This ravioli with garlicky sautéed sweet potatoes and spinach is the perfect dinner option for when you need some variety in your weeknight dinner rotation or just trying to skip the meat without missing out on any flavor. Great 20 minute Meatless Monday meal!
One of the things I love about this ravioli recipe is that it's quick to prepare and is customizable to your family's taste buds. The base is a store-bought frozen ravioli, which means you can get any type you like! I generally use vegetarian varieties of ravioli that have different kinds of cheese, veggies, and herbs in them, because I find ravioli are a satisfying pasta option that make it easy to skip meat in a meal without missing it.
When you choose your ravioli at the store, I recommend looking for one that has the most natural-looking ingredients as possible (not a bunch of chemical-sounding words), and the least amount of sodium as possible. Because most ravioli tend to have cheese as the base of the filling, the sodium can get high, which is why I like to bulk up the recipe with plenty of vegetables. This is a great trick because by adding veggies with the ravioli you will feel satisfied with fewer ravioli per serving plus add other nutrients that are very healthy and lower-calorie counterparts to the pasta and cheese. I always recommend using plenty of veggies with any frozen meal for this very reason. Plus, if you're making a single-serve frozen meal or even a frozen family skillet meal, it's really easy to just add some frozen veggies to the meal and cook it all at the same time.
This recipe combines foods that were just made to go together: sweet potatoes, spinach, and garlic. The combination of these sautéed veggies with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and the ravioli mixed in creates a wonderful, unique dish that just tastes like it all goes together perfectly. I timed this recipe, and start to finish, it was done in 20 minutes. It's all about timing each of steps correctly so you're making the most out of every minute while the meal is cooking.
It's not difficult, but you've got to have a good strategy to get through it efficiently, so here's exactly how I spent my 20 minutes on making this meal: First, I filled a big pot with water and put it on the stove because we all know that when making pasta, the longest part is waiting for that darn pot of water to boil! :) While the water is starting to heat, I peeled a large sweet potato, started heating a skillet (I use cast-iron but non-stick would be great too), and while that was heating, chopped the sweet potato into small pieces, because smaller pieces cook faster. Then I added the sweet potato to the skillet with some oil and let it start to brown for a few minutes. To keep the potatoes from getting too brown and sticking to the pan, I then added 1/2 cup water, reduced the heat to low, and left them alone for about 8 minutes.
While all of the sweet potato business was going on, the water finally started to boil! So I dropped the ravioli in the water (they only take 5 minutes to cook), and quickly washed the spinach and chopped it up (and chopped the garlic). Then it all came together - I drained the ravioli, turned up the heat on the sweet potatoes to make sure all the water had evaporated, added the spinach, garlic, a bit of butter, and stirred it for about 3 minutes until the spinach was all wilted and beautiful. Then I just added the ravioli, mixed it all together, and done!
Whew! I know that sounds like a lot of steps, but I'm telling you, it was all done in 20 minutes and was really not difficult. This is such a good way to change up that weekly recipe routine!
Ravioli with Sautéed Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 12-ounce package frozen ravioli of choice (look for natural, lower sodium brand)
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 bunch fresh spinach (larger leaf variety, not baby spinach)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- Fill a large pot with water for the pasta and put on the stove at medium-high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, peel the sweet potato and chop into small bite-sized pieces. Heat a non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil and sweet potatoes. Sautee for about 5 minutes or until the sweet potatoes start to brown. Add 1/2 cup water, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the potatoes simmer for about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions (most ravioli cook in 5 minutes or less). While the pasta is cooking, chop the spinach and garlic.
- Drain the pasta.
- Turn the pan with the sweet potatoes back to medium-high heat and make sure all the water has evaporated. Add the butter, spinach, and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
- Add the ravioli to the pan and mix everything together. (Note: you can add marinara sauce if your family likes more traditional, saucy dishes - make it your own! ) Enjoy!