This cheesy Spinach Ricotta Ravioli recipe is a satisfying Italian inspired dish the whole family will love! It’s made with ground beef, store bought ravioli, and baby spinach for added nutrition.
This dish comes together in less than an hour making it perfect for weeknight or weekend cooking. Add a salad and a crusty loaf of bread and this meal is ready for company! For another quick and delicious pasta dish try out my Easy Fettuccine Alfredo!
Why it’s Awesome
Honestly, I could live on Italian and Mediterranean inspired dishes like this Baked Spinach Ravioli. It's one of my favorites for several reasons:
It’s cheesy. With the combination of the ricotta cheese in the four cheese ravioli, mozzarella and grated parmesan in this baked dish there is a mix of cheesy goodness.
It can be made ahead. You can prepare this recipe as the instructions say and cover it and keep it in the fridge for up to 8 hours or overnight. Then just pop it in the oven when you are ready and voilà! Ready to enjoy.
It’s easy to make. Since this recipe doesn’t use homemade ravioli (you are welcome to if you have time), it is quite easy to make and assemble for a delicious dinner.
Everyone loves it. You really can’t go wrong with ricotta ravioli, tomato sauce with beef, Italian seasoning, and different cheeses all baked together. It’s delicious and will become a favorite for many I’m sure.
Spinach - Packaged baby spinach is great in this recipe because of the size. If you have larger spinach just chop it up a bit for smaller pieces. Spinach is packed with good vitamins and health benefits, so why not add it in where you can and the flavor pairs nicely with this dish.
Ricotta - A key ingredient in this dish, ricotta is a creamy Italian whey cheese made from cow, goat or sheep milk whey that’s actually left over from the production of other cheeses.
Ground beef - 85% lean ground beef or 90% lean ground sirloin are good for this recipe. If you are able to, look for organic local grass-fed beef.
Chicken broth - Canned or homemade chicken broth will both work well for this recipe.
Four-cheese ravioli - Package refrigerated four-cheese ravioli works well for this recipe and makes it very quick! I typically use Buitoni brand which are tasty. If you’d like to try this recipe with a spinach ravioli for variety go ahead!
Mozzarella cheese - Shredded mozzarella is perfect for this to sprinkle over the dish before you bake it.
Parmesan cheese - You can grate the parmesan yourself or buy already grated parmesan to also sprinkle over the top before baking.
Crushed tomatoes - Canned crushed tomatoes will make the sauce perfect when mixed together with the seasoning and beef.
Red onions - red onions are lightly caramelized to give this dish a touch of sweetness. You can use sweet yellow onions if that's what you have on hand.
Making this Spinach Ricotta Ravioli couldn't be easier!
It's always best to start by pre-heating the oven, gathering your ingredients, and prepping your vegetables. The only things that needs to be cut for this recipe are the onions and garlic.
Brown the ground beef then set it aside on a plate. In the same skillet, add the onions and cook until they are softened. Add the garlic for just a minute, then you're going to add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
Add the ravioli and submerge into sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and simmer until the ravioli is tender. When the ravioli is tender, return the cooked beef to the skillet. Stir in the spinach in two batches.
When the spinach has wilted, pour the ravioli mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Scoop ricotta evenly over the top then sprinkle on the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Broil the ravioli in order to get the cheese that deep golden brown that looks just like pizza! Top with fresh basil leaves.
Here are some variations to making this Baked Spinach Ravioli:
Use different cheeses- you can try different cheeses for this recipe, as long as they have a nice melting quality. If you don't like ricotta, leave it out.
Don't like spinach? Leave it out.
Prefer a slow bake? Instead of using the broiler (which really speeds up the melting process) you can set the oven to 350º F degrees and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
How to make Spinach Ricotta Ravioli ahead:
Prepare the recipe as usual. After topping it with cheese, cover it and leave it in the refrigerator up to 8 hours or overnight. To heat the dish, bake for 45 minutes to one hour in a pre-heated 350º F degree oven-or until completely heated through. Turn heat to broil and cook until cheese is bubbly and deep golden brown.
This dish goes great with a crusty loaf of bread or a nice side salad!
If substituting with frozen ravioli, be sure to adjust cooking time to be sure they are thoroughly cooked. Or, boil them in salted water according to package directions. Add them to the pan and proceed to step 5 of the instructions above.
You can certainly make this dish without the ground beef and just make sure the ravioli filling you buy doesn’t have any meat inside. You'll also want to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Or try out my Meatless Baked Ziti recipe as well.
More Easy Mediterranean Inspired Recipes You’ll Enjoy!
Spinach Ricotta Ravioli
- 1 lb 85% lean ground beef or 90 % lean ground sirloin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil canola
- 1 medium red onion or sweet yellow onion, cut in half crosswise then sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth canned or homemade
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 20 oz. package refrigerated four-cheese ravioli (I used Buitoni brand)
- 1 5oz. package baby spinach
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves torn (optional)
- Preheat oven to broil. Place rack about 9 inches from heating element or in the center. Coat a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and cook until browned and no longer pink. Drain off fat and set cooked beef on a plate; set aside.
- Add oil to pan, returning heat to medium high. Add onions and cook (stirring occasionally) until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to skillet. Sir until well combined. Stir in ravioli, bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until ravioli are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- Return beef to skillet, stirring to combine. Add spinach in two batches, stirring until wilted.
- Pour ravioli mixture into prepared casserole dish. Scoop six spoonfuls of ricotta cheese evenly over the top. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over.
- Broil in preheated oven until cheese is melted and deep golden brown -about 6 minutes (or desired doneness). Top with fresh basil leaves.