As a young adult living on my own, I ate a lot of ravioli. They tasted great, and could be made in just a couple of minutes, which is as much kitchen time as I could handle back then. So when I gave up gluten a few years ago, I thought that was the end of my ravioli eating days. But then I discovered the myriad of ways in which you can make ravioli, and without refined flours to boot. By then I didn’t mind spending more time in the kitchen, and I certainly knew how vital it was for my well being, so the extra effort those more creative ravioli required did not scare me away. I have already shared my recipe for beet ravioli, and today I would like to present my butternut squash ravioli, complete with all the flavor, and a very similar mouthfeel, to the more traditional flour version, but with a heck of a lot more nutrition.
There are no refined flours in this recipe, and it is not only gluten-free, but grain-free, as well. Butternut squash is rich in so many health benefits – its orange hue comes from carotenoids, which are precursors to vitamin A and powerful antioxidants believed to help prevent cancer and heart disease, and support a healthy immune system. Mushrooms are also nutritional powerhouses, and offer well documented anti-cancer benefits. The filling, a mix of butter beans and spinach with a touch of nutritional yeast, provides protein and a cheesy flavor, and adds to the already rich sources of fiber in this dish. It’s hard to come up with a meal that will bring more nutrition and flavor to the table!
Ok, you might say, sounds healthy, and certainly looks good enough, but how long will it take me to make this recipe? Well, I won’t lie to you. It does require a little bit of motivation to create this meal, so it is not a good recipe for a busy weeknight. No, this dish needs to be enjoyed on a day when you want to spend time in the kitchen, with some great music playing, while sipping a glass of wine (or kombucha). But it’s not an all-day affair either, and you should be mostly done in a little over an hour.
The reason this dish takes a little time to make is because 3 separate things need to happen before it’s ready: the ravioli needs to be sliced and cooked; the filling needs to be made in the food processor, and the mushrooms need to be sautéed in the pan. Then, the whole thing needs to be assembled together, and garnished before serving.
Look at the final product… Doesn’t it seem like it would be worth the slight effort that went into creating it? I certainly hope you think so, and will give it a try! And if you do, please let me know how it turned out.
Love and health!
- 1 medium butternut squash (choose one with a medium-large neck), peeled
- 1 1/2 cups cooked butter (lima) beans (about 1 8.4 oz can)
- 1/3 cup cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee, lard or coconut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound mushrooms (any variety), roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- sea salt
- black pepper
- edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
- spicy red pepper, for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large sauté pan or wok on medium heat. Melt the ghee, then add the garlic and a pinch of salt.
- Cook, stirring continuously, until soft, about 2 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to burn.
- Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the olive oil, parsley, and salt, and pepper, to taste. Take off the heat and set aside.
- Add the butter beans, cashews, nutritional yeast, spinach, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, sea salt, nutmeg and black pepper, to the bowl of a food processor.
- Process on high until smooth (if the mixture is a little dry, add water or broth, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the right consistency is achieved).
- Bring a medium pot filled halfway with salted water to a boil.
- Using a mandoline, very thinly slice the squash neck (I use the super thin blade) into 24 slices. You could also do this with a very sharp knife. Save the leftover squash to make squash soup.
- Add the squash slices to the boiling water, and cook until tender, but not breaking apart, about 1 1/2 minutes.
- Lay 12 ravioli slices on a cutting board, and add about 1 teaspoon of filling to the center. Top with a second slice.
- Reheat the mushroom mixture if needed, and separate into 4 plates or bowls. Top with 3 ravioli each, drizzle with a little olive oil and extra parsley, and edible flowers and red pepper powder, if using.
- Serve immediately.