40 Shades of Green: Ravioli and Vegetable Salad

The finished dish: serve warm or cold

Cook’s notes: I made this layered dish for a St. Patrick’s day potluck with the theme “Green Food.” Make this dish the night before so that it has time to soak in the vinaigrette. All of the ingredients are either white or green, to match the stripes on the pasta. This salad has the reverse proportions of a typical pasta salad: it combines a large amount of cooked vegetables accented with pasta, instead of having a large bowl of pasta with just a few veggies.

Serves 12. Prep time about 45 minutes.

18 oz (2 x 9 oz packages) spinach, Asiago, and garlic ravioli — only about 14.5 oz needed
10 oz bag frozen organic chopped spinach
10 oz bag frozen organic broccoli florets
10 oz bag frozen organic peas
2 lbs. green zucchini (4 each), sliced into half-moons
8 oz white mushrooms, cut into chunks

DRESSING: Makes 2 cups (can easily cut in half)
2 oz cooking liquid from squash and mushrooms
6 oz extra virgin olive oil
4 oz white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional garnishes: Sliced green olives, sliced bunch of scallions/green onions (both the green and white parts)

The ravioli only take 4 minutes to cook. Bring a large pot of water to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Leave the water alone while you prepare the vegetables.

Cook the frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, and peas): steam them one at a time in a covered dish in the microwave according to package directions.

While the microwave is going, saute the fresh vegetables: Cook the zucchini slices in a little olive oil until they soften. Drain and reserve any liquid that accumulates as the zucchini cook down. Cook the mushrooms in the same way, reserving any liquid.

Make the dressing: Combine the cooking liquid from the zucchini and mushrooms with enough olive oil to make 1 cup total. Combine this oil mixture with the remaining dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it well (over the sink, just to be sure).

Toss the veggies: Gently combine the cooked vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle them with about 1 cup of the dressing. Stir well to combine (you will have dressing left over).

Vegetables mixed with dressing

Cook the pasta when the veggies are done: Prepare the ravioli according to package directions. Drain it.

Place half the dressed vegetables in a 9″x11″ glass pan.

The ravioli layer

Layer the cooked ravioli on top in one layer so that they completely cover the vegetables (in my pan, this required 15 ravioli in a 3 x 5 configuration; about 14.5 oz ravioli used in the dish). Save additional ravioli for another meal. Top the ravioli layer with the remaining vegetables.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add more vinaigrette to taste the next day when serving. Each person can add their own garnishes (scallions or olives or none).

Nutrition information > Exchanges: Each serving (1/12 pan) has about 4.3 g fiber, 0.7 carbs, and 1.4 vegetable servings

Nutrition Facts from http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php:
Each serving: 217 g, 124 calories (12% total fat)
Fiber 4.3 g
Net carbs 11.1 g
Protein 5.1 g

Good points include: No cholesterol, High in dietary fiber, High in various vitamins, and Low fat (5% of calories from saturated fat)