach (serves 4 with a salad, 2-3 without)

  • 1 TBS olive oil 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped (3 if you like garlic, 2 if you don’t)
  • 6-10 ounces of baby spinach (from a bag or plastic tub – again, use more if you like it; any quick-cooking green can substitute for the spinach)
  • 2-3 tomatoes, roughly chopped, halved cherry tomatoes work too, (optional, but I like them)
  • 18 ounces refrigerated or frozen ravioli (choose your filling)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 TBS mascarpone or cream cheese, or chopped/grated mozzarella (any cheese that will help create a creamy sauce)
  • Salt and pepper/red pepper flakes
  1. Heat broiler with rack about 6 inches from the heating element (the second track from the top usually works)
  2. In a medium-large ovenproof skillet (if you don’t have one, see note below), heat oil over medium-high and add garlic and red pepper flakes if using. Cook until they just start to turn golden. 
  3. Add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and cook until they start to break down, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and another pinch of salt, cook until wilted, about 3 minutes more. Transfer spinach and garlic to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. 
  4. Place cold ravioli and 1/2 cup of water into the skillet, along with a few more pinches of salt. Stir a little to disperse salt, then bring to a boil over high heat. 
  5. Turn the heat down to medium, cover the skillet and steam until the ravioli are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Do not walk away at this stage, because if you boil the pan completely dry the ravioli will stick to the bottom of the pan. Trust me, I know from experience.
  6. When the ravioli is tender and hot, spoon the cheese around the pan in dollops. Stir a little, gently, so the ravioli don’t break apart. Then add the tomato and spinach mixture back to the pan and gently stir again.
  7. Top the ravioli mixture with the grated parmesan and put the pan under the broiler. Broil until the ravioli are browned in spots, from 3-5 minutes. You know your broiler. Again, this is not the time to walk away.

Serve hot and enjoy! 

If you’d like a more substantial meal, you can add some crumbled sausage at the beginning of the recipe, once it is cooked add the garlic and follow the recipe from that point. Gluten-free ravioli work great in this recipe too. 

This time of year gets so busy, it is easy to abandon healthy eating. The problem with that is we have less energy, just when we need it most. Recipes like this help us eat well and feel good at the same time. 

A few quick tips for the holidays:

Eat a healthy breakfast – it is one meal that is easy to control through the holidays. Oatmeal and fruit, avocado toast with fruit, or any unsweetened cereal with fruit will fuel your morning. 

Make lunch a salad or soup. These have more nutrients and fewer calories than a typical sandwich. You can fill up without getting sleepy, and enjoy a festive party or dinner without feeling weighed-down. 

An apple makes the perfect work-to-party snack. It freshens breath and provides some hydration. The fiber fills us up so we aren’t starving when we walk through the door. Start the appetizers with a handful of nuts, then you will be in good shape to choose what you really want to eat. Indulge in what is special and leave the rest be. 

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