Enjoy this guest post from registered dietitian Jessica Levinson:
‘Tis the season for pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, and citrus fruits, but let’s not forget about our good old friends from the summer – strawberries. With the holidays around the corner, it’s the perfect time to splurge a little on bright red California strawberries that will add just the right pop of color to your sweet or savory holiday dishes. Plus, strawberries are low in sugar and add natural sweetness to meals for only 45 calories per cup, making them a good choice for a diabetes-friendly meal plan. How perfect considering that November is National Diabetes Month!
Strawberries aren’t normally on my weekly grocery list in the fall and winter months, but I was so inspired by one of my 3-½ year old twin daughters that I had to make this recipe. Not to mention that there are only so many oranges and clementines one can eat, and eight strawberries have more vitamin C than an orange, so I’m still getting my cold-fighting antioxidants!
Back to how this recipe was inspired, a couple of weeks ago I asked my daughter what she was “cooking” in her play kitchen. She said pasta with strawberries and cheese. A light bulb went off in my head and this Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries was born. I should really call this recipe “Charlotte’s Ravioli,” but no one would ever know what it is! It’s a funny thing what sparks creativity and, in my case, recipe development.
Pasta may not be the first meal you think of for a diabetic diet, but my philosophy is that all foods can fit in any diet as long as they are balanced like this recipe. The carbohydrates are kept relatively low by using wonton wrappers for the ravioli, and part-skim ricotta provides a lower-fat source of dairy protein. The balanced nature of this dish also makes it a terrific recipe to serve at one of the many holiday gatherings coming up over the next couple of months.
The ricotta mixture is flavorful enough on it’s own thanks to lemon zest and juice, but the real star of the show is the sauce composed of balsamic roasted strawberries. Roasting brings out the sweetness of all fruits and vegetables and when you take an already naturally sweet fruit like strawberries and roast it, you’ve upped the ante. You should probably make a double batch of these strawberries so you have some leftover for your holiday party dessert! Top the whole dish off with some fresh mint, shredded Parmesan, and toasted hazlenuts for a nutty crunch.
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 26 wonton wrappers
- 1 lb California strawberries hulled and quartered
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup halved hazelnuts toasted
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh mint leaves
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 1½ teaspoons of ricotta filling into the center of wrapper. Moisten edges of the wrapper with water. Fold wrapper in half, bringing two corners together to form a triangle. Press edges firmly to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and ricotta filling.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Lower heat so water is simmering. Gently add half the ravioli to the water, give a gentle stir so the ravioli don't all settle at the bottom, and cook about 3 minutes. Carefully remove ravioli with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining ravioli.
- Preheat oven to roast at 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, toss together quartered strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Roast 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Top ravioli with the roasted strawberries, a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts, shredded Parmesan, and mint leaves.